Morocco lies the northern part of the African country along the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. To the east is Algeria and Mauritania to the south. The Mediterranean coast has numerous mountains like the Atlas Mountains while the Atlantic coast has fertile plain. The country is located between latitude 35 22' 48" N and longitude 5 42' 00" W. Morocco gained its independence in 1956 from the French and Spanish protectorates(Hobbs, Joseph and Joseph 234). This was achieved after 44 years of colonization.
A significant part of Morocco is mountainous coupled with slopes that gradually ascend into plateaus and valleys. Atlas mountain cover the central part of the country, and the Rift Mountains dominate the northern edge of the continent. The tallest point in the country is Jebel Toubkal, which is about 4,165meters above the sea level. This is the top peak of the Atlas Mountains. To the southeast is Sahara desert that covers 9.4 million square km. Due to extensive livestock rearing and vegetation destruction, the Morocco soil has been eroded and is unfit for cultivation. The lowest point is sebkha tah, 55 meters below the sea level.
The country also has a variety of vegetation cover. The coastal vegetation is covered with large exotic varieties of Casuarina, citrus, acacia, and loquat. The wetter places of the county are covered with meadows and orchards with plants like fennel. Towards the middle part of the Atlas, there are mere remnants of the cedar forest that cover an impressive amount of the area but the natural vegetation is Mediterranean in the mountains dominated by juniper, thuya and oak vegetation type. The interior region is covered with esparto and Artemisia plants.
Argan forests form a barrier between the desertification and Morocco. This forest has a high value of Argan trees used in cosmetics and the creation of medicines for various ailments. The farming communities and the fishing industries have been logging the Argan trees hence the formation of national parks for its conservation. The Argan trees also have significant resistance to drought and can adapt to the environmental changes. The Sahara desert also has some herbs and small shrubs. The increase in moisture results to more growth in the herbs that are widely spaced in the deserts. However, the desert vegetation does not support much vegetation.
Morocco is dominated with Mediterranean climate with rainfall occurring during the cool season and during the warm season, the country is dry. However, with the geographical location, with the influence of Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, the country at times experience diverse climatic conditions. The diversity made classification of the entire climatic divisions easier. The Sahara desert receives an annual rainfall of less than 100 mm. The winter temperatures are hot along the Atlantic Ocean but cool 10km inland.
The arid area receives about 100-400mm rainfall annually. Areas covered with this climatic condition include the southern part of the Atlas Mountains, the high eastern plateau, and the sous plain. The semi-arid division covers doukkala, gharb, middle atlas and central plateau and receives an annual rainfall of about 400 mm to 600mm. The sub-humid areas receive between 600mm and 800mm within the mountain ranges.
The nature of rainfall in the country is variable within the years and seasons and mostly occurs in autumn (October to November) and spring (march-April). Winter season in Morocco dominates December. The mean annual rainfall varies from less than 100mm to 1200mm. The coastal areas along the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean experiences extreme temperatures with translate into bioclimate sub-types warm temperate winters. The temperatures are more extreme inland with summers very hot and winter quite cold. The temperature in the mountain ranges drop to zero degrees, and the highest peak are snowcapped all year through.
As at the 2014 national census, Morocco had a population of about 33.8 million with the majority of the population comprising the Moroccans of Arab-Berber. The Berbers has stayed in Morocco for over 5000 years with the oldest known state as Berber kingdom of Mauretania. There has been a high occurrence of intermarriages between the Berbers and the European settlers that led to the Moorish and Romano-Berber cultures in Morocco (Hobbs, Joseph and Joseph 256). Only a small percentage of the population comprises of the Haratin and the Gnaoua, who are dark in complexion and are involved in agriculture. The language spoken is either Berber or Moroccan Arabic.
A significant percentage of the populations are Sunni Muslims, which cover about 95 percent of the population. The Jewish also exist, but some live in North America, Europe, and Israel but visit their country occasionally. The Christian religion is currently growing in Morocco. However, both Christian and Shia-Muslim activities are always under surveillance, and their activities are always restricted from interfering with the Sunni-Islam. Additionally, the number of non-believers and western lifestyles is on the rise. This is due to tremendous increase in alcohol consumption in the country that is against the Islamic and Christian religion.
Most people live in the western and northern sides of Atlas Mountains. Casablanca is the largest city and an industrial center while Rabat is the government seat.
The coastal plains and plateaus are the main growing areas for Morocco commercial farming. The areas warm climatic conditions and rainfall conditions allow for the production of cereal growing, production of winter wheat and barley, olives, grapes, and pulses. These crops have produced a high output and others exported to different countries. Additionally, the forest forms a useful natural resource for the country with Eucalyptus for charcoal and paper pulp and cork oak trees used to produce cork. With the incorporation of irrigation systems into their agricultural system, the country has opened up the production of sugarcane, tea, cotton, sunflowers, tobacco and soybeans that are exported to other parts of the world.
Livestock rearing is also widely spread across the country providing a plentiful supply of the beef, poultry, and dairy products to the country. Fish farming along the coastal line also offers a fine catch of sardines, tuna and bonito species of fish. Couscous is the Moroccan staple food and is made from semolina grains steamed in couscoussiere. The meal is served with stew or tagine or can be mixed with vegetables and meat and served as the main course. It has been a tradition serving couscous every Fridays in Morocco.
Just as some of the African countries, Morocco also has some deposits of Minerals and raw materials equally distributed across the country. Their key material is Phosphate used in the manufacture of fertilizers and animal feeds. The export of the product accounts to over a third of the foreign trade. Other small mineral deposits include barite, lead, cobalt and fluorspar used for cement production. Additionally, there has been some oil deposits along the Western Sahara but has not been fully exploited. The country has no potential oil reservoir and hence imports 98% of their energy.
Service industry dominates the Kingdom's economy. Agricultural industries cover 16.57 percent of the GDP, manufacturing, and related industries cover 28.53 percent of their GDP, and the service sector covers 54.90 percent of the Moroccan GDP.
For a town to be an urban center, the total population must be at least 750,000 inhabitants. An urban agglomeration is composed of the city or town plus the suburban fringe or the leafy sub-burbs of the city. For those smaller countries with urban centers less than 750,000 people, only the population of the capital is presented.
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