The Kingdom of Morocco is a country in North Africa. It has a long coastline on the
Atlantic Ocean that reaches past the Strait of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean Sea. It borders Algeria to the east, the Mediterranean
Sea and a relatively thin water border Spain to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to its west. There are also two Spanish exclaves
bordering Morocco to the north.
AMAZIGH of Morocco
The area of modern Morocco has been inhabited since Neolithic times, at least
8000 BCE, as attested by signs of the Capsian culture, in a time when the Maghreb was less arid than it is today. Many theorists
believe the Berber language probably arrived at roughly the same time as agriculture (see Berber), and was adopted by the
existing population as well as the immigrants that brought it. Modern genetic analyses have confirmed that various populations
have contributed to the present-day population, including (in addition to the main Berber and Arab groups) Phoenicians, Sephardic
Jews, and sub-Saharan Africans. The Berbers, often referred to in modern ethnic activist circles as "Amazigh," are more commonly
known as "Berber" or by their regional ethnic identity, such as Chleuh. In the classical period, Morocco was known as Mauretania,
although this should not be confused with the modern country of Mauritania.
Roman and sub-Roman Morocco
North Africa and Morocco were slowly drawn into the wider emerging Mediterranean
world by Phoenician trading colonies and settlements in the late Classical period. The arrival of Phoenicians heralded a long
engagement with the wider Mediterranean, as this strategic region formed part of the Roman Empire, as Mauretania Tingitana.
In the fifth century, as the Roman Empire declined, the region fell to the Vandals, Visigoths, and then Byzantine Greeks in
rapid succession. During this time, however, the high mountains of most of modern Morocco remained unsubdued, and stayed in
the hands of their Berber inhabitants.
Early Islamic influence in Morocco
By the seventh century, Arab expansion was at its greatest. In 670 AD, the
first Arab invasions of the North African coastal plain took place under Uqba ibn Nafi, a general serving under the Umayyads
of Damascus. His army swept into what is now Morocco, which he called "Maghreb al Aqsa" or "The Far West," in the year 683.
The Arab invasion of Morocco faced strong resistance from local Berbers. After about a century of fierce battles with Berbers,
the Arabs occupied Morocco.
Successful Portuguese efforts to control the Atlantic coast in the fifteenth
century did not profoundly affect the Mediterranean heart of Morocco. After the Napoleonic Wars, Egypt and the North African
maghreb became increasingly ungovernable from Istanbul, the resort of pirates under local beys, and as Europe industrialized, an increasingly prized potential for colonization. The Maghreb had far
greater proven wealth than the unknown rest of Africa and a location of strategic importance affecting the exit from the Mediterranean.
For the first time, Morocco became a state of some interest in itself to the European Powers. France showed a strong interest
in Morocco as early as 1830. Recognition by the United Kingdom in 1904 of France's sphere of influence in Morocco provoked
a German reaction; the crisis of June 1905 was resolved at the Algeciras Conference, Spain in 1906, which formalized France's
"special position" and entrusted policing of Morocco to France and Spain jointly. A second Moroccan crisis provoked by Berlin,
increased tensions between European powers. The Treaty of Fez (signed on March 30, 1912) made Morocco a protectorate of France.
By the same treaty, Spain assumed the role of protecting power over the northern and southern Saharan zones on November 27
that year. Many Moroccan soldiers (Goumieres) who served in the French army assisted European and American troops in both
World War I and World War II.
Morocco is an ethnically diverse country with a rich culture and civilization.
Through Moroccan history, Morocco hosted many people coming from both East (Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Jews and Arabs), South
(Africans) and North (Romans, Vandals, Moors and Jews). All those civilizations have had an impact on the social structure
of Morocco. It conceived various forms of beliefs, from paganism, Judaism, Christianity to Islam. Each region possesses its
own specificities, contributing, thus, to the making of national culture and to the civilization legacy. Morocco has set among
its top priorities the protection of its legacy and the preservation of its cultural identity. Ethnically and culturally speaking,
Morocco nowadays can be considered the least Arabic among Arab countries. Most of its population is composed of native Berbers
or of mixed Arab-Berber origins.
Main article: Cuisine of Morocco
Moroccan cuisine has long been considered as one of the most diversified
cuisines in the world. The reason is because of the interaction of Morocco with the outside world for centuries. The cuisine
of Morocco is a mix of Berber, Spanish, Moorish, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and African cuisines. The cuisine of Morocco
has been influenced by the native Berber cuisine, the Arabic Andalusian cuisine; brought by the Moriscos when they left Spain,
the Turkish cuisine from the Turkish and the Middle Eastern cuisines brought by the Arabs as well as the Jewish cuisine. Spices
are used extensively in Moroccan food. While spices have been imported to Morocco for thousands of years, many ingredients,
like saffron from Tiliouine, mint and olives from Meknes, and oranges and lemons from Fez, are home-grown. Chicken is the
most widely eaten meat in Morocco. The most commonly eaten red meat in Morocco is beef although lamb is preferred while being
relatively expensive. Couscous is the most famous Moroccan dish along with pastilla, tajine, and harira. The most popular
drink is green tea with mint. The tea is accompanied with hard sugar cones or lumps.