Morocco (in Arabic, Al Mamlakah al Maghribiyah), hereditary monarchy, bordered on the north by the Mediterranean Sea, on the east and south-east by Algeria, on the south by Western Sahara, and on the west by the Atlantic Ocean. The south-eastern boundary, in the Sahara Desert, 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 453,730 sq km (175,186 sq mi). Since 1979, Morocco has also occupied the adjacent region known as Western Sahara (formerly Spanish Sahara). Rabat is the capital of Morocco. Morocco population : 35 740 000. Capital : Casablanca. Government : Kingdom of Morocco
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 Toubkal (4,165 m/13,665 ft), in the Grand Atlas range. Elevations in Er Rif attain heights of about 2,440 m (8,000 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 coast, 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. Towards the interior, winters are colder and summers warmer. Thus, in Fès the mean temperature is 10° C (50° F) in January and 26.9° C (80.5° F) in August.
At high altitudes temperatures of below -17.8° C (0° F) are not uncommon, and mountain peaks are covered with snow for most of the year. Rain falls mainly during the winter months. Precipitation is heaviest in the north-west and lightest in the east and south. The average annual precipitation is about 955 mm (37y 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. © "Morocco" © Emmanuel Buchot and Encarta
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