Morocco (/məˈrɒkoʊ/ (About this sound listen); Arabic: المَغرِب, translit. al-maġrib, lit. ‘place the sun sets; the west’; Berber languages: ⵍⵎⵖⵔⵉⴱ, translit. Lmeɣrib; French: Maroc), officially known as the Kingdom of Morocco (Berber languages: ⵜⴰⴳⵍⴷⵉⵜ ⵏ ⵍⵎⵖⵔⵉⴱ, translit. Tageldit n Lmaɣrib, Arabic: المملكة المغربية, translit. al-Mamlakah al-Maghribiyah, lit. “The Western Kingdom”); is an Islamic unitary sovereign state located in the Maghreb region of North Africa. It is one of the native homelands of the indigenous Berber people. Geographically, Morocco is characterised by a rugged mountainous interior, large tracts of desert and a lengthy coastline along the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.
Morocco has a population of over 33.8 million and an area of 710,850 km2 (274,460 sq mi). Its capital is Rabat, and the largest city is Casablanca. Other major cities include Marrakesh, Tangier, Salé, Fes, Meknes and Oujda. A historically prominent regional power, Morocco has a history of independence not shared by its neighbours. Since the foundation of the first Moroccan state by Idris I in 788, the country has been ruled by a series of independent dynasties, reaching its zenith under the Almoravid dynasty and Almohad dynasty, spanning parts of Iberia and Northwestern Africa. Marinid and Saadi dynasties continued the struggle against foreign domination, and Morocco remained the only North African country to avoid Ottoman occupation. The Alaouite dynasty, the current ruling dynasty, seized power in 1631. In 1912, Morocco was divided into French and Spanish protectorates, with an international zone in Tangier, and regained its independence in 1956. Moroccan culture is a blend of Berber, Arab, West African, and European influences.
Morocco claims the non-self-governing territory of Western Sahara as its Southern Provinces. Morocco annexed the territory in 1975, leading to a guerrilla war with indigenous forces until a cease-fire in 1991. Peace processes have thus far failed to break the political deadlock.
Morocco is a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament. The King of Morocco holds vast executive and legislative powers, especially over the military, foreign policy and religious affairs. Executive power is exercised by the government, while legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of parliament, the Assembly of Representatives and the Assembly of Councillors. The king can issue decrees called dahirs which have the force of law. He can also dissolve the parliament after consulting the Prime Minister and the president of the Constitutional court.
Morocco’s predominant religion is Islam, and the official languages are Arabic and Berber, with Berber being the native language of Morocco before the Arab conquest. The Moroccan dialect, referred to as Darija, and French are also widely spoken. Morocco is a member of the Arab League, the Union for the Mediterranean, and the African Union. It has the fifth largest economy of Africa.
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