Yes, Morocco is in Africa, precisely in the extreme north-west of the continent. Its north-west is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean and its south-east by Algeria and Mauritania. Ceuta and Melilla are two Spanish enclaves sitting on the northern shores of Morocco’s Mediterranean coast, and they are considered a part of the European Union.
Geographically, is Morocco in Africa or in Europe?
Geographically speaking, Morocco is undoubtedly part of Africa; it is located in the continent’s northwest corner. With that being said, the country has two land borders with Spain since Ceuta and Melilla are two enclaves (a small portion of Spain territories entirely surrounded by the broader Moroccan region) located on the northern shores of Morocco; thus, the country has borders with Europe. Even then, Morocco’s land borders with Algeria and Mauritania are still much more extensive than its land borders with Spain.
So however you look at it, even though some Moroccan cities are closer to the European continent than the rest of the African continent, like Tangier, which is 15km away from Spain while being 337km away from Algeria. Morocco is geographically in and part of Africa.
Why do some people believe Morocco is not African?
Looking back to the past, we could see many historical events that led Europeans to immigrate to Morocco. Like the European slaves brought to Africa’s “Barbary Coast” states, the Spanish expulsion of the Jews resulted in 350,000 of them in Morocco, the French and Spanish protectorate that made Morocco home to half a million European…etc. So even if the country is predominately Arab and Muslim, a significant portion of Morocco people are descendants of Europeans and ex-slaves brought to Africa from Europe.
Another reason is some people have a psychological impression or feeling of being ‘in Africa,’ somehow tends to mean being ‘black.’
Even when I’m asked by some people that I recently met online “where Morocco is located?” and I answer them by “it’s in the north of Africa,” they immediately think that I’m black, but this is just misinformation about people’s ethnicity.
Geography of Morocco
Morocco borders both the Mediterranean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean. The northernmost point of the country is only 13 kilometers away from Spain. The two countries are divided by a narrow strait known as the Strait of Gibraltar.
With an area of 172,414 square miles (excluding the disputed Western Sahara region), Morocco stands as the 18th largest country out of Africa’s 54 countries. Meanwhile, its neighbor Algeria is the most prominent African country, with 919,595 square miles.
There are 12 official administrative regions of Morocco, listed below:
- Tanger-Tetouan-Al Hoceima
- Béni Mellal-Khénifra
- Casablanca- Settat
- Guelmim-Oued Noun
- Dakhla- Oued Ed-Dahab
- Laâyoune-Sakia El Hamra
Demographics of Morocco
As of 2020, Morocco has a population of 36,910,560 inhabitants. Out of these, it is estimated that 99% are Arab-Berber.
The capital city of Morocco is Rabat. Rabat is located in the northwest of the country, with a coastline on the Atlantic Ocean. At 13,000 square miles, Rabat is Morocco’s 7th biggest city. The capital city has a population of approximately 1.6 million people.
Morocco’s biggest city is Casablanca, which is also the biggest city in the Maghreb region. It is also the most populated city in Morocco, with a population of 3.7 million people.
Other notable cities in Morocco include Marrakech, Tangier, Agadir, Fes, and Chefchaouen.
Along with neighboring countries Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, and Mauritania, Morocco is a part of the Maghreb subregion of North Africa. Maghrebi countries are characterized as predominantly Arab-Muslim and share similar cultural traditions, such as diet and clothing.
Morocco is a culturally diverse country home to many languages, including Moroccan Arabic (Darija), French, Berber, and Spanish.
In terms of food, Moroccan cuisine is considered one of the most versatile of world cuisines. Influenced by European, Mediterranean, and Arab cuisines, Moroccan food is a rich blend of spices, meat, vegetables, and grains. Notable dishes hailing from Morocco include tajine and couscous.
FAQ's About Morocco
What language is spoken in Morocco?
Morocco’s official languages are Arabic and Berber. Berber was the native language before the Muslim Conquest of Morocco that took place in the 7th century.
While Arabic is one of the official languages of Morocco, the Arabic spoken by most Moroccans varies significantly from other Arabic-speaking countries. The Moroccan dialect is known as Darija, and is a mixture of Arabic, Berber, French and Spanish.
French is also widely spoken in Morocco given Morocco’s colonial history with France.
What is the national dish of Morocco?
The national dish of Morocco is tajine, which is a slow-cooked stew, made typically with meat, vegetables, spices, nuts, and fruits, which are all cooked together in a dome-shaped pot, which traps the steam and cooks all the ingredients together. This gives each layer of the dish a rich flavor.