Moroccan people

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This article is about the people of Morocco. For a specific analysis of the population of Morocco, see Demographics of Morocco.
Moroccan people
Total population
~ 38M
Regions with significant populations
 Morocco 33,403,000[1]
 France 1,514,000[2][3][4]
 Israel 1,000,000[5]
 Spain 792,158[6]
 Italy 524,775[7]
 Belgium 500,000[8]
 Netherlands 374,996[9]
 Germany 140,000[10]
 Canada 100,000[11]
 United Arab Emirates 100,000[12]
 United States 82,073[13]
 United Kingdom 70,000[14]
 Algeria 63,000[15]
 Saudi Arabia 60,000[16]
 Libya 50,000[17]
 Sweden 40,000
 Norway 30 000
 Denmark 26,000
 Egypt 18,000
 Qatar 9,000[18]
  Switzerland 7,270
Predominantly Moroccan Arabic, Berber dialects
Predominantly Islam (Sunni, Nondenominational Muslims,[19] Sufi); minority Judaism, Christianity[20][21]

The Moroccan people (Arabic: المغاربة al-Magharibah, Berber: ⵉⵎⵖⵕⴰⴱⵉⵢⵏ Imɣṛabiyen) are a people that share a common Moroccan culture and ancestry.

In addition to the 33 million Moroccans in Morocco, there are large migrant populations of Moroccan origins in France, Belgium, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and smaller groups in United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Arabian Peninsula and in other Arab states.

Berber genetic identity[edit]

Moroccans primarily descend from Berbers, Arabized Berbers and Haratin/Gnawa, like other neighboring Maghrebans. As such, Berbers are descendants of the prehistoric populations of Morocco via the Iberomaurusians and Capsians.

The Afroasiatic family may have originated in the Mesolithic period, perhaps in the context of the Capsian culture.[22][23] By 5000 BC, the populations of Morocco were an amalgamation of Ibero-Maurisian and a minority of Capsian stock blended with a more recent intrusion associated with the Neolithic revolution.[24] Out of these populations, the proto-Berber tribes formed during the late Paleolithic era.[25]

Physical anthropology of Moroccans[edit]

Moroccans were identified genetically and anthropologically as Berbers, The anthropologists identify Moroccans as within the Mediterranean race, but declared that successive migrations from Sub-Saharan Africa had diluted their race to the point that they were no longer pure Mediterranean like Southern European, especially those who are living near the Algerian frontiers and Western Sahara, who are mostly identified as Sahrawis or Haratins and Gnawa.[26]

The skin of some Moroccans darkens readily under the influence of sunlight, and many of them become quite dark in the exposed parts of the body, which is typically a Mediterranean characteristic. Riffians and other Berbers of Atlas mountains of Morocco show a high percentage of blondism, higher than the other Berber groups in North Africa and some parts in Southern Europe, with about two thirds of Riffians being pinkish-white skinned with mixed or light eyes (reaching or 80% in central Rif); the rest are of Mediterranean (mainly of classic Mediterranean or Berberid type, but many Moroccan Berbers show some blending with Classic Mediterraneans).[27]

Nordics are ancient in Northern Africa as the Egyptian monuments of the Middle Kingdom (circa 2000 B.C.), and perhaps older. They survive today mostly in the mountains of the Rif, in Atlas Mountains of Morocco and the Canary Islands.[28] Moroccans in general are the most Lighted haired people in Africa . blondism is more common in the Rif, and less common in the Middle Atlas and the Atlantic seacoast; >45% of Berber Moroccan population has blond or light brown hair, in the rest of Morocco is just less than 25% of the Population are blond.[27] Moroccan Berbers of the Rif Mountains and Middle Atlas mayhave the highest percentages of Light Eyes in Continental Africa. In the Rif, dark eyes are found among 30% of the men, mixed eyes 45%, and light eyes in 25%; and the mixed eyes have green or blue elements rather than gray

First settlers[edit]

  Iberomaurusian culture

The first anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens) in North Africa are the makers of the Aterian, a Middle Stone Age (or Middle Palaeolithic) stone tool culture. The earliest Aterian lithic assemblages date to around 145,000 years ago, and were discovered at the site of Ifri n'Ammar in Morocco. This industry was followed by the Iberomaurusian culture, a backed bladelet industry found throughout the Maghreb. The industry was originally described in 1909 at the site of Abri Mouillah. Other names for this Cro-Magnon-associated culture include Mouillian and Oranian. The Iberomaurusian makers or Mechta-Afalou people were succeeded by the Capsians. The Capsian culture is often thought to have arrived in Africa from the Near East, although it is also suggested that the Iberomaurusians may have been the progenitors of the Capsians.

Y-DNA of Arabs[edit]

J (L222.2)

J (L222.2)[edit]

Arabs of Morocco are a 20% J (L222.2), a accounts for the majority of (L147.1) in Saudi Arabia, Sudan & a primary element in North Africa. Seems to be an exclusively Adnani marker.[29]

E1b1b (V22)[edit]

E1b1b (M81), E1b1b (V22) and E1b1b (V65)

Arabs of Morocco are a 40% E1b1b (V22), another lineage to expand out of Egypt. Found in various ethnic groups with a peaking frequency in Sudan & Egypt.[30]

E1b1b (V65)[edit]

Arabs of Morocco are a 30% E1b1b (V65), a marker of the Ancient Libyan tribes, marker of medieval expansion into Morocco joining Banu Hilal tribes once they reached Libya.[30]

E1b1b (M81)[edit]

Arabs of Morocco are a 30% E1b1b (M81), a Proto-Berber marker E1b1b1b1a1 (M107) A reduced Proto-Berber lineage in Mali.[31]

The map shows that the Arabs of Morocco are close Mozabites, Egyptians and Bedouins.


Between the Nile and the Red Sea were living Arab tribes expelled of Arabia for their turbulence, Banu Hilal and Sulaym, whose presence was very painful for farmers in the Nile Valley because the Arabs often came plunder.[32]

According to Ibn Khaldun, whole tribes set off with women, children, ancestors, animals and camping equipment.[32]

Population Language n E1b1a E1b1b G I  J L N R1a R1b T Reference
Arabs (Morocco) AA (Semitic) 49 75.5 0.0 20.4 0.0 3.8 Semino2004[33]
Berbers (Marrakesh) AA (Berber) 29 92.9 Semino et al. 2000[34]
Berbers (Middle Atlas) AA (Berber) 69 87.1 Cruciani et al. 2004[35]
Shilha (Southern Morocco) AA (Berber) 40 2.5 85 0 2.5 0 0 0 Bosch et al. 2001[36]
Berbers (North central Morocco) AA (Berber) 40 0 93.8 0 0 0 0 0 Alvarez et al. 2009[37]
Riffians (North Morocco) AA (Berber) 54 0 95.9 0 0 0 0 0 Dugoujon et al. (2005)[38]
Beni Snassen (Northern Morocco) AA (Berber) & (Semitic) 67 0 95.1 0 0 0 0 0 Dugoujon et al. (2005)[38]

Physical differences between Berbers and Arabs of Morocco[edit]

It is easier to tell a Berber from an Arab by dress and behavior than by external physical characteristics, but there are statistical differences, particularly between the tribal Arabs and the mountain Berbers.

The highest frequencies of L-mtDNA in Moroccan cities is reported for the Moroccan Arabs of the surrounding area of El Jadida at 46%. Harich et al 2010

Frequencies (> 1%) of L-mtDNA

Country Ethnic Group Number tested Reference L-mtDNA%
Morocco Moroccan (Arabs) 81 Harich et al. (2010) 46%
Morocco Moroccan Arabs 56 Turchi et al. (2009) 30.00%

A small minority of the population is identified as Haratin and Gnawa, dark-skinned sedentary agriculturalists from the southern and eastern oases that speak either Berber or Moroccan Arabic.

Berber groups[edit]


Main article: Culture of Morocco
A Moroccan kaftan

Through Moroccan history, the country had many cultural influences (Europe, Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa). The culture of Morocco shares similar traits with those of neighboring countries, particularly Algeria and Tunisia and to a certain extent Spain.

Morocco influenced modern day Europe, in several fields, from architecture to agriculture, and the introduction of Moroccan numbers, widely used now in the world.

Each region possesses its own uniqueness, contributing to the national culture. Morocco has set among its top priorities the protection of its diversity and the preservation of its cultural heritage.

The traditional dress for men and women is called djellaba, a long, loose, hooded garment with full sleeves. For special occasions, men also wear a red cap called a bernousse, more commonly known as a fez. Women wear kaftans decorated with ornaments. Nearly all men, and most women, wear balgha (بلغه), which are soft leather slippers with no heel, often dyed yellow. Women also wear high-heeled sandals, often with silver or gold tinsel.

Moroccan style is a new trend in decoration which takes its roots from Moorish architecture; it has been made popular by the vogue of riad renovation in Marrakech. Dar is the name given to one of the most common types of domestic structures in Morocco; it is a home found in a medina, or walled urban area of a city. Most Moroccan homes traditionally adhere to the Dar al-Islam, a series of tenets on Islamic domestic life. Dar exteriors are typically devoid of ornamentation and windows, except occasional small openings in secondary quarters, such as stairways and service areas. These piercings provide light and ventilation.

Moroccan cuisine primarily consists of a blend of Berber, Moorish and Arab influences. It is known for dishes like couscous and pastilla, among others. Spices such as cinnamon are also used in Moroccan cooking. Sweets like halwa are popular, as well as other confections. Cuisines from neighbouring areas have also influenced the country's culinary traditions.

Additionally, Moroccan craftsmanship has a rich tradition of jewellery-making, pottery, leather-work and woodwork.

The music of Morocco ranges and differs according to the various areas of the country. Moroccan music has a variety of styles from complex sophisticated orchestral music to simple music involving only voice and drums. There are three varieties of Berber folk music: village and ritual music, and the music performed by professional musicians. Chaabi (الشعبي) is a music consisting of numerous varieties which descend from the multifarious forms of Moroccan folk music. Chaabi was originally performed in markets, but is now found at any celebration or meeting. Gnawa is a form of music that is mystical. It was gradually brought to Morocco by the Gnawa and later became part of the Moroccan tradition. Sufi brotherhoods (tarikas) are common in Morocco, and music is an integral part of their spiritual tradition. This music is an attempt at reaching a trance state which inspires mystical ecstasy.


Main article: Languages of Morocco
Linguistic map of Morocco

Morocco's official languages are Classical Arabic, and since July 2011, also Amazigh. The latter is a standardized version of the Berber languages.

The majority of the population natively speaks Moroccan-Arabic. More than 12 million Moroccans speak Berber — which exists in Morocco in three different dialects (Riff, Shilha, and Central Atlas Tamazight) — either as a first language or bilingually with Moroccan Arabic.

Hassaniya Arabic is spoken in the southern part of the country. Morocco has recently included the protection of Hassaniya in the constitution as part of the July 2011 reforms.

French is taught universally and still serves as Morocco's primary language of commerce and economics; it is also widely used in education, sciences, government and most education fields.

Spanish is also spoken by some in the northern part of the country as a foreign language. Meanwhile, English is increasingly becoming more popular among the educated, particularly in the science fields.

Ethnic group[edit]

Ethnic group of Morocco

The main ethnic groups are:[39][40][41][42]

See also[edit]


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  20. ^ Morocco: General situation of Muslims who converted to Christianity, and specifically those who converted to Catholicism; their treatment by Islamists and the authorities, including state protection (2008-2011)
  21. ^ The Encyclopedia of Christianity, Volume 3
  22. ^ Abdallah Laroui, The History of the Maghrib (Paris 1970; Princeton 1977) at 17, 60 (re S.W.Asians, referencing the earlier work of Gsell).
  23. ^ Camps, Gabriel (1996), Les Berbères, Edisud, pp. 11–14, 65 
  24. ^ J. Desanges, "The proto-Berbers" 236-245, at 237, in General History of Africa, v.II Ancient Civilizations of Africa (UNESCO 1990).
  25. ^ Mário Curtis Giordani, História da África. Anterior aos descobrimentos (Petrópolis, Brasil: Editora Vozes 1985) at 42-43, 77-78. Giordani references Bousquet, Les Berbères (Paris 1961).
  26. ^ Mordechai Nisan. Minorities in the Middle East: A History of Struggle and Self-Expression. McFarland, 2002. P. 54.
  27. ^ a b Coon, Carleton Stevens (1939). "The Mediterranean World". The Races of Europe. New York: The Macmillan Company. pp. 480–482. OCLC 575541610. Retrieved 16 June 2013. 
  28. ^ Coon, Carleton Stevens (1939). "The Mediterranean World". The Races of Europe. New York: The Macmillan Company. p. Plate 30. OCLC 575541610. Retrieved 16 June 2013. A Riffian from the coastal village of Ajdir, in the tribe of Beni Uriaghel. In pigment, in measurements, and morphologically this Riffian is as perfect a Nordic as one could find in northern Europe. Nordics are ancient in Northern Africa as the Egyptian monuments of the Middle Kingdom, and perhaps older. They survive today mostly in the mountains of the Rif, Atlas mountains, Soussi of Souss valley, the Canary Islands and the Chleuhs. 
  29. ^ "The Genetic Atlas". Retrieved 2015-10-01. 
  30. ^ a b "The Genetic Atlas - E1b1b Meditid mutative history". Retrieved 2015-10-01. 
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  33. ^ Semino, O; Magri, C; Benuzzi, G; Lin, AA; Al-Zahery, N; Battaglia, V; MacCioni, L; Triantaphyllidis, C; et al. (2004). "Origin, diffusion, and differentiation of Y-chromosome haplogroups E and J: inferences on the neolithization of Europe and later migratory events in the Mediterranean area". American Journal of Human Genetics 74 (5): 1023–34. doi:10.1086/386295. PMC 1181965. PMID 15069642. 
  34. ^ Semino, O.; Passarino, G; Oefner, PJ; Lin, AA; Arbuzova, S; Beckman, LE; De Benedictis, G; Francalacci, P; Kouvatsi, A (2000). "The Genetic Legacy of Paleolithic Homo sapiens sapiens in Extant Europeans: A Y Chromosome Perspective". Science 290 (5494): 1155–9. doi:10.1126/science.290.5494.1155. PMID 11073453. 
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  36. ^ "Bosch et al. 2001" (PDF). 
  37. ^ Alvarez, Luis; Santos, Cristina; Montiel, Rafael; Caeiro, Blazquez; Baali, Abdellatif; Dugoujon, Jean-Michel; Aluja, Maria Pilar (2009). "Y-chromosome variation in South Iberia: Insights into the North African contribution". American Journal of Human Biology 21 (3): 407–409. doi:10.1002/ajhb.20888. PMID 19213004. 
  38. ^ a b The Berbers: Linguistic and genetic diversity
  39. ^ Morocco's Berbers Battle to Keep From Losing Their Culture / Arab minority forces majority to abandon native language. Peter Prengaman, Chronicle Foreign Service.March 16, 2001
  40. ^
  41. ^ Teens in Morocco,Sandy Donovan,Compass point books,Minneapolis,United States,2008,p.42
  42. ^