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Morocco Country Profile

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Morocco at a Glance

Location:Northern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, between Algeria and Western Sahara
Climate:Mediterranean, becoming more extreme in the interior
Terrain:northern coast and interior are mountainous with large areas of bordering plateaus, intermontane valleys, and rich coastal plains
Resources:phosphates, iron ore, manganese, lead, zinc, fish, salt
Hazards:northern mountains geologically unstable and subject to earthquakes; periodic droughts
Population:34,859,364 (July 2009 est.)




A Brief Profile of Morocco

In 788, about a century after the Arab conquest of North Africa, successive Moorish dynasties began to rule in Morocco. In the 16th century, the Sa'adi monarchy, particularly under Ahmad AL-MANSUR (1578-1603), repelled foreign invaders and inaugurated a golden age. In 1860, Spain occupied northern Morocco and ushered in a half century of trade rivalry among European powers that saw Morocco's sovereignty steadily erode; in 1912, the French imposed a protectorate over the country. A protracted independence struggle with France ended successfully in 1956. The internationalized city of Tangier and most Spanish possessions were turned over to the new country that same year. Morocco virtually annexed Western Sahara during the late 1970s, but final resolution on the status of the territory remains unresolved. Gradual political reforms in the 1990s resulted in the establishment of a bicameral legislature, which first met in 1997. The country has made improvements in human rights under King MOHAMMED VI and its press is moderately free. Despite the continuing reforms, ultimate authority remains in the hands of the monarch.






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