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Santiago de Compostela, City in north-western Spain, capital of the autonomous region of Galicia in La Coruña Province. Principal manufactures in the city include linen, soap, processed food, and religious articles. Santiago de Compostela has been a major place of pilgrimage in the Roman Catholic church since the 9th century, when the discovery was made nearby of the alleged bones of the apostle Saint James the Great ("Santiago" is Spanish for Saint James). Chief among the numerous medieval buildings in the city is the fine Romanesque cathedral, consecrated in 1128, which now contains the tomb of Saint James. The University of Santiago de Compostela (1501) is located in the city. Population (1991) 87,472.

Fez or Fès (Arabic Fas), city, northern Morocco, located in a narrow valley. A commercial and religious centre, it is on the trade routes that link the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea with the countries south of the Sahara. Fez is divided into two parts, an old and a new town. Located in the city are textile and flour mills, oil-processing plants, tanneries, soap factories, and a large handicraft industry. The fez, a brimless, cylindrical felt hat, takes its name from the city. The city was founded in AD 808 by the Moroccan ruler Idris II, who built the celebrated mosque of Mulai Idris. This shrine is considered so sacred that non-Muslims and animals may not approach its entrance. Also in Fez is the great Qarawiyin Mosque, the largest in Africa. Population (1990 estimate, greater city) 1,012,000.

Canary Islands or Canaries (Spanish Islas Canarias), group of islands and autonomous region, Spain, in the Atlantic Ocean, off the north-western coast of Africa, comprising the provinces of Las Palmas and Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Their capitals are, respectively, Las Palmas on Grand Canary and Santa Cruz de Tenerife on Tenerife Island; the cities also serve as dual and alternative capital of the region. The chief islands of the group, in descending order of size, are Tenerife; Fuerteventura, the nearest to the African mainland; Grand Canary (Gran Canaria); Lanzarote; La Palma; Gomera; and Hierro. In addition, several barren islets are included in the group. The islands are of volcanic origin. Of the volcanic peaks, the highest is the dormant Pico de Teide, or Pico de Tenerife (3718 m/12,198 ft). The Canaries are noted for their scenery and mild, dry climate. Precipitation occurs mainly during the winter season. In areas below about 400 m (about 1310 ft) elevation, the vegetation is typically northern African; characteristic varieties are the date palm, dragon tree, and cactus. Growing at higher levels are laurels, holly, myrtle, eucalyptus, pine, and a variety of flowering plants. Farming and fishing are the principal industries. The volcanic soil of the Canaries is extremely fertile. The islands have no rivers, however, and severe droughts are common; artificial irrigation is therefore a necessity in most cultivable areas. Among important crops are bananas, citrus fruits, sugarcane, peaches, figs, wine grapes, grain, tomatoes, onions, and potatoes. Manufactured products include textiles and fine embroideries. Tourism is also important, and the islands are a popular winter-resort area.In the view of some authorities, the Canaries are the Fortunatae Insulae of antiquity. The islands were probably known to the Phoenicians and Carthaginians. As described by the Roman scholar Pliny, large numbers of wild dogs (Latin canes), roamed the islands, which he therefore named Canaria. Arab mariners reached the group in the 12th century, and it was visited in 1334 by French navigators. Pope Clement VI awarded the islands to Castile in 1344. The French mariner Jean de Bethéncourt began the conquest of the islands in 1402 and was made king of the Canaries in 1404 by the Castilian ruler Henry III. Claimed by Portugal, the islands were recognised as Spanish possessions by a treaty negotiated in 1479. Spanish conquest of the islands was completed by the late 1490s. The indigenous population, the Guanche, a Berber people, eventually became extinct. The Canaries, previously a single province, were divided into two provinces in 1927. Area, 7273 sq km (2808 sq mi); population (1991) 1,493,784.

Cape Verde (republic), republic, comprising the Cape Verde Islands, in the Atlantic Ocean, due west of the westernmost point of Africa, Cape Verde. The archipelago consists of ten islands and five islets, which are divided into windward and leeward groups. The windward group on the north includes Santo Antão, São Vicente, São Nicolau, Sal, and Boa Vista; the leeward group on the south includes São Tiago, Brava, Fogo, and Maio. Cape Verde has a total area of approximately 4033 sq km (approximately 1557 sq mi).

Land and Resources

The islands are volcanic in origin, and all but three?Sal, Boa Vista, and Maio?are mountainous. The highest point, Pico do Cano (2829 m/9281 ft) on Fogo, is also the group's only active volcano. The climate is tropical and dry and subject to extended droughts. The average annual temperature is about 24° C (about 75° F). The annual rainfall averages about 250 mm (about 10 in) and is concentrated in the months from August to October. Vegetation is sparse and consists of various shrubs, aloes, and other drought-resistant species. Wildlife is also limited and includes lizards, monkeys, wild goats, and a variety of birdlife. Mineral resources are meager and include pozzolana (a volcanic rock used in making cement), salt, and kaolin.


The majority of the people of Cape Verde are of mixed African and European descent and are known as Creoles, or mestiços. Nearly all of the remainder are of pure African stock. The total population (1993 estimate) of Cape Verde was 410,535. The overall density was about 102 persons per sq km (about 263 per sq mi). The official language is Portuguese; the national language, however, is Crioulo, a Creole dialect of Portuguese incorporating many African elements. Roman Catholicism is the dominant religion. The principal urban centers are Praia (population, 1985 estimate, 49,500), the capital, on São Tiago, and Mindelo (1980; 36,746) on São Vicente.


Under the 1980 constitution, as amended, the African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV) was the sole legal political party; the president was chosen by the National Assembly, the country's legislative body. Reforms introduced in 1990 provided for free, popular, multiparty elections for president and parliament. In the 1991 voting, the PAICV lost to the newly formed Movement for Democracy.


Farming, fishing, and construction are the chief economic activities. The principal subsistence crops are corn, beans, cassava, sugar-cane, and bananas. Some coffee, bananas, and palm products are exported. Tuna and lobsters are taken from surrounding waters, and goats, pigs, and cattle are raised. Industries include sugar refining, fish processing, tobacco processing, and the distilling of liquors. The ports of Mindelo and Porto Novo serve as transatlantic fueling stops, and an international airport is located on Sal. The country's basic unit of currency is the Cape Verde escudo (74.079 escudos equal U.S.$1; 1993).


The islands were used by Senegalese fishers before the first Europeans arrived, about 1456. They were claimed by Portugal in 1460; Portuguese settlers began to land shortly afterward. In 1495 the archipelago was declared a Crown possession, and slaves were subsequently imported from the African continent to cultivate the land. After gaining prosperity, the islands became attractive to pirates and foreign raiders?English, Dutch, and French?who repeatedly attacked during the following centuries. When the slave trade (for which the islands had served as a port of call) was abolished in 1876, their importance dwindled, although a coaling station and a submarine cable station at Mindelo still attracted many ships until World War I. Trade increased again toward the middle of the 20th century. Like other Portuguese possessions in Africa, the islands were designated an overseas province rather than a colony, in 1951. Unlike the other territories, however, Cape Verde had relatively little agitation for independence until the 1970s. After the coup in Portugal in April 1974, self- determination was promised to the archipelago, and it became independent on July 5, 1975. Under its first president, Aristides Pereira, Cape Verde was a one-party state, nonaligned in foreign policy but heavily dependent on Western aid. Reforms enacted in 1990 provided for the country's first free presidential election, won by Antonio Mascarenhas Monteiro in 1991.

Funchal, capital city of the Madeira Islands, an autonomous region of Portugal. The city is located on the southern shore of Madeira, the region's largest island, on Funchal Bay. Industries here include sugar and flour milling, wine production, fruit canning, and the manufacture of tobacco products and soap. Fish, fruit, and the famous Madeira wines, as well as embroideries and laces, are exported. The city, sometimes called the Pearl of the Ocean, is a noted winter resort because of its beaches and mild climate. It is the site of remains of 16th- and 17th-century forts and of the 15th-century Cathedral of Santa Clara, which contains the tomb of João Gonçalves Zarco, discoverer of Madeira and founder of Funchal. Founded in 1421 and chartered in 1508, it was under Spanish rule from 1580 to 1640 and was occupied by the British in 1801 and 1807. Population (1981 estimate) 44,111.

Madeira Islands, archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, located about 1100 km (about 700 mi) Southwest of Portugal, an autonomous region of that country. The Madeiras consist of two inhabited islands, Madeira and Porto Santo, and two uninhabited island groups, the Desertas and the Selvagens. The islands have a total area of 794 sq km (307 sq mi), with Madeira Island by far the largest at 55 km (34 mi) long and 22 km (14 mi) wide. The capital and largest city is Funchal (population, 1981, 44,111), located on Madeira Island.

Land and Population

Madeira means "wood" in the Portuguese language, and the archipelago was named for its large forests and dense vegetation. The Madeiras have lush tropical and semitropical plant life and extensive gardens, and are famous for their mild, pleasant climate. Madeira Island features a mountainous topography; the island's highest point is Ruivo de Santana Peak, 1861 m (6106 ft) high. The islands are relatively sparsely settled. The total population of the Madeiras at the 1991 census was 253,400; the estimated population in the mid-1990s is 275,000. The majority of the people live on Madeira Island, which has about 270,000 inhabitants. Porto Santo, 42 km (26 mi) northeast of Madeira Island, had an estimated population of 5000 in the mid-1990s. A large number of Madeiran emigrants reside in South Africa and the United States.

Economy and Government

The Madeiran economy is centered on agricultural production, especially sugar, wine grapes, and bananas. The internationally famous Madeira wine comes in several varieties and is an important export. While its variety of tropical fruits remains a resource, Madeiran hand-embroidered linen has also become a major source of revenue. This traditional craft is said to have been introduced to the islands in the 19th century by an Englishwoman. Fishing has long contributed to the Madeiran economy, and in recent decades tourism has increased in importance. The economy and infrastructure of the Madeiras have benefited from Portugal's membership in the European Union (called the European Community when Portugal joined in 1986). There have been recent improvements in Funchal's international airport, as well as its road system. As an autonomous region of Portugal, the Madeiras have their own legislature and some control over taxation. While at least two political parties participate in local elections, the Social Democratic party has retained political predominance since the implementation of the 1976 constitution, which established the framework for the region's government.


The islands were first discovered uninhabited by the Portuguese explorer João Gonçalves Zarco in 1418. Shortly thereafter, Prince Henry the Navigator began colonisation of the islands and established sugar plantations. These plantations became the prototype for the plantation system developed for the Portuguese colonies in the Americas after 1550. The importance of Madeira wine to the local economy surpassed that of sugar beginning in the late 17th century. A British colony of merchants and entrepreneurs established themselves on Madeira around this time, and eventually came to dominate the islands' linen, wine, banking, export, and tourism industries. During the Napoleon Wars (1799-1815), British forces occupied and administered the islands as part of the British Empire; the British later evacuated the islands. Large tourist hotels and other facilities have been constructed in or near Funchal in the latter half of the 20th century.

Casablanca, city, western Morocco, largest city and chief seaport of the country, on the Atlantic Ocean, near Rabat. It is one of the leading commercial cities of North Africa. It has railroads, highways, and an international airport and has one of the largest artificial harbours in the world; most of the foreign trade of Morocco passes through the city. Cereals, leather, wool, and phosphates are the chief exports. Casablanca also is the country's chief industrial centre. The leading industries are fishing, fish canning, sawmilling, and the manufacture of furniture, construction materials, glass, and tobacco products. Hassan II University (1976) and the Great Mosque Hassan II are here. In medieval times Casablanca was a prosperous town known as Anfa. It was destroyed by the Portuguese in 1468 and rebuilt by them in 1515. Following a severe earthquake in 1755, the city was again rebuilt. In 1907 Casablanca was occupied by the French. Under French administration it grew rapidly, and the modern city was built around the old Moorish city. During World War II, Casablanca was one of the three major landing places in the invasion of North Africa by Allied forces. The city was the site of the Casablanca Conference (January 1943) between U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, at which both leaders pledged that their countries would fight until the Axis powers surrendered unconditionally. The withdrawal of the French in 1956, after Morocco became independent, caused Casablanca severe economic hardship. A thriving tourist trade and increased industry have restored prosperity. Population (1990 estimate, greater city) 3,210,000.

Morocco (Arabic Al Mamlakah al Maghribyah), hereditary monarchy, bounded on the north by the Mediterranean Sea, on the east and Southeast by Algeria, on the south by Western Sahara, and on the west by the Atlantic Ocean. The south-eastern boundary, in the Sahara, is not precisely defined. Within Morocco are the Spanish exclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, on the Mediterranean coast. Several small islands off the northern coast of Morocco are also possessions of Spain. From 1912 to 1956 Morocco itself was divided into French and Spanish protectorates. The area of Morocco is about 446,550 sq km (about 172,413 sq mi). Since 1979, Morocco has also occupied the adjacent region known as Western Sahara (formerly Spanish Sahara).

Land and Resources

Morocco has the broadest plains and the highest mountains in North Africa. The country has four main physiographic regions: an area of highlands, called Er Rif, paralleling the Mediterranean coast; the Atlas Mountains, extending across the country in a south-western to north-eastern direction between the Atlantic Ocean and Er Rif, from which the mountains are separated by the Taza Depression; a region of broad coastal plains along the Atlantic Ocean, framed in the arc formed by Er Rif and the Atlas Mountains; and the plains and valleys south of the Atlas Mountains, which merge with the Sahara along the south-eastern borders of the country. Most Moroccans inhabit the Atlantic coastal plain. The highest mountain is Jebel Toubkal (4165 m/13,665 ft), in the Grand Atlas range. Elevations in Er Rif attain heights of about 2440 m (about 8000 ft). Morocco has many rivers, which, although unimportant for navigation, are used for irrigation and for generating electric power. The chief rivers are the Moulouya, which drains into the Mediterranean Sea, and the Sebou, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean.


Along the Mediterranean, Morocco has a subtropical climate, tempered by oceanic influences that give the coastal cities moderate temperatures. At Essaouira (Mogador), for example, temperatures average 16.4° C (61.5° F) in January and 22.5° C (72.5° F) in August. Toward the interior, winters are colder and summers warmer. Thus, in Fez the mean temperature is 10° C (50° F) in January and 26.9° C (80.5° F) in August. At high altitudes temperatures of less than -17.8° C (0° F) are not uncommon, and mountain peaks are covered with snow during most of the year. Rain falls mainly during the winter months. Precipitation is heaviest in the Northwest and lightest in the east and south. The average annual precipitation is about 955 mm (about 37.5 in) in Tangier, 430 mm (17 in) in Casablanca, 280 mm (11 in) in Essaouira, and less than 102 mm (4 in) in the Sahara.

Natural Resources

Morocco's resources are primarily agricultural, but mineral resources are also significant. Among the latter the most important is phosphate rock; other minerals include coal, iron, lead, manganese, petroleum, silver, tin, and zinc.

Plants and Animals

The mountainous regions of Morocco contain extensive areas of forest, including large stands of cork oak, evergreen oak, juniper, cedar, fir, and pine. Except for areas under cultivation, the plains are usually covered with scrub brush and alfa grass. On the plain of Sous, near the southern border, is a large forest of argan, thorny trees found principally in Morocco. Moroccan wildlife represents a mingling of European and African species. Of the animals characteristic of Europe, the fox, rabbit, otter, and squirrel abound; of predominantly African types, the gazelle, wild boar, panther, baboon, wild goat, and horned viper are common.


The soils along the coast of Morocco are halomorphic and humus-carbonate; inland areas have podzolic and steppe soils. The southern part of the country is mainly desert.


The original population of Morocco was Berber, and about three-quarters of all present-day Moroccans are of Berber descent. Arabs, who constitute the bulk of the inhabitants of the larger cities, form the second largest ethnic group. Considerable intermarriage among Arabs, Berbers, and the country's small number of black Africans has broken down differences among ethnic groups. Morocco has about 100,000 Europeans, most of them French. The approximately 12,000 Jews stem mainly from families that have inhabited the area for centuries. The population has almost an equal number of urban and rural dwellers.

Population Characteristics

According to the 1982 census, Morocco had 20,224,349 people. The estimated population for 1995 was 28,260,000, giving the country an overall population density of about 63 persons per sq km (about 164 per sq mi).

Political Divisions and Principal Cities

Morocco proper is divided into 35 provinces and 7 urban prefectures; another 4 provinces comprise the disputed territory of Western Sahara. The capital of Morocco is Rabat, with a population (1990 estimate, greater city) of 1,472,000. Other major urban centres, with their 1990 estimated (greater city) populations, are Casablanca (3,210,000), the country's largest city and main seaport; Marrakech (1,517,000) and Fez (1,012,000), both important trade centres; and Tangier (554,000), a seaport on a bay of the Strait of Gibraltar.


Islam is the established state religion of Morocco. Almost the entire population is Sunni Muslim. The monarch is the supreme Muslim authority in the country. About 1 percent of the population is Christian, and less than 0.2 percent is Jewish.


The Berber languages, once dominant throughout Morocco, have declined in importance, and in the early 1990s about 25 percent of the people used Berber as their first language. Many of these people also spoke Arabic, the country's official language, which is the primary language of some 75 percent of the population. Numerous Moroccans also use French and Spanish.


In 1963 schooling became compulsory in Morocco for children between the ages of 7 and 13, but significantly fewer girls than boys attend classes, and less than 40 percent of secondary-school- age Moroccans actually attend secondary school. Arabic is the main language of instruction, and French is also used in secondary schools. In the early 1990s it was estimated that 50 percent of the population was literate. In the late 1980s more than 2.9 million pupils attended primary or pre- primary schools, and more than 1.3 million students were enrolled in secondary and vocational schools. About 240,000 people were enrolled in schools of higher education in Morocco in the late 1980s. Higher education of the traditional type is centred in Fez at Al Qarawiyin University, which was founded in AD 859. Modern higher education is offered at Mohammed V University (1957), at Rabat; Mohammed Ben Abdellah University (1974), at Fez; Cadi Ayyad University (1978), at Marrakech; Hassan II University (1976), at Casablanca; and Mohammed I University (1978), at Oujda. Rabat also has colleges of fine arts, public administration, agriculture, and economics, and the School of Native Arts and Crafts (1921) is in Tétouan.


Morocco has felt the influences of several ancient cultures. Excavations have unearthed elements of the Phoenician, Hellenic, Carthaginian, and Roman civilisations. Christianity spread to this region in Roman times and survived the Arab invasion, but Arabic influences, which began in the 7th century, were to prove the strongest. The Arabs brought to Morocco a written language that is still the primary language of business and culture. The western African influence, seen in dances, spread northward with trade. Among more recent influences, the strongest is that of France. The Moroccan national library, which was founded in 1920, is located at Rabat. Other libraries in the country include the Library of Casablanca and the University library at Fez. Morocco has a number of major museums, one of which, the Archaeological Museum in Tétouan, has collections of Carthaginian, Roman, and Islamic art and artefacts.


Morocco is primarily an agricultural country, although no more than about 20 percent of the land is cultivated. In the early 1990s the gross domestic product was estimated at $28 billion, or about $1005 per person. The estimated budget during the same period included revenues of about $7.5 billion and expenditures of about $7.7 billion.


The principal crops of Morocco are cereals, particularly wheat and barley (3 million metric tons in the early 1990s); potatoes (900,000); tomatoes (900,000); melons (551,000); olives (500,000); grapes (294,000); pulses (163,000); dates (82,000); and sugarcane and sugar beets (3.7 million). Many other fruits and vegetables are also grown. Livestock included about 17 million sheep, 5.5 million goats, and 3.3 million head of cattle.

Forestry and Fishing

Cork is a major forest product of Morocco. Much timber is cut for use as fuel; the total timber harvest in the early 1990s was 2.5 million cu m (88.2 million cu ft) per year. The chief fishing centres are Agadir, Safi, Essaouira, and Casablanca. The annual catch in the early 1990s was some 592,900 metric tons, including pilchard, tuna, mackerel, anchovies, and shellfish.


Morocco is a leading producer of phosphate rock; annual output was about 21.4 million metric tons in the early 1990s. Other minerals produced were coal (526,000 metric tons), iron ore (149,500), lead (95,300), manganese ore (49,400), and zinc (40,100).


Morocco's manufacturing sector is made up mostly of small-scale enterprises. Construction materials, chemicals, textiles, footwear, processed food, wine, refined petroleum, and many other kinds of goods are produced in Morocco. Artisans produce fabrics, leather goods, ceramics, rugs and carpets, and woodwork of high quality. Annual production in the early 1990s included about 1.2 million sq m (about 1.4 million sq yd) of rugs and carpets, 5.8 million metric tons of cement, and 1.1 million tons of phosphoric acid.


More than 90 percent of Morocco's annual production of electricity is generated in thermal plants, and the remainder is produced in hydroelectric facilities. Morocco has an installed electricity-generating capacity of about 2.2 million kilowatts. Annual output of electricity in the late 1980s was about 8.5 billion kilowatt-hours.

Currency and Banking

Morocco's unit of currency is the dirham, consisting of 100 francs (9.651 dirhams equal U.S.$1; 1993). It is issued by the Banque al-Maghrib (1959), the state bank. The country also has several large private banks.

Foreign Trade

Morocco's leading exports are phosphates and phosphoric acid. Other exports include citrus fruit, wheat, fish, and minerals. Annual exports in the early 1990s earned $3.5 billion. Imports, consisting mainly of industrial equipment, food products, manufactured goods, and fuels, were valued at $6.5 billion. The principal trade partners of Morocco are France, Spain, Italy, Germany, the United States, and the United Arab Emirates. Morocco gains much foreign exchange from remittances by Moroccans working abroad and from the expenditures of the large number of tourists who visit the country each year.


Morocco has extensive port facilities, concentrated principally at Casablanca. Other ports include Agadir, Kenitra, Mohammedia, Safi, and Tangier. In the early 1990s the country had some 1893 km (some 1176 mi) of railroad track and 59,198 km (36,786 mi) of roads, some 47 percent of which were hard-surfaced. Morocco had about 669,637 passenger cars during the same period. Domestic and international air service is provided by Royal Air Maroc; several major foreign airlines also serve Morocco.


Radio and television programs are broadcast in several languages in Morocco, and about 5.4 million radios and 1.9 million television receivers are in use in the early 1990s. The country has 12 daily newspapers and numerous periodicals.


Morocco's work force in the mid-1980s included some 7.4 million persons. Approximately 50 percent of the labor force was engaged in agriculture, about 26 percent worked in services, and some 24 percent was employed in manufacturing and other sectors. Only a small percentage of the total work force is organised; the leading trade unions are the Union Marocaine du Travail and the Union Générale des Travailleurs du Maroc.


Morocco is a hereditary monarchy, governed under a constitution of 1972, as amended.


The monarch, who, according to the constitution, must be male, is the head of state of Morocco. He appoints the prime minister and cabinet. He also has the power to call for a reconsideration of legislative measures and to dissolve the legislature. The monarch is commander in chief of the country's armed forces.


Under the constitution of 1972, Morocco has a unicameral legislature called the Chamber of Representatives. Its 306 members serve 6-year terms. Deputies for 206 seats are chosen by direct universal suffrage; deputies for the remaining 100 seats are named by local political and economic groups.

Political Parties

Morocco has a multiparty political system. The major organisations are the Istiqlal, a moderate grouping founded in 1944; the Popular Movement, a conservative organisation established in 1959; the promonarchy National Rally of Independents, founded in 1978; and the Constitutional Union, organised in 1983 and the leading vote-getter in the 1984 parliamentary elections.

Local Government

Morocco's provinces are administered by governors who are appointed by the king and serve at the pleasure of the central government. Each province is divided into cercles, which are subdivided into circonscriptions (constituencies).


The highest tribunal in Morocco is the supreme court, which sits in Rabat. The country also has 15 courts of appeal. Cases involving small sums of money are heard by local tribunals, and more important cases are initiated in regional tribunals. In addition, the country has 14 labour tribunals.

Health and Welfare

Health services are fairly well developed in Morocco's cities, but health conditions in rural areas remain poor. The government provides for social security benefits. The country had some 4826 physicians and more than 24,000 public hospital beds in the late 1980s.


Military service of 18 months is compulsory for males in Morocco. The army numbers about 175,000 men, the air force about 13,500, and the navy about 7000.


The history of the region comprising present-day Morocco has been shaped by the interaction of the original Berber population and the various foreign peoples who successively invaded the country. The first of the foreign invaders well known to history were the Phoenicians, who in the 12th century BC established trading posts on the Mediterranean coast of the region. These colonies were later taken over and extended by the Carthaginians. The conquest of Carthage by Rome, in the 2nd century BC, led to Roman dominance of the Mediterranean coast of Africa. About AD 42 the northern portion of what is now Morocco was incorporated into the Roman Empire as the province of Mauretania Tingitana. In the Germanic invasions that attended the decline of the Roman Empire, the Vandals in 429 occupied Mauretania Tingitana. The Byzantine general Belisarius defeated the Vandals in 533 and established Byzantine rule in parts of the country.

Muslim Conquest

Byzantine rule was ended by the Arabs, who invaded Morocco in 682 in the course of their drive to expand the power of Islam. Except for the Jews, the inhabitants of Morocco, both Christian and pagan, soon accepted the religion of their conquerors. Berber troops were used extensively by the Arabs in their subsequent subjugation of Spain. The first Arab rulers of the whole of Morocco, the Idrisid dynasty, held power from 789 to 926. The Idrisid was succeeded by other dynasties, both Arab and Berber. Among the most notable were the dynasties of the Almoravids, from 1062 to 1147, and the Almohads, from 1147 to 1258. Under the latter, Morocco became the center of an empire that embraced modern-day Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and large areas of Spain and Portugal. The Almohad Empire began to disintegrate after the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212, in which the Spanish defeated the Moroccans. By mid-century its power was gone. A period of disorder and almost incessant civil war between Berbers and Arabs followed. Rulers of various dynasties reigned briefly and ineffectually over parts of the country. Morocco experienced a revival under the Saadians, known as the first Sharifian dynasty (1554- 1660). The reign (1579-1603) of Ahmed I al-Man-sur is regarded as the golden age of Morocco. The country benefited enormously from the influx of nearly a million Moors and Jews who were expelled from Spain after 1492. It was unified and relatively prosperous; its native arts and architecture flourished. The Saadians were succeeded by the second Sharifian dynasty, who have ruled since 1660. This dynasty reached its peak in the reign of Ismail al-Hasani (reigned 1672-1727). Al-Hasani's reign was followed by a long period of disorder, which was punctuated with brief interludes of relative peace and prosperity.

European Intrusion

In 1415 Portugal had captured the port of Ceuta. This intrusion initiated a period of gradual extension of Portuguese and Spanish power over the Moroccan coastal region. The Moroccans inflicted a severe defeat on the Portuguese in 1578, and by the end of the 17th century they had regained control of most of their coastal cities. In the 18th and early 19th centuries pirates from Morocco and other so-called Barbary states of North Africa preyed on the shipping that plied the Mediterranean Sea (see Barbary Coast). Because of the depredations of the Barbary pirates and because Morocco shared control of the Strait of Gibraltar with Spain, the country figured with increasing weight in the diplomacy of the European maritime powers, particularly Spain, Great Britain, and France. Spain invaded Morocco in 1859-60 and acquired Tétouan. In April 1904, in return for receiving a free hand in Egypt from France, Great Britain recognized Morocco as a French sphere of interest. Later that year France and Spain divided Morocco into zones of influence, with Spain receiving the much smaller part of a sublessee of France. Imperial Germany soon disputed these arrangements, and a conference of major powers, including the United States, met in Algeciras, Spain, in January 1906, to conclude an agreement. The resultant Act of Algeciras guaranteed equality of economic rights for every nation in Morocco. In July 1911, the Germans sent a gunboat to the Moroccan port city of Agadir, in a move designed to encourage native resistance to French dominance. This incident provoked French mobilisation and brought Europe to the brink of war, but in later negotiations Germany agreed to a French protectorate over Morocco in return for French territorial concessions elsewhere in Africa. In March 1912 the sultan recognised the protectorate. Later that year the French, under a revision of the 1904 convention with Spain, obtained a larger share of Moroccan territory.

Fight for Independence

The Spanish experienced even greater difficulties in Spanish Morocco. Abd-el-Krim, a leader of Rif tribes, organised a revolt against Spanish rule in 1920. By 1924 he had driven the Spanish forces from most of their Moroccan territory. He then turned upon the French. France and Spain agreed in 1925 to cooperate against Abd-el-Krim. More than 200,000 troops under the French marshal Henri Philippe Pétain were used in the campaign, which ended victoriously in 1926. The country was not fully pacified, however, until the end of 1934. Following Germany's defeat of France in 1940, France's collaborationist Vichy government allowed Morocco to support the German war effort. In November 1942, American troops landed and occupied Morocco. During the rest of World War II, the country was a major Allied supply base. Casablanca was the site of a meeting of the heads of government of the Allies in 1943. In 1944, Moroccan nationalists formed the Istiqlal party, which soon won the support of Sultan Muhammed V and the majority of Arabs. It was opposed by most of the Berber tribes, however. The French rejected the plea by the sultan in 1950 for self-government. The sultan was deposed in August 1953, but in October 1955 the French permitted him to return to his throne.


The French recognised Moroccan independence in March 1956. In April the Spanish government recognised in principle the independence of Spanish Morocco and the unity of the sultanate, although it retained certain cities and territories. Tangier was incorporated into Morocco in October 1956. Ifni was returned to Morocco in January 1969. Sultan Mohammed V assumed the title of king in August 1957. At his death in 1961, the throne passed to his son Hassan II. A royal charter was implemented by Hassan, whereby a constitutional monarchy was established on the approval by referendum of a constitution in December 1962. The nation's first general elections were held in 1963. In June 1965, however, the king temporarily suspended parliament and assumed full executive and legislative power, serving as his own prime minister for two years. Hassan gave strong support to the Arab cause in the 1967 war with Israel and made subsequent attempts to secure Arab unity. Nevertheless, he was deemed too moderate by extremist elements, and attempts were made on his life in 1971 and 1972.

Saharan War

During 1974-75 Morocco exerted much pressure on Spain to relinquish Spanish Sahara. When the Spanish left, in 1976, they ceded the northern two-thirds of the colony to Morocco, while Mauritania received the southern third. This disposal of the phosphate-rich territory was disputed by the Polisario Front, a Saharan nationalist movement, which sought to bring about the establishment of the independent nation of Western Sahara. Although burdened by the ensuing guerrilla warfare, Morocco resolved to continue the fight alone after Mauritania decided to withdraw from the conflict in 1979. Faced with mounting international opposition, King Hassan nevertheless committed additional troops and resources to the effort to protect the phosphate mines and major towns from Polisario harassment. In 1984 Morocco quit the Organization of African Unity to protest its seating of a Polisario delegation. Efforts by the United Nations to mediate the dispute continued throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. Morocco sent troops in 1990 to protect Saudi Arabia against Iraq's troop buildup in Kuwait, but Moroccan forces had no direct role in the Persian Gulf War.

Seville (Spanish Sevilla), city in southern Spain, capital of Andalusia Region and of Seville Province, a port on the Guadalquivir River. The port is accessible to ocean-going ships. Among the city's exports are wine, olives, oranges, and metal ores. Industries include fish canneries, distilleries, and the manufacture of iron, porcelain and earthenware, tobacco, textiles, soap, and furniture. Tourism is important to Seville's economy. Many landmarks in the city date from the Middle Ages, such as the Alcázar, a royal palace built by the Moors in 1181. Traces of early Moorish civilisation are also evident in the small, winding streets, the low, white houses with balconies, the courtyards, and the fountains, as well as in the remains of a wall that once surrounded the city. A vast Gothic cathedral, started in 1402 and finished in 1519, stands on the site of a 12th-century Muslim mosque. The cathedral houses world-renowned paintings by such famous Spanish artists as El Greco, Murillo, and Zurbarán. The Giralda, the cathedral's bell tower, standing more than 91 m (more than 300 ft) high, originally served as the minaret, or calling tower, for the mosque. The University of Seville (1502) is located in the city. The Archivo de los Indios, a large collection of books, manuscripts, and documents on the history and administration of the Spanish Empire in the Americas, has been stored at the Casa Lonja in the city since 1785. Called Hispalis during ancient times, Seville was captured in 45 BC by Julius Caesar. After the 4th century AD, Seville was ruled by the Vandals, the Visigoths, and the Moors. It flourished as a cultural centre under Moorish domination, which lasted from 712 until 1248. It was then conquered by Ferdinand III of Castile and León. The opening of America to Spanish commerce in 1492 proved very profitable for the city as trading developed rapidly between the two continents. By the 17th and 18th centuries, Seville had become the leading centre of Spanish culture. The Spanish-American Exhibition of 1929, an expression of Ibero-American relations, was held in Seville. A world's fair, Expo '92, opened in Seville in April 1992. Population (1991) 659,126.

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