Morocco is a sovereign country located in the Maghreb region of North Africa. The capital city is Rabat, and the largest city is Casablanca. Other major cities include Marrakesh, Tangier, Salé, Fes, Meknes, and Oujda. Morocco spans an area of 710,850 square kilometres (274,460 sq mi) and has a population of over 37 million. The official languages of Morocco are Arabic and Berber, with French also being widely spoken. Morocco is a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament. The King of Morocco holds vast executive and legislative powers, especially over the military, foreign policy, and religious affairs. Executive power is exercised by the government, while 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 issue decrees called dahirs, which have the force of law. Morocco's relationship with the West has been strained in recent years, due to issues such as the Western Sahara conflict, terrorism, and human rights concerns. Morocco is a member of the Arab League, the Union for the Mediterranean, and the African Union. It has the fifth largest economy of Africa. The area of present-day Morocco has been inhabited since Paleolithic times, sometime between 190,000 and 90,000 BC. A recent publication may demonstrate an even earlier habitation period, as Homo sapiens fossils discovered in the late 1990s near the Atlantic coast in Jebel Irhoud were recently dated to 315,000 years before present. During the Upper Paleolithic, the Maghreb was more fertile than it is today, resembling a savanna more than today's arid landscape. Twenty-two thousand years ago, the Aterian was succeeded by the Iberomaurusian culture, which shared similarities with Iberian cultures. Skeletal similarities have been suggested between the Iberomaurusian "Mechta-Afalou" burials and European Cro-Magnon remains. The Iberomaurusian was succeeded by the Beaker culture in Morocco. Mitochondrial DNA studies have discovered the Saami of Scandinavia to be a potential source of the Beaker culture. The Carthaginians, Romans, and Vandals controlled the area at different times. A few Berber tribes, such as the Mauri and Numidians, successfully resisted Roman rule. The Romans divided Mauretania into Mauretania Caesariensis and Mauretania Tingitana. The area was later conquered by the Byzantine Empire, the Umayyad Caliphate, and the Berber Almohad and Marinid dynasties. The Idrisid dynasty founded Fez in 789, while the Almoravid dynasty founded Marrakesh in 1062. The Almohad Caliphate conquered all of North Africa from the Atlantic to Egypt between 1147 and 1187. The Marinid dynasty held sway in Morocco from 1244 to 1465. The Saadi dynasty ruled the country from 1549 to 1659, followed by the Alaouites from 1667 to the present day. In 1912, Morocco was divided into French and Spanish protectorates, with an international zone in Tangier. The Protectorate was administered by a French Resident-General, while the Spanish zone was administered by a Spanish Governor. Morocco regained its independence from France on 2 March 1956. Since Morocco's independence in 1956, the country has experienced significant economic growth and development. Morocco has a relatively young population, with over 60% of the population under the age of 30. The literacy rate has also increased significantly, from 28% in 1960 to 62% in 2014. The tourism industry is an important part of the Moroccan economy, with over 10 million tourists visiting the country each year. Morocco is also a popular destination for business travellers, with over 2 million business visitors each year. The climate in Morocco varies depending on the location. The coastal areas have a Mediterranean climate, while the interior and the south have a more arid climate. The Atlas Mountains experience a more temperate climate, with heavy rainfall in the winter months. Morocco is a culturally diverse country, with a rich history and a unique blend of Arab, Berber, African, and European influences. The country is also home to a number of World Heritage Sites, such as the historic city of Fez, the medina of Marrakesh, and the site of Volubilis.

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298.60 billion US dollars

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