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A Brief History

Morocco, which is slightly larger than California, is the oldest kingdom in the Muslim world and the peaceful home to Arab-Berbers, Jews, and Christians. In fact, Morocco possesses the only Jewish museum in any Arab country. The progressive and moderate King, Mohammed VI, who succeeded to the throne in July, 1999, is a direct descendant of the Prophet Mohammed, the founder of the Islamic religion. Arabic is the countryís official language, and French is spoken for business and diplomacy. About one third of all Moroccans speak one of the Berber dialects as well as Arabic. English is taught in all public schools beginning in the tenth grade.

Recognizing the fledgling United States in 1777 and establishing formal relations in 1787, Morocco has enjoyed a long and friendly relationship with the United States and maintains close ties to Europe. Morocco, a member of the United Nations and the Arab League, is heavily involved in African diplomacy, consistently contributing to UN peacekeeping efforts in Africa and the Middle East, encouraging Israeli-Palestinian relations. Morocco was among the first of the to denounce the 9/11 attacks on the United States and support America in the war on terrorism. In June, 2004, The United States and Morocco signed a bilateral Free Trade Agreement, displaying the mutual respect and friendliness that has existed between the two countries for over 200 years.

Since the time of the Phoenicians, foreigners have been attracted to Morocco. Later, Carthaginians, Romans, German Vandals, Visigoths, and Byzantine Greeks all settled the area. Muslim Arabs arrived in the country in the seventh century. As a result, Morocco is rich in history with Roman ruins and monuments built during Muslim dynasties.  In 1912, Morocco became a French Protectorate after the Treaty of Fes was signed; with this action, the sultan became a figurehead. On March 2, 1956, the French Protectorate officially ended. In 1962 the first democratic constitution was formed, and in 1963 the first parliamentary elections were held. Since King Mohammed inherited the throne after his fatherís death, he has instituted reform and the country has begun to prosper.

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