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المغاربة (al-Maġāriba)
مغربيون (Maġribiyyūn)
Map of the Moroccan Diaspora in the World.svg
Map of the Moroccan diaspora in the world
Total population
c. 45 million
Regions with significant populations
Morocco Morocco
 United States113,544[17]
 United Arab Emirates100,000[19]
 United Kingdom70,000[20]
 Saudi Arabia60,000[22]
 South Africa2,100
 Ivory Coast1,800
Majority: Sunni Islam
Minority: Shia Islam, Judaism, Christianity[27][28][29][30]
Related ethnic groups
Other Arabs and Maghrebis

Moroccans (Arabic: المغاربة, romanizedal-Maġāriba) are the citizens and nationals of the Kingdom of Morocco. The country's population is predominantly composed of Arabs, Arabized Berbers, and Berbers. The term also applies more broadly to any people who are of Moroccan descent, sharing a common culture and identity, as well as those who natively speak Moroccan Arabic or other Moroccan languages.[31][32][33][34]

In addition to the approximately 37 million residents of Morocco, there is a large Moroccan diaspora as part of the wider Arab diaspora. Considerable Moroccan populations can be found in France, Spain, Belgium, Italy, and the Netherlands; with smaller notable concentrations in other Arab states as well as Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada.


  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. It was originally described in 1909 at the site of Abri Mouillah. Other names for this Cro-Magnon-associated culture include Mouillian and Oranian. The Epipaleolithic Iberomaurusian makers were centred in prehistoric sites, such as Taforalt and Mechta-Afalou. They 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. Around 5000 BC, the populations of North Africa were primarily descended from the makers of the Iberomaurusian and Capsian cultures, with a more recent intrusion associated with the Neolithic revolution.

Ethnic groups[edit]

Moroccans are primarily of Arab and Berber origin[31][32][33][35] as in other neighbouring countries in the Maghreb region. Today, Moroccans are predominantly Arab and Berber (Amazigh) alongside other minority ethnic backgrounds from across the region.[36] Ethnic identity is strongly entwined with linguistic identity, meaning that genetic ancestry (or perceived ancestry) is only a secondary determiner of identity.[37] Socially, there are two contrasting groups of Moroccans: those living in the cities and those in the rural areas. Among the rural, several classes have formed such as landowners, peasants, and tenant farmers. Moroccans live mainly in the north and west portions of Morocco. However, they prefer living in the more fertile regions near the Mediterranean Sea. 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.[38] Out of these populations, the proto-Berber tribes formed during the late Paleolithic era.[39]

The Berber groups include the Riffians, Shilha and Zayanes, a small minority of the population is identified as Haratin and Gnawa, These are sedentary agriculturalists of non-Arab and non-Berber origin, who inhabit the southern and eastern oases and speak either Berber or Arabic.

Between the Nile and the Red Sea were living Arab tribes expelled from Arabia for their turbulence, Banu Hilal and Banu Sulaym, who often plundered farming areas in the Nile Valley.[40] According to Ibn Khaldun, whole tribes set off with women, children, ancestors, animals and camping equipment.[40] These tribes, who arrived in the region of Morocco around the 12th-13th centuries, contributed to a more extensive "Arabization" of Morocco over time, especially beyond the major urban centres and the northern regions which were the main sites of Arabization up to that point.[41]

Genetic composition[edit]

Population Language n E1b1a E1b1b G I J L N R1a R1b T Reference
Arabs (Morocco) AA (Semitic) 49 72.7 0.0 20.4 0 0 Semino 2004[42]
Berbers (Marrakesh) AA (Berber) 29 92.9 Semino et al. 2000[43]
Berbers (Middle Atlas) AA (Berber) 69 87.1 5.8 Cruciani et al. 2004[44]
Berbers (Southern Morocco) AA (Berber) 62 0 98.5 0 10.0 0 0 0 Bosch et al. 2001[45]
Berbers (North central Morocco) AA (Berber) 40 0 93.8 0 11.1 0 0 0 Bosch et al. 2001[45]
Riffians (North Morocco) AA (Berber) 54 0 95.9 0 0 0 0 Dugoujon et al. 2005[46]


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.[47]

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

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). These 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. 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 Arab, Berber, and Andalusi 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 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.


Linguistic map of Morocco

Morocco's official languages are Standard Arabic and Standard Berber.[48]

The majority of the population speaks Moroccan Arabic, spoken by 92.2% of the population, 34.1 million people.[49] 9.6 million Moroccans speak Berber varieties,[50] either as a first language or bilingually with Arabic. Three different Berber dialects are spoken: Tarifit, Shilha, and Central Atlas Tamazight.

Hassaniya Arabic is spoken in the southern part of the country, spoken by over 200,000 people.[51] 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 used in education, sciences, government and most education fields.

Spanish is also spoken in the northern and southern parts of the country as a secondary foreign language after French. Meanwhile, English is increasingly becoming more popular among the educated, particularly in the science fields.

See also[edit]


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