Morocco is a popular North African county which faces the Mediterranean sea and Spanish Strait of Gibraltar. It’s an African country located in the north of the continent. The country borders Western Sahara and Algeria. In the west of the Morocco, Atlantic ocean is located. Rabat is the capital of Morocco and its official currency is called as Moroccan Dirhami. The population of country as of 2020 is around 35 million. The article tries to shared some of the best and interesting Morocco facts which might enlighten the reader about this country.
1. Muslims conquered Morocco in 788
After the advent of Islam in 7th century AD, Morocco was conquered by the Arabs in 8th century AD. A series of the Moroccan muslims dynasties eventually started to look after the governance of the country. The Ummayad Caliphate had occupied Morocco at that time; however, due to a local Berber revolt in 740, the rule was challenged. Around fifty years later, Idrisid dynasty unified their rule over Morocco. The dynasty lasted from 788 A.D. to 974 A.D. Similarly, the hold of Morocco remained with the Muslims with the change in ruling order from Idrisid, Almoravid, Almohad, Saadi to Alaouites.
2. Spain gained influence in Morocco in 1860
The rule of the muslims was seriously challenged in Morocco when Spain successfully gained influence in the Northern Morocco in 1860. The increased influence of Europe in Northern Africa was because of the Napoleonic Wars. The power of Ottoman Empire in the region became weakened. As Morocco shared a coast with Mediterranean sea; therefore its importance couldn’t be ignored.
The war between Spain and Morocco took place during 1859-1860 and as a result of the war, Morocco was forced to take massive loan from Britain to pay its war debt to Spain. By the year 1900, due to the absence of a powerful Sultan the country descended into chaos. France took it as an opportunity to look after the trade and economy of Morocco for monetary gains.
3. France made Morocco a protectorate in 1912
The sovereignty of the country was further eroded when France imposed the status of protectorate on the Morocco. The Treaty of Fez made Morocco a protectorate of France which was signed as a result of a crisis which emerged by the deployment of French forces in the interior of the Morocco.
Later, in another treaty, Spain also became a power contender in Morocco, as some regions in Morocco were given to the Spain.
4. Morocco became free in 1956
After a series of governments from Spain and France, the country ultimately became free in 1956. The freedom was obtained in line with the decolonisation of the rest of Africa. The constitutional monarchy was setup in the country. The current monarch is from the same regime which ruled right after the independence of the Morocco; Alaouite dynasty.
The movement was spearheaded by Moroccan Action Committee. It was a similar movement as the world witnessed in many countries opposing the colonial rule. Ultimately, many years later, after much struggle of Freedom Fighters and the resulting chaos, France gave up and the country became free in 1956, as the charge of the country was transferred to the same Dynasty which was once removed.
5. Morocco asserts its occupation on disputed Western Sahara region
The Western Sahara is disputed and often it’s not counted among the recognised African Countries. Morocco claims to have a sway and control over 75% of the Western Saharan territory. It would be safe to assume that Morocco has declared a de facto rule over Western Sahara. The United Nations doesn’t recognise that Morocco has sovereignty over the disputed region.
6. Arabic is the national language and Islam is a major religion in Morocco
99% of the population in Morocco is of Arab-Berber descent and Arabic is their official language. Besides Arabic, they also speak Berber language. French is also a common language to seal the business and daily life deals. Islam is the major religion in Morocco, with 99% of the followers adhering to the belief.
The language influence of the French is because of their rule in the country as well as the close proximity and trade relations of the past and present.
7. Agriculture and Proximity to Europe plays role in Moroccan Economy
A few decades back, in 1980, Moroccan economy was in a bad shape; however, after a series of austerity drives in the country, the economy recovered. The close proximity to the Europe and Agriculture produce plays an important role in helping the country’s economy stay afloat.
In our list of the most developed countries in Africa, Morocco stands at the 6th number as of 2020 stats. There is a slight trade deficit of Morocco in the year 2017, as imports stood at $37.4bn whereas the exports amounted to $24.9bn.
8. Marrakech is a Popular Tourist destination in Morocco
The two cities of Morocco which receive most hype internationally are Marrakech and Casablanca. Marrakech is an old imperial city and it offers old architecture and old markets. Casablanca on the other hand offers the sight of a business capital, and it offers more modern experience when it comes to architecture and markets.
Modern travellers would however recommend another city as well, as some claim that the above mentioned cities are overhyped. They suggest visiting Fez el-Bali as it offers amazing history. UNESCO has also added it to the list of World Heritage Site. The sight of donkeys walking down the alleys and constant aroma is an experience worth having for a tourist.
9. Chefchaouen is the city painted in Blue
Who doesn’t like something which is aesthetically pleasing? Chefchaouen is a major attraction when it comes to the buildings and almost every structure painted in blue. The city is located in North West Morocco. The city has close proximity to the popular sites of Tangier and Spanish enclave of Ceuta; therefore, it attracts tourists. The city also offers some good handicrafts which are popular and pretty much available only in Chefchaouen.
10. Argan Oil is the Liquid Gold of Morocco
The oil is one of the most expensive products in the world. It’s also called as the liquid gold of Morocco. The government often dubs it as a deal breaker for the country because of its exports. The Argan forest in Morocco covers around 800,000 hectares. Due to the unique nature of the Argan forest and trees, UN in 1998 added the forest to Unesco Biosphere Reserve. The tree is endemic to Morocco; therefore, it’s the only country which exports the oil. Foreign agencies played an important role in establishing this trade with the outside world. Moroccans often sprinkle the oil on their salads and eatables.