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, country, Africa

Morocco (mərŏkˈō), officially Kingdom of Morocco, kingdom (2015 est. pop. 34,803,000), 171,834 sq mi (445,050 sq km), NW Africa. Morocco is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea (N), the Atlantic Ocean (W), Western Sahara (S), and Algeria (S and E). Ifni, formerly a Spanish-held enclave on the Atlantic coast, was ceded to Morocco in 1969. Two cities, Ceuta and Melilla, and several small islands off the Mediterranean coast remain part of metropolitan Spain; at various times in history Moroccans have sought, through force or diplomacy, to gain control of these enclaves. Morocco claims and administers Western Sahara although sovereignty remains unresolved. Rabat is the capital and Casablanca the most populous city.

Land and People

Central Morocco consists largely of the Atlas Mts., which rise to 13,671 ft (4,167 m) in Jebel Toubkal in the southwest and which dominate most of the country. In the south lie the sandy wastes of the Sahara desert. In the north is a fertile coastal plain. The population of Morocco is concentrated in the coastal region and the mountains, where rainfall is most plentiful. In parts of the Rif Mts. in the northeast some 40 in. (102 cm) of rain fall each year. There are no important rivers in the country, but dams on several coastal streams are used for irrigation and hydroelectric power. The vast majority of Moroccans are Muslims of Arab-Berber ancestry. There are also small Christian and Jewish minorities. Arabic and Amazigh (Berber) are official languages, but French (often used in business and government) also is spoken. More than half of all Moroccans live in urban areas.


Agriculture employs about 40% of Morocco's workforce, which suffers from a high (as much as 20% locally) unemployment rate. In the rainy sections of the northeast, barley, wheat, and other cereals can be raised without irrigation. On the Atlantic coast, where there are extensive plains, olives, citrus fruits, and wine grapes are grown, largely with water supplied by artesian wells. Morocco also produces a significant amount of illicit hashish, much of which is shipped to Western Europe. Livestock are raised and forests yield cork, cabinet wood, and building materials. Part of the maritime population fishes for its livelihood. Agadir, Essaouira, El Jadida, and Larache are among the important fishing harbors.

Casablanca is by far the largest port and an important industrial center. Significant industries include textile and leather goods manufacturing, food processing, and oil refining. In the northern foothills of the Atlas Mts. there are large mineral deposits; phosphates are the most important, but iron ore, silver, zinc, copper, lead, manganese, barytine, gold, and coal (the only sizable coal deposits in North Africa) are also found. Marrakech, Meknès, and Fès are the most important centers in the mineral trade. A few oases in southern Morocco, notably Tafilalt, are all that relieve the desert wastes. Tourism also is important economically, as are cash remittances from Moroccans working in France.

Morocco's coastal areas and the mineral-producing interior are linked by an expanding road and rail network, and port facilities are being further developed. The main exports are clothing, fish, inorganic chemicals, transistors, minerals, fertilizers (including phosphates), petroleum products, fruits, and vegetables. The chief imports are crude petroleum, textiles, telecommunications equipment, wheat, gas, electricity, and plastics. France, Spain, and Italy are the leading trade partners.


A constitutional monarchy, Morocco is governed under the constitution of 1972 as amended. The king, who is the head of state, holds effective power and appoints the prime minister, who is the head of government. The bicameral Parliament consists of the 270-seat Chamber of Counselors, whose members are elected by indirect vote for nine-year terms, and the 325-seat Chamber of Representatives, whose members are elected by popular vote for five-year terms. Administratively, the country is divided into 15 regions.


Early History to the Nineteenth Century

Berbers inhabited Morocco at the end of the 2d millennium B.C. In Roman times Morocco was roughly coextensive with the province of Mauretania Tingitania. In the 3d cent. A.D. four bishoprics were created in the province. Jewish colonies were also established during Roman rule. The Vandals were the earliest (5th cent.) of barbarian peoples to take the area as the Roman Empire declined.

The Arabs first swept into Morocco c.685, bringing with them Islam. Christianity was all but extirpated, but the Jewish colonies by and large retained their religion. Many Moroccans served in the Arab forces that invaded Spain in the early 8th cent. Later, Berber-Arab conflict fragmented the region.

Morocco became an independent state in 788 under the royal line founded by Idris I. After 900 the country again broke into small tribal states. Warfare between the Fatimids of Tunisia and the Umayyads of Spain for control of the region intensified the already-existing political anarchy, which ended only when the Almoravids overran (c.1062) Morocco and established a kingdom stretching from Spain to Senegal. The Almohads, who succeeded (c.1174) the Almoravids, at first ruled both Morocco and Spain, but the Merinid dynasty (1259–1550), after some triumphs, was limited to Morocco. Rarely, however, was the country completely unified, and conflict between Arabs and Berbers was incessant.

Spain and Portugal, after expelling the Moors (i.e., persons from Morocco) from the Iberian Peninsula, attacked the Moroccan coast. Beginning with the capture of Ceuta in 1415, Portugal took all the chief ports except Melilla and Larache, both of which fell to Spain. The Christian threat stimulated the growth of resistance under religious leaders, one of whom established (1554) the Saadian, or first Sherifian, dynasty. At the battle of Ksar el Kebir (1578) the Saadian king decisively defeated Portugal. The present ruling dynasty, the Alawite, or second Sherifian, dynasty, came to power in 1660 and recaptured many European-held strongholds. Morocco, like the other Barbary States, was, from the 17th to the 19th cent., a base for pirates preying upon the Mediterranean trade.

Colonial Struggles

In the 19th cent. the strategic importance and economic potential of Morocco excited the interest of the European powers. France, after beginning war with Algeria, defeated (1844) Sultan Abd ar-Rahman, who had aided the Algerians. Spain invaded in 1860. In 1880 the major European nations and the United States decided at the Madrid Conference to preserve the territorial integrity of Morocco and to maintain equal trade opportunities for all.

Political and commercial rivalries soon disrupted this cordial arrangement and brought on several international crises. France sought to gain Spanish and British support against the opposition of Germany. Thus, in 1904, France concluded a secret treaty with Spain to partition Morocco and secretly agreed with Great Britain (the Entente Cordiale) not to oppose British aims in Egypt in exchange for a free hand in Morocco. In 1905, after France had asked the sultan of Morocco for a protectorate, Germany moved quickly: Emperor William II visited Tangier and declared support for Morocco's integrity. At German insistence the Algeciras Conference (Jan.–Mar., 1906) was called to consider the Moroccan question. The principles of the Madrid Conference were readopted and German investments were assured protection, but French and Spanish interests were given marked recognition by the decision to allow France to patrol the border with Algeria and to allow France and Spain to police Morocco.

Under the claim of effecting pacification, the French steadily annexed territory. In 1908 friction arose at Casablanca, under French occupation, when the German consul gave refuge to deserters from the French Foreign Legion. This dispute was settled by the Hague Tribunal. Shortly afterward in a coup Abd al-Aziz IV was unseated and his brother, Abd al-Hafid, installed on the throne. He had difficulty maintaining order and received help from France and Spain, especially in a revolt that broke out in 1911. In this situation the appearance of the German warship Panther at Agadir on July 1, 1911, was interpreted by the French as a threat of war and speeded a final adjustment of imperial rivalries.

On Nov. 4, 1911, Germany agreed to a French protectorate in Morocco in exchange for the cession of French territory in equatorial Africa. Finally, at Fès (Mar. 30, 1912), the sultan agreed to a French protectorate, and on Nov. 27 a Franco-Spanish agreement divided Morocco into four administrative zones—French Morocco, nine-tenths of the country, a protectorate with Rabat as capital; a Spanish protectorate, which included Spanish Morocco, with its capital at Tétouan; a Southern Protectorate of Morocco, administered as part of the Spanish Sahara; and the international zone of Tangier. The French protectorate was placed under the rule of General Lyautey, who remained in office until 1925.

The Struggle for Independence

A strong threat to European rule was posed (1921–26) by the revolt (the Rif War) of Abd el-Krim. In 1934 a group of young Moroccans presented a plan for reform, marking the beginning of the nationalist movement. In 1937 the French crushed a nationalist revolt. Francisco Franco's successful revolt against the republican government of Spain began in Spanish Morocco in 1936.

During World War II, French Morocco remained officially loyal to the Vichy government after the fall of France in 1940. On Nov. 8, 1942, Allied forces landed at all the major cities of Morocco and Algeria; on Nov. 11, all resistance ended (see North Africa, campaigns in). In Jan., 1943, Allied leaders met at Casablanca. During the war an independence party, the Istiqlal, was formed. After the war the nationalist movement gained strength and received the active support of the sultan, Sidi Muhammad, who demanded a unitary state and the departure of the French and Spanish. Vast numbers of Jews emigrated to the newly formed state of Israel in the early 1950s, although a small number remained.

Faced with growing nationalist agitation, the French outlawed (1952) the Istiqlal and in Aug., 1953, deposed and exiled Sidi Muhammad. These measures proved ineffective, and under the pressure of rebellion in Algeria and disorders in Morocco, the French were compelled (1955) to restore Sidi Muhammad. In Mar., 1956, France relinquished its rights in Morocco; in April the Spanish surrendered their protectorate; in October Tangier was given to Morocco by international agreement. Spain ceded the Southern Protectorate in 1958.

Modern Morocco

The sultan became (1957) King Muhammad V (Sidi Muhammad) and soon embarked on a foreign policy of “positive neutrality,” which included support for the Muslim rebels in Algeria. After the king's death (Feb., 1961), his son Hassan II ascended the throne. He soon enacted a new constitution that established a bicameral parliament. Border hostilities with Algeria in 1963 cost both sides many lives; final agreement on the border was reached in 1970.

In June, 1965, following a political crisis that threatened to undermine the monarchy, King Hassan declared a state of emergency and took over both executive and legislative powers. The country returned to a modified form of parliamentary democracy in 1970, with a revised constitution that strengthened the king's authority. Opposition groups, later called the National Front, rejected the constitution and boycotted legislative elections. An attempt on Hassan's life by military leaders took place on July 10, 1971. Hassan announced a new constitution in Feb., 1972, which lessened the king's powers. In August another assassination attempt took place, when the airplane carrying King Hassan was strafed on its way back from France. The king continued to rule in isolation and maintained relative order through a policy of suppression.

In 1974, Morocco pressed its claim to sovereignty over Spanish Sahara, and in Nov., 1975, Hassan lead the “Green March” of over 300,000 unarmed Moroccans to the disputed region. In 1976, Spain relinquished control of the area, ceding it to Morocco and Mauritania as Western Sahara. However, the Polisario Front, a group of Western Saharan guerrillas with Algerian and Libyan backing, fought for independence for the territory. Morocco took over Mauritania's portion of Western Sahara in 1979 and continued to battle the Polisario throughout the 1980s. In 1983, when Morocco experienced political and economic troubles, Hassan canceled legislative elections.

Normalization of relations between Morocco and Algeria in 1988 cut off Algerian support for the rebels, and in 1991 the Polisario and Morocco agreed to a cease-fire. A UN-sponsored referendum to decide the territory's permanent status was ordered for the early 1990s. Disputes regarding who would be permitted to vote delayed any referendum into the 21st cent., during which time the region was integrated administratively into Morocco. Constitutional amendments in 1996 established a bicameral legislature, and elections the following year led to the first government (1998) in which opposition parties were dominant.

King Hassan died in 1999 and was succeeded by his son Crown Prince Sidi Mohammed, as Muhammad VI. Initially extremely popular, the new king revealed himself to be a strong advocate of social change and economic improvement, but the monarchy nonetheless remained the unquestioned center of power in the country. In July, 2002, Morocco occupied an uninhabited islet off Ceuta that is claimed by Spain, drawing international attention to the disputed Spanish enclaves along Morocco's Mediterranean coast. After Spanish forces removed the Moroccans, both sides agreed to leave the islet unoccupied. The Moroccan elections of 2002 and 2007 returned the governing coalition to power, though the Socialist Union of People's Forces was supplanted as the dominant party by the conservative, nationalist Independence party in 2007. The visit of the Spanish king to Ceuta and Mellila in 2007 soured Moroccan-Spanish relations.

In Feb., 2011, there were proreform demonstrations in several of Morocco's cities; the following month, the king pledged that there would be constitutional reforms. The reforms approved in a referendum in July included transferring some of the king's governing powers to the prime minister and parliament and making Berber an official language, but the king retained his foreign policy, military, and religious primacy. The unusually high turnout and vote in favor of the changes led those who criticized the reforms as inadequate to question the credibility of the referendum. Subsequently progress toward enacting significant human-rights reforms was limited, and outspoken opponents of the government faced repression in subsequent years.

In the Nov., 2011, parliamentary elections the moderately Islamist Justice and Development party (PJD) won the largest bloc of seats, and PJD leader Abdelilah Benkirane became prime minister of the broad coalition government formed in Jan., 2012. In July the Independence party withdrew from the government, objecting to proposed subsidy and pension reforms. A new government was formed in October, with the National Rally of Independents replacing the Independence party; although Benkirane remained prime minister, the new cabinet reduced the influence of the PJD.

The PJD won the largest bloc of seats in the Oct., 2016, parliamentary elections. Benkirane was again named prime minister, but he had difficulty forming a government (he resisted any further weakening of the PJD's influence in the cabinet). In Mar., 2017, he was replaced by Saad Eddine El Othmani, a former foreign minister and PJD member, and a new six-party government was formed; it became a five-party government in Oct., 2019. Morocco agreed in Dec., 2020, to normalize relations with Israel as part of a deal in which the Trump administration recognized Morocco's claim to Western Sahara.


See S. Bernard, The Franco-Moroccan Conflict, 1953–1956 (1968); R. F. Nyrop et al., Area Handbook for Morocco (1972); R. Le Tourneau, The Modern History of Morocco (1973); W. Spencer, Historical Dictionary of Morocco (1980); E. DeAmicis, Morocco (1984); A. M. Findlay et al., ed., Morocco (1984); D. Porch, The Conquest of Morocco (1986).


, type of leather
morocco, goatskin leather, dyed on the grain side and boarded by hand or machine to bring up the grain in a bird's-eye effect. It probably originated with the Arabs in North Africa as an alum-tanned product typically dyed red. The process later spread to the Levant, to Turkey, and along the Mediterranean, where sumac was used for tanning. Today the term is also applied to chrome-tanned goat leather whether boarded or embossed to show the characteristic grain; it is often crushed and glazed. Hard, but pliable, it is valued especially for bookbindings and purses. Levant morocco is larger grained; French morocco is a sheepskin imitation.
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The city of Casablanca in Morocco. The Moroccans, like many other cultures, believe in the precognitive powers of dreams.



Dreams are valued highly by the Moroccans of northwest Africa. They are most often regarded as indicators of the future, in that they can foretell it or indicate an action that should be taken. Moroccans have a rich, living tradition of dream interpretation, although they have not elaborated a particularly consistent dream theory, nor have they developed complex dream-related rituals. Moroccan dream interpretation and dream classification reflect the various influences of daily experience, folk Islam, classical Islam—popular and orthodox beliefs, attitudes, and doctrines. These diverse and sometimes competing elements affect the Moroccan view of dreams—everything from beliefs in the evil eye, to the Islamic ideal of the good man, to djinn (the spirits—good and bad—who oversee daily social interactions).

Moroccans, like many other people, believe that dreams result from the wandering of the soul during sleep, whereas daydreams occur when the soul leaves the body but stays close to it. The wandering soul witnesses real events that happen elsewhere in space and time. These dream events are thought to be related to the dreamer’s future, most often in a symbolic way. Moroccans classify dreams as being either truthful, divinely inspired dreams, or deceitful dreams coming from the Devil and other sources. Truthful dreams are associated with safety, and deceitful dreams are associated with harm shaped by the evil intentions of spirits and ill-intended people.

In order to achieve a good interpretation of dreams, it is very common to share them, as well as to rely on external dream specialists. In Morocco, not all dreams are trusted, any more than all people are trusted. The only dreams that can be trusted are God-sent, although it is difficult to distinguish them from the Satan-sent. However, Moroccans are not particularly concerned with internal (in the dream itself) criteria by which false dreams can be distinguished from true ones. Rather, they are generally more concerned with the condition of the dreamer himself as a determinant of the truth or falsehood of a dream.

Truthful, God-sent dreams are considered to have a spiritual origin, whereas deceitful dreams are regarded as expressions of psychological realities and everyday experiences. Another type of dream, not to be confused with bad dreams, is visitation dreams, which involve the appearance of saints and other spiritual beings. They usually serve to resolve conflicts that may not be clearly articulated by the dreamer by providing a point of primary orientation for the resolution process.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


Official name: Kingdom of Morocco

Capital city: Rabat

Internet country code: .ma

Flag description: Red with a green pentacle (five-pointed linear star) known as Sulayman’s (Solomon’s) seal in the center of the flag; red and green are traditional colors in Arab flags, although the use of red is more commonly associated with the Arab states of the Persian gulf; design dates to 1912

National anthem: “Royaume du Maroc: Garde Royale”

National motto: God, The Country, The King

Geographical description: Northern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, between Algeria and Western Sahara

Total area: 172,413 sq. mi. (446,550 sq. km.)

Climate: Mediterranean, becoming more extreme in the interior

Nationality: noun: Moroccan(s); adjective: Moroccan

Population: 33,757,175 (July 2007 CIA est.)

Ethnic groups: Arab-Berber 99.1%, other 0.7%, Jewish 0.2%

Languages spoken: Arabic (official), Berber dialects, French often the language of business, government, and diplo­macy

Religions: Muslim 98.7%, Christian 1.1%, Jewish 0.2%

Legal Holidays:

Anniversary of the Revolution of the King and the PeopleAug 20
Feast of the ThroneJul 30
Green March DayNov 6
Independence DayNov 18
Labor DayMay 1
New Year's DayJan 1
Oued Eddahab AllegianceAug 14
Presentation of Independence ProclamationJan 11
Youth's DayAug 21
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.


a kingdom in NW Africa, on the Mediterranean and the Atlantic: conquered by the Arabs in about 683, who introduced Islam; at its height under Berber dynasties (11th--13th centuries); became a French protectorate in 1912 and gained independence in 1956. It is mostly mountainous, with the Atlas Mountains in the centre and the Rif range along the Mediterranean coast, with the Sahara in the south and southeast; an important exporter of phosphates. Official language: Arabic; Berber and French are also widely spoken. Official religion: (Sunni) Muslim. Currency: dirham. Capital: Rabat. Pop.: 31 064 000 (2004 est.). Area: 458 730 sq. km (177 117 sq. miles)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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The cabinet meeting condemned all Iranian interference in Moroccan affairs through its Hezbollah terrorist militia that has trained the so called Polisario group in order to destabilise Morocco.
Looking around the city it is clear that Morocco is open for business.
Under a precautionary and liquidity line, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a two-year arrangement for SDR 2.5 billion ($3.47 billion), about 280 per cent of Morocco's quota with the IMF.
Morocco's recently announced goal to generate more than half of its electricity from renewables by 2030 presents strong business opportunities, energy experts announced at the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) on Saturday.