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A map of MoroccoA map of Morocco Morocco is separated from Europe by the Strait of Gibraltar, a strip of water just over 14 kilometres (9 miles) wide. Much of the land is made up of rugged hills and mountains. The Atlas Mountains run across the middle of the country: some peaks rise more than 4000 metres (13,000 feet) and are topped by snow in winter. To the north, plains stretch all the way to the coast. South of the mountains, dry valleys reach into the Sahara Desert. These southern regions have arid climate; elsewhere, the climate is hot in summer and warm in winter. Morocco is ruled by a monarch and an elected parliament. The king decides on military and foreign policies; he can also make laws called dahirs.

A map of MoroccoA map of Morocco
People in Jemaa el Fnaa, MarrakechPeople in Jemaa el Fnaa, Marrakech


Nearly all Moroccans are descended from the Berber people—the region’s first settlers—as well as from Arabs who arrived later. Moroccans speak a form of Arabic called Darija, similar to the dialect spoken in Algeria and Tunisia. Most people live north of the Atlas Mountains, where the climate is warm and sunny, though not too hot.

Morocco lies in the Maghreb region of northwestern Africa. It is often referred to individually as Al-Maghrib. The name, from the Arabic word for "west", refers to the country's position at the western edge of the Arab Empire, conquered in the 7th century AD.

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