Morocco <<muh RAWK oh>> is a country on the northwestern coast of Africa. It is on both the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. A narrow waterway called the Strait of Gibraltar connects the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. It separates Morocco from Spain.
Morocco is bordered by Algeria on the east and southeast. It claims the desert land of Western Sahara on the south. Rabat <<rah BAHT>> is the capital of Morocco, andCasablanca <<KAH suh BLANG kuh>> is its largest city.
The Atlas Mountain Chain runs across the middle of Morocco. Mountains called the Rif lie in the far north.
The desert land of the Sahara lies east and south of the mountains. It is rocky and sandy, with a few oases <<oh AY seez>>, places where there is water.
Almost all Moroccans come from Arab and Berber families. Over the years, so many Arabs and Berbers have married that almost everyone is a mixture of both. Today, people are called Arab or Berber mainly because they speak either Arabic or Berber. Most Arabs live in cities or along the coast. Most Berbers live in the mountains.
Resources and products
Morocco has few factories or industries. Nearly half of the people work at farming or fishing. Most farmers have small farms. Morocco’s farmers grow almonds, barley, beans, citrus fruits, olives, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, and wheat. The country raises cattle, chickens, and sheep.Morocco is one of Africa’s leading fishing countries. Service industries such as hotels, restaurants, and resorts provide many jobs.
Only a small number of people work in factories. Mining is a very important industry, but it provides few jobs. Morocco has about two-thirds of the world’s phosphate rock, which is used in making chemicals.
Berbers lived in this area as long as 3,000 years ago, and Arabs began living there about 1,300 years ago. Idris Ibn Abdallah, an Arab leader, united the people in the first Moroccan state in the late 700′s. After that, the country was governed by Arab and Berber rulers called sultans.
In the early 1900′s, France and Spain controlled parts of Morocco. Fighting broke out, and the ruler of Morocco signed a treaty with France. The treaty gave France control of Morocco.
During World War II (1939-1945), fighting spread to Morocco. A group began to work for Morocco’s independence. On March 2, 1956, Morocco became independent of France.
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