The original population of Morocco was Berber, and about three-quarters of all present-day Moroccans are of at least partial Berber descent. Arabs, who constitute the bulk of the inhabitants of the larger cities, form the second largest ethnic group. Considerable intermarriage among Arabs, Berbers, and the country’s small number of black Africans has broken down differences among ethnic groups. There is also a small French community in Morocco. More than half the population lives in urban areas. The rural population in 2005 was 41 percent of the country’s total.
Berbers were the original, pre-Islamic inhabitants of Morocco. Arab armies marched across northwest Africa in the 7th century ad and arrived at the Atlantic Ocean in 682. They brought the Islamic religion with them. Arab settlement in Morocco came in the next century, when the first Islamic colonies were established, Sijilmasa about 760 and Fès about 790. Indigenous Berbers converted to Islam, and over the centuries much admixture of Arab and Berber took place.
Morocco’s capital is Rabat. Other major urban centers are Casablanca, the country’s largest city and main seaport; Marrakech and Fès, both important trade centers; and Tangier, a seaport on a bay of the Strait of Gibraltar. The government has encouraged Moroccans to settle in Western Sahara, where the largest city is El Aaiún. "Morocco" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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