Morocco Information

General Information for Morocco

Country: Morocco
Location: North Africa
Independence: 1956
Nationality: Moroccan
Capital City: Rabat
Population: 28,010,000
Important Cities: Rabat, Casablanca, Marrakech
Head of State: King Hassan II
Area: 458,730
Type of Government: Monarchy
Currency: Dirham=100 centimes
Major peoples: Berber
Religion: Sunni Moslems 98%, Christian 1%, Jewish .2%
Climate: Mediterranean to semiarid
Literacy: 33%
Official Language: Arabic
Principal Languages: Arabic, Berber, Spanish, French
Major Exports: Phosphates, Fish, Textiles, Cement, Soap, Tobacco, Chemicals, Paper, Timber Products
Pre-Colonial History Arab forces began occupying Morocco in the 7th century A.D. bringing with them Arab civilization and Islam. The Alaouite dynasty, which has ruled Morocco since 1649, claims descent from the Prophet Muhammad. Morocco's location and resources led to early competition among European powers in Africa, beginning with Portuguese efforts to control the Atlantic coast in the 15th century. France showed a strong interest in Morocco as early as 1830. Following recognition by the United Kingdom in 1904 of France's sphere of influence in Morocco the Algeciras Conference (1906) for Malized France's special position and entrusted policing of Morocco to France and Spain jointly. The first nationalist political parties based their demands for Moroccan independence on such World War II declarations as the Atlantic Charter. A manifesto of the Istiqlal (Independence) Party in 1944 was one of the earliest public demands for independence. That party subsequently provided most of the leadership for the nationalist movement.
Post-Colonial History France exiled Sultan Muhammad V in 1953 and replaced him with the unpopular Muhammad Ben Aarafa, which sparked active opposition to the French protectorate. France allowed Muhammad V to return in 1955; negotiations leading to independence began the following year. The Kingdom of Morocco recovered its political independence from France on March 2, 1956. After the death of his father, Muhammad V, King Hassan II succeeded to the throne on March 3, 1961. He reorganized the Royal Charter proclaimed by his father on May 8, 1958, which outlined steps toward establishing a constitutional monarchy. A constitution providing for representative government under a strong monarchy was approved by referendum on December 7, 1962. Elections were held in 1963. An unsuccessful coup on July 10 1971, organized by senior military officers at Skhirat, was followed by Morocco's third constitution approved by popular referendum in early 1972. In March 1992 King Hassan announced that the constitution was to be revised, with the principal aim of redefining the roles of and the relationship between the executive and legislative organs of state. In 1994, King Hassan appealed to all political parties to participate in a government of national unity.

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