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Introduction: In 788, about a century after the Arab conquest of North Africa, a series of Moroccan Muslim dynasties began to rule in Morocco. In the 16th century, the Sa'adi monarchy, particularly under Ahmad AL-MANSUR (1578-1603), repelled foreign invaders and inaugurated a golden age. The Alaouite dynasty, to which the current Moroccan royal family belongs, dates from the 17th century. In 1860, Spain occupied northern Morocco and ushered in a half century of trade rivalry among European powers that saw Morocco's sovereignty steadily erode; in 1912, the French imposed a protectorate over the country. A protracted independence struggle with France ended...

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History: Morocco's strategic location has shaped its history. Beginning with the Phoenicians, many foreigners were drawn to this area. Romans, Visigoths, Vandals and Byzantine Greeks ruled successively. Arab forces began occupying Morocco in the 7th century A.D., bringing their civilization and Islam. The Alaouite dynasty, which has ruled Morocco since 1649, claims descent from the Prophet Muhammad.

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International Relations: The EU is Morocco's main Western partner. The US granted Morocco major non-Nato ally status in June 2004.

Morocco signed an Association Agreement with the EU in March 2000 and was one of the first waves of countries to agree a European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plan with the EU in December 2004. Under the auspices of these arrangements, Morocco and the EU participate in regular dialogue about a range of issues including economic reform, democracy and human rights. The former Monarch, King Hassan II consistently used his influence in support of Arab moderates in the Arab/Israel dispute. King Mohammed VI chairs meetings ...

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Overview: Morocco’s transportation system is in need of renewal. Accordingly, in December 2005 Morocco obtained a loan of US$286 million from the African Development Bank to finance wide-ranging institutional reforms of the transport sector. The reforms, which entail physical improvements to the nation’s roads, ports, airports, and railroads, are designed to increase safety and reduce costs ...

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Area Handbook Series
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