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See also: Spanish Morocco

Morocco, officially the Kingdom of Morocco, is a country in the Arab Maghreb region of North Africa on the north-west of the African continent on the Atlantic Ocean coast, with a further small coastline on the Mediterranean Sea. The Atlas Mountains run through the country.


Native Berber monarchs ruled the territory from the 3rd century BCE until 40 CE, when it was annexed to the Roman Empire. In the mid-5th century CE, it was conquered by Vandals, before being recovered by the Byzantine Empire in the 6th century. The region was overrun by the Muslims in the early 8th century CE. The Saadi dynasty ruled the country from 1549 to 1659, followed by the Alaouites from 1667 onwards, who have since been the ruling dynasty of Morocco.

Morocco was almost completely a Protectorate of France from 1912 to 1956. During this period, whilst the Sultan nominally reigned, the French ruled, through their Resident-General and Commander-in-Chief. The population of French Morocco (as it was called) in 1937 was 6,296,000, although doubtless this cannot be accurate. The normal French system of education was then operated for all.[1]

At the end of 1935, there were 3,320 miles of main and secondary roads, and about 1,000 miles of railway were in operation, as well as about 500 miles of narrow-guage railway.[2] Morocco is the world's largest exporter of phosphate rock.[3]

In the late 1970s, Morocco made a claim on the Spanish Sahara (or Rio de Oro), a colony of Spain on the southern border of Morocco. Following the death of General Francisco Franco in 1975, Spanish troops withdrew the following year, and Morocco, who had already illegally settled 350,000 people there, took over, renaming the territory Western Sahara.[4]


The population in 1984 was estimated at 22,442,000. The capital is Rabat (pop.83,000 in 1937; 800,000 in 1980). Other major cities are Fez (524,300), Casablanca (2,220,600), Marrakesh (449, 400),[5] and Oujda (723,917).[6]

The 2014 census showed a population of 33,848,242. In 2022, the population was estimated at 37,984,655, still increasing with a birth rate of 2.2 - 2.4 children per woman.

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External links


  1. Encyclopaedia Britannica Book of the year 1938. London, 1938, p.419-420.
  2. Britannica, 1938, p.419.
  3. Britannica, 1990, p.331.
  4. Britannica, 1990, p.332.
  5. Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th edition, Micropedia, vol.8, Chicago, U.S.A., 1990, p.331.
  6. Oujda Population 2023