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, Maghrib
NW Africa, including Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and sometimes Libya
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Maghreb; Arabic, “west”), a region in Africa, composed of Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco (the Maghrib proper) and also Libya, Mauritania, and the territory of Western Sahara, which together form the Great Maghrib (as opposed to the Arab east, the Mashriq). In the Middle Ages, Muslim Spain (Andalusia) and other possessions of the former Arab Caliphate in the western Mediterranean (the Balearic Islands, Sardinia, and Sicily) were also considered part of the Maghrib. Along with the Arabic literary language, Arabic dialects are widespread in the Maghrib, including the Hasania dialect (in Mauritania and the Western Sahara), Berber dialects, and the so-called Maltese language (with a writing system based on the Latin alphabet).

After Morocco and Tunisia achieved independence (1956), the king of Morocco, Muhammad V, and the prime minister of Tunisia, Habib Bourguiba, proposed the idea of creating a regional association, the Great Arab Maghrib. Conferences held in Tangier (1958) and Rabat (1963) studied the problem of unification. In 1964 the Maghrib Permanent Consultative Committee, which included the ministers of the economy of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya, was established. From 1964 to 1968, branch commissions were established under the auspices of the committee, and a number of agreements on cooperation of the Maghrib countries in various economic spheres were signed. Mauritania has been participating in the committee (as an ob-server) since 1970. Libya left all of the regional organizations of the Maghrib in 1970.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.