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Morocco Culture, Geography and History
Culture and Customs of Morocco
Morocco's culture has developed over centuries of influence from far and wide. Contemporary Morocco is a fascinating mix of Berber, Mediterranean, Andalucian and African traditions, which are present in the cuisine, clothing, music, language, customs and lifestyle. As an Islamic country, most Moroccans are Muslim; however, there are small populations of people who practice Judaism and Christianity. Classic examples of Islamic architecture can be observed all throughout the country and tenets of the Islamic religion are carried out in the customs and lives of the people. The 'Call to Prayer' can be heard five times a day, women are expected to dress modestly and alcohol isn't drunk by most of the population.
Most of Moroccan society can be considered traditional, with respect for elders, connection to family and giving alms to the poor hallmarks of everyday life for many Moroccans. Hospitality is another important element of society, with warmly welcoming people into your home a time-honored tradition and social responsibility that dates back centuries.
Geography and Environment of Morocco
Located in North Africa, Morocco has the best of many worlds within its boundaries. From the sun-drenched beaches of the coast to sands of the mighty Sahara and the snowy peaks of the High Atlas and Rif Mountains, Morocco has great variety in its landscapes and terrain. This combination of desert, woodlands, forest, mountain steppe and grasslands ensures a wide diversity of flora and fauna lives within the country.
History and Government of Morocco
The land now known as Morocco has been inhabited for centuries, with Moroccan civilisation being known for its richness in history and culture. Centuries of foreign trade, invasion and dynastic rule have given Morocco the many different cultural influences that are evident in today's society. From the Phoenicians who entered Morocco via the Mediterranean in the 6th century BC, to the Roman influence of 40 AD and the formation of Islamic Morocco in the years after, Morocco has evolved with the rise and fall of dynasties, formation and dissolution of empires and birth of new governments, movements and ways of living. Reaching its height under the Berber Dynasties of the 11th and 12th centuries (the Almoravids, Almohads, Marinids and Wattasids), Morocco subsequently fell to Arab tribes in 1559. The current royal family are descendants of the Alaouite Dynasty who have largely ruled since the 1600s, despite enduring a few crises in the 18th and 19th centuries, mainly in relation to European influence in the area and surrounding countries.
With the signing of the Treaty of Fez, Morocco was declared a protectorate of France in 1912 with Spain being allocated control of parts of Morocco, mainly in the north and south. European control was generally opposed by Moroccans citizens, with the people of Rif attempting to establish a separatist republic in 1921. Decades of opposition continued, with rioting and protests leading to increased political tension. In 1955, the road to Moroccan independence was paved by Mohammed V who negotiated reforms and restoration of independence. By 1956, France had relinquished its protectorate of Morocco and in 1957, Mohammed V became king. In 1961, Hassan II assumed the title of King of Morocco and continued to rule until his death in 1999. His son, Mohammed VI, took over the mantle of king in 1999, and continues to rule today.
Morocco at a glance
- Rabat (population 1.2 million)
- 32 million
- Moroccan Arabic, French, Berber dialects, some Spanish
- (GMT) Casablanca
- Type C (European 2-pin), Type E (French 2-pin, female earth)
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