Casablanca

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Casablanca

(kă'səblăng`kə, kă'zə–, Span. kä'säbläng`kä), Arab. Dar-al-Baida, city (1994 est. pop. 2,940,623), W Morocco, on the Atlantic Ocean. The largest city and principal port of Morocco, it accounts for more than half of Morocco's industrial production. The city's leading industries produce textiles, glass, electronics, bricks, beer, and soft drinks. Fish and seafood are abundant in the coastal waters. Major imports include petroleum products. Casablanca is the seat of numerous Arab and French schools, an art school, the Goethe-Institut, and the Hassan II mosque (1993), one of the world's largest.

Casablanca is on the site of Anfa, a prosperous town that the Portuguese destroyed in 1468; they resettled it briefly in 1515 under its present name. Almost destroyed by an earthquake in 1755, Casablanca was rebuilt (1757) by Muhammad XVI. It was occupied by the French in 1907. During World War II, Casablanca was the scene of one of the three major Allied landings in North Africa (Nov., 1942) and of a conference between Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Winston Churchill (Nov., 1943).

Casablanca

 

(Arabic, Dar-el-Beida), a city and port on the western coast of Morocco, a city prefecture. Population, 1.4 million (1970).

Casablanca is one of the largest cities and ports of Africa; in 1970 it had a freight turnover of 12 million tons, three-fourths of which was phosphorite exports. The city is a major highway and railroad junction and has an international airport. Casablanca is the chief economic center of Morocco; of all Moroccans employed in the manufacturing industry, 55 percent work in Casablanca in such industries as metalworking (including motor-vehicle assembly), the food industry (fish packing, flour milling, and sugar refining), and the textile, chemical, cement, and printing industries. The major national and international financial and trade institutions of Morocco are located in Casablanca, and an international fair is held there every year.

The date of the founding of Casablanca has not been precisely established. According to some data, the city of Anfa arose on the site of present-day Casablanca in the seventh century. In 1468, Anfa was captured by the Portuguese and destroyed. In the second half of the 18th century the city was rebuilt under the Moroccan sultan Sidi Muhammad ibn Abd Allah (reigned 1757–90) and named Dar-el-Beida (Arabic, white house; in Spanish, Casablanca). In 1907, Casablanca was occupied by France and remained part of the French zone of the protectorate until the proclamation of the independence of Morocco on Mar. 2, 1956. Since the 1930’s the city has been rapidly growing, its population increasing from 20, 000–25, 000 in the early 1920’s to 160, 000 in 1931 and to 682, 000 in 1952; this growth was due to the leading role of the port in the export of raw minerals. From the 1930’s through the 1950’s, Casablanca was a major center for the formation of the Moroccan working class and the core of the national liberation movement.

The modern city has grown in a semicircle around the old city, the medina, which dates from the 16th century. The central part of Casablanca has multistory residential and office buildings (the Liberté Building, 78 m high, 1950, architect L. Morandi). The architectural monuments include the magnificent five-nave Cathedral of the Sacre Coeur (reinforced concrete, 1930–52, architect P. Tournon) with stained glass. The suburban areas have one-story traditional homes with inner enclosed courtyards bordered by galleries; there are also markets and mosques.

Casablanca

a port in NW Morocco, on the Atlantic: largest city in the country; industrial centre. Pop.: 3 523 000 (2003)
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