Officially, Morocco is known as the Kingdom of Morocco. The basis of the name “Morocco” is Marrakesh, which is its capital according to the Almohad Caliphate and the Almoravid dynasty. The origin of the name Marrakesh is unclear and is still disputed. Most likely the name originates from the Berber words “amur” and “akush”, which translate to “Land of God.” In the Turkish language, Morocco is known as “Fas” which is a name that originates from its prehistoric capital which was called Fes. In other parts of the Islamic nations until the middle of the 20th century, Morocco’s common name in Middle Eastern Arabic and Egypt literary works was Marrakesh.
Morocco is a sovereign state in the Maghreb region in the northern part of the African continent. On the world map, Morocco is between the latitudes 27° and 36° north, and the longitudes 1° and 14° west. Including the western parts of the Sahara Desert, which Morocco has claimed as its Southern Provinces, then the coordinates change to latitudes 21° and 36° north and by longitudes 1° and 17° west. The Ras Nouadhibou peninsula is a little bit south of 21° and 17°.
To the north, Morocco is bordered by Spain. The border between these two states is the Strait of Gibraltar and three minor exclaves that are under Spanish control, Melilla, Ceuta, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera. Algeria borders Morocco to the east (a border that has been closed since 1994), while the Western Sahara is to the south. However, since Morocco claimed the Western Sahara as one of its provinces, something which has been a source of conflict, its actual southern border is with Mauritania.
Morocco is a truly unique nation. The nation’s geography stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the hilly terrain, and then to the Sahara. Other borders are the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Morocco is among the only three nations in the world to have the coastlines on the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, with Spain and France make up the other two countries.
Most of the country is mountainous. A good example of the mountainous nature is the Atlas Mountains which are mainly in the middle and southern part of Morocco. To the north, there are the Rif Mountains. Both of these ranges are occupied mostly by the Berber people. The country is 57th in the global ranking of size at 172,414 square miles.
Morocco’s constitution has provisions that allow for the presence of a monarchy together with an autonomous jury and parliament. Following the 2011 constitutional modifications, the King of Morocco became less powerful and more honorific, while the powers of the office of the prime minister were enlarged. The king is the secular political leader and the “Commander of the Faithful”. The monarch also oversees the Council of Ministers and appoints the prime minister from the party with the most parliamentary seats. The country is divided into 12 regions subdivided into 62 provinces and 13 prefectures.
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