Morocco, officially the Kingdom of Morocco. Arabic name al-Mamlakat al-Maghribiyyah (المملكة المغربية) translates to “The Western Kingdom”. Al-Maghrib (المغرب), or Maghreb, meaning “The West”, is commonly used.

The Kingdom of Morocco is the most westerly of the North African countries. It has Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines, and a rugged mountain interior. It has a population of over 32 million and an area of 446,550 km² (710,850 km² with Western Sahara). The political capital is Rabat, although the largest city is Casablanca; other major cities include Marrakesh, Tetouan, Tangier, Salé, Fes, Agadir, Meknes, Oujda, Kenitra, and Nador. Morocco has a history of independence not shared by its neighbours. Its rich culture is a blend of Arab, Berber, European and African influences.

Morocco administers most of the disputed region of the Western Sahara as the Southern Provinces. The status of Western Sahara remains unresolved. Morocco annexed the territory in 1975 and a guerrilla war with pro-independence forces ended in 1991. UN efforts have failed to break the political deadlock. To the north, a dispute with Spain in 2002 over the tiny island of Perejil revived the issue of the sovereignty of Melilla and Ceuta. These small enclaves on the Mediterranean coast are surrounded by Morocco and have been administered by Spain for centuries. Morocco has been given the status of non-Nato ally by Washington.

Morocco is a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament. The King of Morocco holds vast executive and legislative powers, including the power to dissolve the parliament. Executive power is exercised by the government but the king’s decisions usually override those of the government if there is a contradiction. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of parliament, the Assembly of Representatives and the Assembly of Councillors. The king can also issue decrees called dahirs which have the force of law.

The main religion is Islam. The official language is Moroccan Arabic. Berber and French are also spoken. Hassaniya Arabic, sometimes considered a variety of Moroccan Arabic, is spoken in parts of the southern provinces (Western Sahara).

Wikipedia