January 13, 2011

Our Alkebulan Journey: Morocco

Originally Posted: 1/14/2008

Villagers, my blog is dedicated to providing information that is uplifting for people of African descent. However, many of us here in America know very little about the land of our ancestors. I promised to share some basic information on all 49 African countries. Let's all learn some things together. If you have insights or experiences or knowledge to share on this journey ... please do so!



Our first country is Morocco.

The Kingdom of Morocco is a country of 386,000 square miles in northwest Africa. It has a long coastline on the Atlantic Ocean that reaches past the Strait of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean Sea. It borders Algeria to the east, though the Algerian border is closed, Western Sahara to the south and Mauritania, and the Atlantic Ocean to its north and west. Morocco claims ownership of Western Sahara and has administered most of the territory since 1975. The status of Western Sahara is disputed, pending a United Nations referendum.

The full Arabic name of the country translates to The Western Kingdom. Al-Maghreb (meaning The West) is commonly used in Arabic. The name Morocco in most other languages originates from the name of the former capital, Marrakech (meaning "Country of God" in the Berber language).

Morocco became a French protectorate by the signing of the Treaty of Fez on March 30, 1912. It remained a Kingdom until it achieved independence in 1956. It then recovered Tangier, formerly an international city. The northern area of Morocco was under a Spanish protectorate concurrently.

The relatively new capital of Morocco is Rabat. The official language is Arabic. The official currency is the Morocco Dirhams (1 Dirham = $0.13 US as of 1/15/2008). You can learn more from the Morocco Fact Sheet.

I've never been to Africa, however I was pleased to learn that Morocco does not require visas for citizens of the United States. A valid passport is sufficient for a three-month stay. It turns out that Morocco was the first nation to recognize the fledging United States in 1777 and has the oldest non-broken friendship treaty with the country, the Moroccan-American Treaty of Friendship, which has been in effect since 1783. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were the American signatories. The United States legation (consulate) in Tangier, is the first property the U.S. owned abroad. It now houses the Tangier American Legation Museum. Morocco was granted Major Non-NATO ally status in June 2004 and signed with the United States and the European Union free trade agreements.

Well Villagers, I need some feedback. There are 48 more countries in Alkebulan to go. What can I add, delete or change in future posts to make this more useful for you? In the meantime, what say u about Morocco?

17 comments:

msladydeborah said...

I learned quite a bit about Morocco thanks to your efforts. However I am a history junkie of sorts.
You put together a nice mix of information.

Villager said...

Lady D - Asante sana. In doing the research I realized how little I know about Africa (in general) or Morocco (in particular).

One of the things I didn't talk about was the prominence of snake charmers in Morocco. I'm not a big fan of snakes!

msladydeborah said...

I am not either! So if you left that aspect of their culture out~I am not upset at all!

Debo Blue said...

I like the article and thanks for including the links to more in-depth sites.

Villager said...

Debo - Thanks for the feedback. Africa is such a diverse continent. I enjoyed learning about Morocco...

Mayogi said...

Hi there!

If you want to know more about daily life in the Spanish speaking north of Morocco from a mother's point of view, check out my blog: Life by the Mediterranean It might not always be so full of facts but I try to post photos and stories about life around these parts. And as soon as I'm done with my exams I'll start to travel more so you can get to know different parts of this beautiful country.

Villager said...

Mayogi - Thanks for sharing the link to your blog. I hope that many of our villagers will take you up on your offer.

Do you see very many visitors (tourists?) from America in Morocco? More specifically, do you see many African Americans visiting Morocco?

Regina said...

Hey Villager,
Awesome job and thanks for the links, I plan to do some more looking! One thing you may want to add is a picture of Moroccon people. That would be great to see.
All in all Kudos to you on helping to educate the people!

Blessings!

Villager said...

Regina - Thanx for the feedback. I did have some photos that included Morocco citizens dancing, at outdoor shops, doing the snake-charming thing ... but, then I realized that I didn't know if the photos of people were typical or not. For example, if you had to choose a photo of an 'American' ... what photo would you choose? Anyhow, I appreciate the feedback and I will look to include photos of people in future journeys we take on the African continent.

mumafrica said...

Hi i love this site as i love Africa. I was born in Uganda and grew up in Nigeria. Later i returned to travel overland extensivley for a year, so i will join in with info as much as i can. I now live in Marrakech and have a light hearted blog called The Good Life in Morocco. Please could you put a link on your site to it www.marrakechemma.blogspot.com and also have a look at it for an idea on this vibrant place. Morocco has such great energy and the climate and people are so warm. The country is also so diverse and there is so much to see and do. All get over for a trip, flights are getting cheaper! we are doing up an ancient riad in the old medina (walled city)we will eventually open an english speaking guesthouse, Riad Zamzam but are not yet there. Probably another 3 months until the website is finished, but its been a real adventure.

Woozie said...

I don't know much about Africa, aside from the Roman, Ottoman, and various Islamic Empires in Saharan Africa.

And WWII in northern Africa is pretty fascinating stuff, too.

Villager said...

Woozie - You appear to know much more about Africa than I do. I'm hopeful to use this Alkebulan journey to educate myself on aspects of African geography and culture that I simply didn't know before. It will be interesting to see if any of the aspects of World War II or the various empires you mention come up in the future countries that we study.

Did you learn anything interesting about Morocco this week?

Villager said...

MumAfrica - I did add link to your blog into the original post for posterity. Thank you very much for sharing your enthusiasm for Morocco with us. I hope we see your village voice often ... and good luck on your upcoming exams!

dnA said...

V-

I've been to Casablanca, and I gotta say it's one of my favorite places. It's laid back, despite what people say about Muslim countries I saw women jogging along the beach.

Part of my enjoyment may have had to do with the fact that I'm light enough to pass as Moroccan, but I also love the culture and their particular brand of double consciousness: French at work and Arabic in the street. The food is good, the tea is delicious and the people are friendly.

Villager said...

dNa - I entirely forgot about Play It Again Sam and the Casablanca movie.

Thanx for sharing your memories of the country. This Alkebulan Journey is going to be fun and informative...

Aadil said...

Morocco's economy is fast growing, due to several factors. Morocco has a skilled labor force, and more and more people with high education, since Moroccan schools and universities are of good quality. Moroccans are highly skilled in languages, and most young Moroccans know 2 or 3 languages.Foreign investments in Morocco property, as labor-intensive products here can be made far cheaper in any other place close to Western Europe.

Villager said...

Aadil - Asante sana for sharing the additional information and insights into Morocco. You remind me that I need to post a new entry on a new country very soon (smile)! Are you currently in the United States? Or do you currently live in Morocco?