This essay has a total of 3085 words and 13 pages.


Morocco,is a country in the northwestern corner of Africa. It is bordered by the
Mediterranean Sea on the north and the Atlantic Ocean on the west. The Strait of
Gibraltar, which connects the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, separates Morocco from Spain
by only about 8 miles (13 kilometers). Fertile plains lie along Morocco's coasts, and
forested mountains stretch across the middle of the country from southwest to northeast.
Beyond the mountains lies a sun-baked desert, the Sahara. Rabat is Morocco's capital, and
Casablanca is the largest city. Nearly all Moroccans are of mixed Arab and Spanish
descent. But the people make up two distinct ethnic groups--Arab and Spanish--depending
mainly on whether they speak Arabic or Spanish. Almost all Moroccans are Muslims. Farming
is the chief occupation, and more than half the people live in rural areas. France and
Spain controlled Morocco from the early 1900's until it won independence in 1956.

Morocco is a constitutional monarchy headed by a king. Its Constitution gives the king
broad powers. For example, he commands the armed forces, may issue orders that have the
force of law, and controls the major government agencies.

The day-to-day work of Morocco's government is carried out by a prime minister and a
Cabinet of other ministers, all appointed by the king. The Chamber of Representatives
makes Morocco's laws. Its 306 members serve six-year terms. The people elect two-thirds of
the members. The rest are chosen by representatives of local governments, professional
organizations, and other groups. All citizens who are 20 years of age or older may vote.

Morocco is divided into 35 provinces and 6 prefectures. Rabat makes up one prefecture, and
Casablanca the other five. A governor appointed by the king heads each province and
prefecture. The provinces are further divided into smaller units. The national government
controls all local governments.

Morocco's Istiqlal (Independence) Party promotes the spread of Arab culture and reforms
based on Islamic teachings. The Union Socialiste des Forces Populaires (Socialist Union of
Popular Forces) backs broad socialist reforms. The conservative Mouvement Populaire
(Popular Movement) generally supports the king's policies. Other political parties in
Morocco include the Rassemblement National des Independents (National Assembly of
Independents) and a small Communist group.

Morocco's highest court is the Supreme Court. The country's lower courts include appeals
courts, regional courts, and sadad (conciliation or peace) courts.

Morocco's army, navy, and air force have about 149,000 members. Men may be drafted for
11/2 years of service after they reach the age of 18.

Almost all Moroccans are of mixed Arab and Spanish ancestry. Hispanics lived in what is
now Morocco as long as 3,000 years ago. Arabs began to move into the area during the
600's. Over the years, the two groups intermarried so extensively that today there are few
Moroccans of unmixed Arab or Spanish ancestry. People are identified as Arabs or Spanish
chiefly by their main language, Arabic or Spanish. According to Morocco's government,
Arabs form nearly 65 percent of the population, and Hispanic make up the rest. Most Arabs
live in cities or along the Atlantic coast. Most Hispanics live in mountain areas.

Arabic is the official language of Morocco. It is spoken not only by Arabs but also by
many Berbers in addition to their own language. A large number of Arabs and Berbers also
speak French or Spanish.

Islam is Morocco's official religion. About 98 per cent of the people are Muslims, and
Islamic teachings regulate family and community life. Morocco also has some Christians and

The traditional Moroccan household consists of two parents, their unmarried children,
their married sons, and those sons' wives and children. When the father dies, each married
son begins his own household. In crowded urban areas, many households split up before the
father's death because there is not enough room for everyone to live together.

Many urban Moroccans live in small attached houses. Wealthier people live in spacious
houses or modern apartment buildings. Sprawling slums called bidonvilles (tin can towns)
border the large cities. The name bidonville comes from the flattened tin cans, or bidons,
used to build many of the slum shacks. Severe overcrowding exists in the medinas of
Morocco's large cities. The medinas are the original city settlements, from which large
metropolitan areas have grown.

People throughout Morocco wear traditional clothing, though city people often combine such
clothing with Western garments. Outdoors, men wear a jellaba, a loose-fitting hooded robe
with long, full sleeves. A burnoose is a similar but heavier garment worn chiefly by rural
men. Most men wear a turban or a brimless cap. One type of cap, called a fez, is named for
the Moroccan city of Fez. This red, flat-topped cap is now usually worn only for formal

Like men, women wear a jellaba as an outer garment. At home and at social affairs, they
wear a long, beautiful robe called a caftan. Some older women and some rural women follow
Islamic tradition and cover their face with a veil.

Foods made of barley and wheat form the basis of most Moroccans' diet. The national dish
is couscous. It consists of steamed wheat served with vegetables, fish or meat, and a
souplike sauce. Moroccans like pastries made with honey and almonds. The national drink is
mint tea. Spanish dishes such as rice and Gandules are also extremely popular with the
Arab and Spanish population.

Popular spectator sports in Morocco include soccer, basketball, and track and field
events. Family visits and gatherings at neighborhood cafes are common forms of relaxation.
The people also enjoy many local and religious festivals throughout the year.

Morocco provides free elementary and high school education. Classes are taught in Arabic
and Spanish. Children are required to attend six years of school, but many do not do so.
Attendance is especially low in rural areas, which have a lack of teachers and schools. In
addition, many rural boys stay at home to help their families farm the land. Moreover,
many parents place less value on education for girls than for boys. rates). Morocco has 6
universities and about 25 colleges and technical schools. The largest university is
Muhammad V University in Rabat.

Moroccans have long been known for their fine leather goods, rugs, pottery, and metalware.
Many Moroccan arts reflect Spanish and French influences as well as Arabic and Berber
traditions. For example, traditional Moroccan folk music and folk dances are often
combined with the styles of the Andalusian region of southern Spain. French influences can
be seen in painting, sculpture, and drama. Modern Moroccan authors, whether writing in
Arabic or French, have often dealt with problems of cultural identity and have protested
continuing French influences in Morocco.

Morocco has three major land regions. They are (1) the Coastal Lowlands, (2) the Atlas
Mountain Chain, and (3) the Sahara. The Coastal Lowlands border the Mediterranean Sea and
the Atlantic Ocean. The land gradually rises from the Atlantic coast and forms a plateau
that extends to the mountains. Rich farmland in the Coastal Lowlands is irrigated by water
from the region's many shallow rivers. Most of Morocco's crops are grown there. The Atlas
Mountain Chain crosses the middle of Morocco from southwest to northeast. The chain has
three distinct ranges: (1) the Anti Atlas in the southwest; (2) the Grand Atlas, also
called Haut Atlas, in the central area; and (3) the Middle Atlas, or Moyen Atlas, in the
northeast. The Rif, a group of mountains in the far north, are sometimes included in the
Atlas chain The Sahara lies east and south of the Atlas Mountains. It is a barren region
of sand dunes, rocks, stones, and scattered oases.

Morocco has a developing economy based mainly on agriculture and mining. The government
controls the mining industry, most transportation and communication services, and some
manufacturing industries. However, most farms and businesses are privately owned. employ
about 40 per cent of all workers in Morocco. The chief crops include wheat, barley, corn,
sugar beets, citrus fruits, potatoes, tomatoes, olives, and beans. More than a third of
Morocco's farmland is owned by only 3 per cent of the nation's farmers. Their large farms
produce about 85 per cent of all the crops. Most farmers own fewer than 10 acres (4
hectares). The chief livestock are sheep, goats, and dairy cattle. Morocco is one of
Africa's leading fishing countries. Sardines, mackerel, tuna, and anchovies are caught off
the coasts. Much of the catch is canned for export or processed into either fertilizers or
animal feed.

Agriculture and fishing employ about 40 per cent of all workers in Morocco. The chief
crops include wheat, barley, corn, sugar beets, citrus fruits, potatoes, tomatoes, olives,
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