The Iberian Peninsula known as Iberia, is located in the southwest corner of Europe. The peninsula is principally divided between Portugal, comprising most of their territory, it includes Andorra, small areas of France, the British overseas territory of Gibraltar. With an area of 596,740 square kilometres ), it is both the second largest European peninsula by area, after the Scandinavian Peninsula, by population, after the Balkan Peninsula; the word Iberia is a noun adapted from the Latin word "Hiberia" originated by the Ancient Greek word Ἰβηρία by Greek geographers under the rule of the Roman Empire to refer to what is known today in English as the Iberian Peninsula. At that time, the name did not describe a single political entity or a distinct population of people. Strabo's'Iberia' was delineated from Keltikē by the Pyrenees and included the entire land mass southwest of there. With the fall of the Roman Empire and the establishment of the new Castillian language in Spain, the word "Iberia" appeared for the first time in use as a direct'descendant' of the Greek word "Ἰβηρία" and the Roman word "Hiberia".
The ancient Greeks reached the Iberian Peninsula, of which they had heard from the Phoenicians, by voyaging westward on the Mediterranean. Hecataeus of Miletus was the first known to use the term Iberia, which he wrote about circa 500 BC. Herodotus of Halicarnassus says of the Phocaeans that "it was they who made the Greeks acquainted with... Iberia." According to Strabo, prior historians used Iberia to mean the country "this side of the Ἶβηρος" as far north as the river Rhône in France, but they set the Pyrenees as the limit. Polybius respects that limit, but identifies Iberia as the Mediterranean side as far south as Gibraltar, with the Atlantic side having no name. Elsewhere he says that Saguntum is "on the seaward foot of the range of hills connecting Iberia and Celtiberia." Strabo refers to the Carretanians as people "of the Iberian stock" living in the Pyrenees, who are distinct from either Celts or Celtiberians. According to Charles Ebel, the ancient sources in both Latin and Greek use Hispania and Hiberia as synonyms.
The confusion of the words was because of an overlapping in geographic perspectives. The Latin word Hiberia, similar to the Greek Iberia translates to "land of the Hiberians"; this word was derived from the river Ebro. Hiber was thus used as a term for peoples living near the river Ebro; the first mention in Roman literature was by the annalist poet Ennius in 200 BC. Virgil refers to the Ipacatos Hiberos in his Georgics; the Roman geographers and other prose writers from the time of the late Roman Republic called the entire peninsula Hispania. As they became politically interested in the former Carthaginian territories, the Romans began to use the names Hispania Citerior and Hispania Ulterior for'near' and'far' Hispania. At the time Hispania was made up of three Roman provinces: Hispania Baetica, Hispania Tarraconensis, Hispania Lusitania. Strabo says that the Romans use Hispania and Iberia synonymously, distinguishing between the near northern and the far southern provinces. Whatever language may have been spoken on the peninsula soon gave way to Latin, except for that of the Vascones, preserved as a language isolate by the barrier of the Pyrenees.
The Iberian Peninsula has always been associated with the Ebro, Ibēros in ancient Greek and Ibērus or Hibērus in Latin. The association was so well known. Pliny goes so far as to assert that the Greeks had called "the whole of Spain" Hiberia because of the Hiberus River; the river appears in the Ebro Treaty of 226 BC between Rome and Carthage, setting the limit of Carthaginian interest at the Ebro. The fullest description of the treaty, stated in Appian, uses Ibērus. With reference to this border, Polybius states that the "native name" is Ibēr the original word, stripped of its Greek or Latin -os or -us termination; the early range of these natives, which geographers and historians place from today's southern Spain to today's southern France along the Mediterranean coast, is marked by instances of a readable script expressing a yet unknown language, dubbed "Iberian." Whether this was the native name or was given to them by the Greeks for their residence on the Ebro remains unknown. Credence in Polybius imposes certain limitations on etymologizing: if the language remains unknown, the meanings of the words, including Iber, must remain unknown.
In modern Basque, the word ibar means "valley" or "watered meadow", while ibai means "river", but there is no proof relating the etymology of the Ebro River with these Basque names. The Iberian Peninsula has been inhabited for at least 1.2 million years as remains found in the sites in the Atapuerca Mountains demonstrate. Among these sites is the cave of Gran Dolina, where six hominin skeletons, dated between 780,000 and one million years ago, were found in 1994. Experts have debated whether these skeletons belong to the species Homo erectus, Homo heidelbergensis, or a new species called Homo antecessor. Around 200,000 BP, during the Lower Paleolithic period, Neanderthals first entered the Iberian Peninsula. Around 70,000 BP, during the Middle Paleolithic period, the last glacial event began and the Neanderthal Mousterian culture was established. Around 37,000 BP, during the Upper Paleolithic, the Neanderthal Châtelperronian cultural period began. Emanating from Southern France, this culture extended into the north of the p
Sunni Islam is the largest denomination of Islam, followed by nearly 90% of the world's Muslims. Its name comes from the word sunnah; the differences between Sunni and Shia Muslims arose from a disagreement over the succession to Muhammad and subsequently acquired broader political significance, as well as theological and juridical dimensions. According to Sunni traditions, Muhammad did not designate a successor and the Muslim community acted according to his sunnah in electing his father-in-law Abu Bakr as the first caliph; this contrasts with the Shia view, which holds that Muhammad announced at the event of Ghadir Khumm his son-in-law and cousin Ali ibn Abi Talib as his successor. Political tensions between Sunnis and Shias continued with varying intensity throughout Islamic history and they have been exacerbated in recent times by ethnic conflicts and the rise of Wahhabism; as of 2009, Sunni Muslims constituted 87–90% of the world's Muslim population. Sunni Islam is the world's largest religious denomination, followed by Catholicism.
Its adherents are referred to in Arabic as ahl as-sunnah wa ahl as-sunnah for short. In English, its doctrines and practices are sometimes called Sunnism, while adherents are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis and Ahlus Sunnah. Sunni Islam is sometimes referred to as "orthodox Islam". However, other scholars of Islam, such as John Burton believe that there is no such thing as "orthodox Islam"; the Quran, together with hadith and binding juristic consensus form the basis of all traditional jurisprudence within Sunni Islam. Sharia rulings are derived from these basic sources, in conjunction with analogical reasoning, consideration of public welfare and juristic discretion, using the principles of jurisprudence developed by the traditional legal schools. In matters of creed, the Sunni tradition upholds the six pillars of iman and comprises the Ash'ari and Maturidi schools of rationalistic theology as well as the textualist school known as traditionalist theology. Sunnī commonly referred to as Sunnīism, is a term derived from sunnah meaning "habit", "usual practice", "custom", "tradition".
The Muslim use of this term refers to living habits of the prophet Muhammad. In Arabic, this branch of Islam is referred to as ahl as-sunnah wa l-jamāʻah, "the people of the sunnah and the community", shortened to ahl as-sunnah. One common mistake is to assume that Sunni Islam represents a normative Islam that emerged during the period after Muhammad's death, that Sufism and Shi'ism developed out of Sunni Islam; this perception is due to the reliance on ideological sources that have been accepted as reliable historical works, because the vast majority of the population is Sunni. Both Sunnism and Shiaism are the end products of several centuries of competition between ideologies. Both sects used each other to further cement their own doctrines; the first four caliphs are known among Sunnis as the Rashidun or "Rightly-Guided Ones". Sunni recognition includes the aforementioned Abu Bakr as the first, Umar as the second, Uthman as the third, Ali as the fourth. Sunnis recognised different rulers as the caliph, though they did not include anyone in the list of the rightly guided ones or Rashidun after the murder of Ali, until the caliphate was constitutionally abolished in Turkey on 3 March 1924.
The seeds of metamorphosis of caliphate into kingship were sown, as the second caliph Umar had feared, as early as the regime of the third caliph Uthman, who appointed many of his kinsmen from his clan Banu Umayya, including Marwan and Walid bin Uqba on important government positions, becoming the main cause of turmoil resulting in his murder and the ensuing infighting during Ali's time and rebellion by Muawiya, another of Uthman's kinsman. This resulted in the establishment of firm dynastic rule of Banu Umayya after Husain, the younger son of Ali from Fatima, was killed at the Battle of Karbala; the rise to power of Banu Umayya, the Meccan tribe of elites who had vehemently opposed Muhammad under the leadership of Abu Sufyan, Muawiya's father, right up to the conquest of Mecca by Muhammad, as his successors with the accession of Uthman to caliphate, replaced the egalitarian society formed as a result of Muhammad's revolution to a society stratified between haves and have-nots as a result of nepotism, in the words of El-Hibri through "the use of religious charity revenues to subsidise family interests, which Uthman justified as "al-sila"."
Ali, during his rather brief regime after Uthman maintained austere life style and tried hard to bring back the egalitarian system and supremacy of law over the ruler idealised in Muhammad's message, but faced continued opposition, wars one after another by Aisha-Talhah-Zubair, by Muawiya and by the Kharjites. After he was murdered his followers elected Hasan ibn Ali his elder son from Fatima to succeed him. Hasan, shortly afterwards signed a treaty with Muawiaya relinquishing power in favour of the latter, with a condition inter alia, that one of the two who will outlive the other will be the caliph, that this caliph will not appoint a successor but will leave the matter of selection of the caliph to the public. Subsequently, Hasan was poisoned to death and Muawiya enjoyed unchallenged power. Not honouring his treaty with Hasan he however nominated his son Yazid to succeed him. Upon Muawiya's death, Yazid asked Husain the younger brother of Hasan, Ali's son and Muh
Arab-Berbers are an ethnic group native to Maghreb, a North African region along the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Arab-Berbers are people of mixed Berber and Arab origin and whose native language is a variant of Maghrebi Arabic. Many Arab-Berbers identify as Arab and secondarily as Berber. While some Arab-Berbers claim West Asian descent, genetic studies there have determined that Arab and non-Arab Berbers are genetically nearly identical; this suggest that the processes of "Arabization" in the Maghreb was mainly cultural rather than genetic. The Arab-Berber identity came into being as a direct result of the Arab conquest of North Africa, the intermarriage between the Arabian and Persian people who immigrated to those regions and local Roman Africans and other Berber people. Alongside Berber speakers, arabized Berbers form the core of the native populations of the Maghreb, namely Algeria, Libya and Tunisia. Arab-Berbers speak variants of Maghrebi Arabic known as (Darija or Derja, which means "everyday/colloquial language".
The variants of Maghrebi derja have a significant Berber and Neo-Punic substratum. However, they have many loanwords from French, Turkish and the languages of Spain. Medieval Arabic sources refers as Bilad Al Barbar; this designation may have given rise to the term Barbary Coast, used by Europeans until the 19th century to refer to coastal Northwest Africa. Since the populations were affiliated with the Arab Muslim culture, Northwest Africa started to be referred to by the Arabic speakers as Al-Maġrib, the Maghreb as it was considered as the western part of the known world. For historical references, medieval Arab and Muslim historians and geographers used to refer to Morocco as Al-Maghrib al Aqşá, disambiguating it from neighboring historical regions called Al-Maghrib al Awsat and Al-Maghrib al Adna; the Maghreb was arabized with the spread of Islam in the 7th century AD, when the liturgical language Arabic was first brought to the Maghreb. However, the bulk of the population of northwestern Africa remained Berber or Roman Africans at least until the 14th century.
Arabization was at least strengthened in the rural areas in the 11th century with the emigration of the Banu Hilal tribes from Egypt. However, many parts of the Maghreb were only arabized recently in the 19th and 20th centuries, such as the area of the Aurès mountains. Lastly, the mass education and promotion of Arabic language and culture through schools and mass media, during the 20th century, by the maghrebis governments, is regarded as the strongest contributor to the Arabization process in the Maghreb. Various population genetics studies along with historians such as Gabriel Camps and Charles-André Julien lend support to the idea that the bulk of the gene pool of modern Maghrebis, irrespective of linguistic group, is derived from the Berber populations of the pre-Islamic period. Maghrebis Arabs Banu Hilal Banu Sulaym Beni Hassan North Africa Maghreb Kouloughlis
A marabout is a Muslim religious leader and teacher in West Africa, in the Maghreb. The marabout is a scholar of the Qur'an, or religious teacher. Others may be wandering holy men who survive on alms, Sufi Murshids, or leaders of religious communities. Muslim religious brotherhoods are one of the main organizing forms of West African Islam, with the spread of Sufi ideas into the area, the marabout's role combined with local practices throughout Senegambia, the Niger river valley, the Futa Jallon. Here, Sufi believers follow a marabout, elsewhere known as a Murshid. Marabout was adopted by French colonial officials, applied to most any imam, Muslim teacher, or secular leader who appealed to Islamic tradition. Today marabouts can be traveling holy men who survive on alms, religious teachers who take in young talibes at Qur'anic schools, or distinguished religious leaders and scholars, both in and out of the Sufi brotherhoods which dominate spiritual life in Senegambia. In the Muslim brotherhoods of Senegal, marabouts are organized in elaborate hierarchies.
Older, North African based traditions such as the Tijaniyyah and the Qadiriyyah base their structures on respect for teachers and religious leaders who, south of the Sahara are called marabouts. Those who devote themselves to prayer or study, either based in communities, religious centers, or wandering in the larger society, are named marabouts. In Senegal and Mali, these Marabouts rely on donations to live. There is a traditional bond to support a specific marabout that has accumulated over generations within a family. Marabouts dress in traditional West African robes and live a simple, ascetic life; the spread in sub-Saharan Africa of the marabout's role from the 8th through 13th centuries created in some places a mixture of roles with pre-Islamic priests and divines. Thus many fortune tellers and self-styled spiritual guides take the name "marabout"; the recent diaspora of West Africans has brought this tradition to Europe and North America, where some marabouts advertise their services as fortune tellers.
An Exu of Quimbanda, Marabô, is believed to have carried this esoteric and shamanic role into Brazil. Contemporary marabouts in Senegal have hot lines. Liliane Kuczynski. Les marabouts africains à Paris. CNRS Editions, Paris ISBN 978-2-271-06087-7 Magopinaciophilie: An article discussing Europeans who collect calling card like advertisements by "marabouts". L'officiel du Marabout: Parisian advertisement collection. Magopinaciophiles: A collection of French flyers; the term Marabout appears during the Muslim conquest of North Africa. It is derived from the Arabic word "Mourabit" or "mrabet": religious students and military volunteers who manned the Ribats at the time of the conquest. Today marabout means "Saint" in the Berber language, refers to Sufi Muslim teachers who head a lodge or school called a zaouïa, associated with a specific school or tradition, called a Tariqah; the pronunciation of that word varies according to the spoken Berber dialect. For example, it is pronounced "Amrabadh" in the Riff dialect.
The "marabout" is known as "Sayyed" to Arabic speaking Maghribians. Many cities in Morocco got their names from local marabouts, the name of those cities begins with "Sidi" followed by the name of the local marabout; the standard Arabic for "saint" is "Waliy". A marabout may refer to a tomb of a venerated saint, such places have become holy centers and places of pious reflection; the roots of this tradition can be traced back to ancient times when the Berbers believed in the polytheistic religions. Herodotus mentioned the tradition too, when he has spoke of the Nasamones bringing animal sacrifices to the tombs of holy men. Note that these are not places of formal pilgrimage, but are rather places of reflection and inspiration for the pious. Morocco Sidi Ali el Goumi Sidi Rhaj Amar Sidi Allal el Behraoui Sidi Abdelah ben Hassoun Sidi Moulay Idriss Sidi fath Sidi el Arbi ben sayyeh Sidi Ahmed Tijani Sidi Moulay Ali sherif Sidi Hajj Hamza Qadiri Boutchichi Sidi Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani Sidi Abdel Kader el Alami Sidi Moulay Ibrahim Sidi Mohammed Ben Aissa Sidi Ahmed Ben Idris Al-Fassi Sidi Abu Lhcen Shadili Sidi Moulay Abdeslam ibn Mchich Alami Sidi Muhammad al-Arabi al-Darqawi Sidi Muhammad ibn Sulayman al-Jazuli al-Simlali Sidi Abu Abdallah Mohammed Amghar Sidi Abu Abdallah al-Qaim bi Amrillah Sidi Muhammad ben Issa al-Barnusi al-Fasi Zarruq Sidi Moulay Outman,Morocco Sidi Mbarek, Morocco Sidi Heddi Morocco Or zawiyas: Zaouïa Naciria Zaouïa Cherqaouia Zaouia Aïssaouia Zaouia Tidjaniya Zaouia Idrissiya Zaouia Sanoussiya Zaouia Al Qadiriya Zaouia Al Alamiya Zaouia Jazouliya semlaliya Zaouia Hamdouchia Zaouia Sidi Outman,Morocco Algeria Sidi Ahmed Tidjani of'Ainou Mahdi, around Laguouate founder of Tidjaniya Sidi Ahmed ou Saïd du hameau Mestiga, village of Adeni in Kabylia Sidi M'hamed Bou Qobrine Founder of the Rahmaniya Sidi Abder Rahman El Thaelebi, founder of the Thaalibiya Sidi M'hend oumalek Sidi Moh'Ali oulhadj (Tifrit n'Aït el
The Rif War was an armed conflict fought from 1920 to 1927 between the colonial power Spain and the Berber tribes of the Rif mountainous region. Led by Abd el-Krim, the Riffians at first inflicted several defeats on the Spanish forces by using guerrilla tactics and captured European weapons. After France's military intervention against Abd el-Krim's forces and the major landing of Spanish troops at Al Hoceima, considered the first amphibious landing in history to involve the use of tanks and aircraft, Abd el-Krim surrendered to the French and was taken into exile. In 1909, Rifian tribes aggressively confronted Spanish workers of the iron mines of the Rif, near Melilla, which led to the intervention of the Spanish Army; the military operations in Jebala, in the Moroccan West, began in 1911 with the Larache Landing. Spain worked to pacify a large part of the most violent areas until 1914, a slow process of consolidation of frontiers that lasted until 1919 due to World War I; the following year, after the signing of the Treaty of Fez, the northern Moroccan area was adjudicated to Spain as a protectorate.
The Riffian populations resisted the Spanish, unleashing a conflict that would last for several years. In 1921, the Spanish troops suffered the catastrophic Disaster of Annual, the biggest defeat in the history of Spain, in addition to a rebellion led by Rifian leader Abd el-Krim; as a result, the Spanish retreated to a few fortified positions while Abd el-Krim created an entire independent state: the Republic of the Rif. The development of the conflict and its end coincided with the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera, who took on command of the campaign from 1924 to 1927. In addition, after the Battle of Uarga in 1925, the French intervened in the conflict and established a joint collaboration with Spain that culminated in the Alhucemas landing which proved a turning point. By 1926 the area had been pacified; the Rif War is still considered controversial among historians. Some see in it a harbinger of the decolonization process in North Africa. Others consider it one of the last colonial wars, as it was the decision of the Spanish to conquer the Rif — nominally part of their Moroccan protectorate but de facto independent — that catalyzed the entry of France in 1924.
The Rif War left a deep memory both in Morocco. The Riffian insurgency of the 1920s can be interpreted as a precursor to the Algerian war of independence, which took place three decades later. During the early 20th century, Morocco was divided into protectorates ruled by Spain; the Rif region had been assigned to Spain, but given that the Sultans of Morocco had been unable to exert control over the region, Spanish sovereignty over the Rif was theoretical. For centuries, the Berber tribes of the Rif had fought off any attempt of outsiders to impose control on them. Though nominally Muslim, the tribes of the Rif had continued many pagan animist practices, such as worshipping water spirits and forest spirits. Attempts by the Moroccan sultans to impose orthodox Islam on the Rif had been resisted by the tribesmen. For centuries, Europeans had seen the Rif mountains and people on the mountains from ships in the Mediterranean Sea, but no European had ventured into the area. Walter Burton Harris, the Morocco correspondent for The Times, who covered the war, wrote that as late as 1912 only "one or two Europeans had been able to visit the cedar forests that lie south of Fez.
A few had traveled in the southern Atlas and pushed on into the Sus...and, all". As Harris wrote, the Berbers "were as inhospitable to the Arab as they were to the foreigner", killed any outsiders who ventured into their territory. Vincent Sheean, who covered the war for The New York Times, wrote that the Rif was a beautiful countryside of "Crimson mountains flung against a sky of hieratic blue, gorges magnificent and terrifying, peaceful green valleys between protecting precipices", a place that reminded him of his native Colorado; the Rif was rich in high-grade iron, which could be extracted via open pit mining. The promise of the Spanish state collecting revenues in the form of taxes and royalties from iron mining here was incentive for it to bring the Rif under its control; the Crown granted the concession to mine iron in the Rif to the millionaire Don Horacio Echevarrieta. By 1920 he had brought out 800,000 tons of valuable high grade iron through inexpensive open pit mining. Though profitable, the iron mining caused much environmental damage and required the displacement of the native people.
As they received no share of the profits, the Rifians soon began to oppose the mining in their territory. When King Alfonso XIII of Spain ascended to the throne in 1886, Spain was considered a world power, with colonies in the Americas, Africa and the Pacific, but in the Spanish–American War, Spain lost Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, in 1899 it sold the Mariana and Caroline Islands to Germany, retaining only some footholds on the Moroccan coast and Spanish Guinea. To compensate for the lost empire in the Americas and Asia, there emerged a powerful africanist faction in Spain led by Alfonso, who wanted a new empire in Africa; the Roman Catholic Church was politically powerful in Spain, much of the Spanish clergy preached the need for new crusade to continue the Reconquista by conquering Morocco, thus adding their voices to the africanist choir. For all these reasons, Spain began pushing into the Rif in 1909; the Berber tribesmen had a long tradition of fierce fighting skills, combined with high standards of fieldcraft and marksmanship.
They were capably led by Abd el-Krim, who showed b
North Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Morocco in the west, to Egypt's Suez Canal and the Red Sea in the east. Others have limited it to top North-Western countries like Algeria and Tunisia, a region, known by the French during colonial times as "Afrique du Nord" and is known by all Arabs as the Maghreb; the most accepted definition includes Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt, the 6 countries that shape the top North of the African continent. Meanwhile, "North Africa" when used in the term North Africa and the Middle East refers only to the countries of the Maghreb and Libya. Egypt, being part of the Middle East, is considered separately, due to being both North African and Middle Eastern at the same time. North Africa includes a number of Spanish and Portuguese possessions, Plazas de soberanía, Ceuta and Melilla and the Canary Islands and Madeira.
The countries of North Africa share a common ethnic and linguistic identity, unique to this region. Northwest Africa has been inhabited by Berbers since the beginning of recorded history, while the eastern part of North Africa has been home to the Egyptians. Between the A. D. 600s and 1000s, Arabs from the Middle East swept across the region in a wave of Muslim conquest. These peoples, physically quite similar, formed a single population in many areas, as Berbers and Egyptians merged into Arabic and Muslim culture; this process of Arabization and Islamization has defined the cultural landscape of North Africa since. The distinction between North Africa, the Sahel and the rest of the continent is as follows: Nineteenth century European explorers, attracted by the accounts of Ancient geographers or Arab geographers of the classical period, followed the routes by the nomadic people of the vast "empty" space, they documented the names of the stopping places they discovered or rediscovered, described landscapes, took a few climate measurements and gathered rock samples.
A map began to fill in the white blotch. The Sahara and the Sahel entered the geographic corpus by way of naturalist explorers because aridity is the feature that circumscribes the boundaries of the ecumene; the map details included topographical relief and location of watering holes crucial to long crossings. The Arabic word "Sahel" and "Sahara" made its entry into the vocabulary of geography. Latitudinally, the "slopes" of the arid desert, devoid of continuous human habitation, descend in step-like fashion toward the northern and southern edges of the Mediterranean that opens to Europe and the Sahel that opens to "Trab al Sudan." Longitudinally, a uniform grid divides the central desert shrinks back toward the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea. The Sahara-Sahel is further divided into a total of twenty sub-areas: central, southern, eastern, etc. In this way, "standard" geography has determined aridity to be the boundary of the ecumene, it identifies settlements based on visible activity without regard for social or political organizations of space in vast, purportedly “empty” areas.
It gives only cursory acknowledgement to what makes Saharan geography, for that matter, world geography unique: mobility and the routes by which it flows. The Sahel or "African Transition Zone" has been affected by many formative epochs in North African history ranging from Ottoman occupation to the Arab-Berber control of the Andalus; as a result, many modern African nation-states that are included in the Sahel evidence cultural similarities and historical overlap with their North African neighbours. In the present day, North Africa is associated with West Asia in the realm of geopolitics to form a Middle East-North Africa region; the Islamic influence in the area is significant and North Africa is a major part of the Muslim world. Some researchers have postulated that North Africa rather than East Africa served as the exit point for the modern humans who first trekked out of the continent in the Out of Africa migration. North Africa has three main geographic features: the Sahara desert in the south, the Atlas Mountains in the west, the Nile River and delta in the east.
The Atlas Mountains extend across much of northern Algeria and Tunisia. These mountains are part of the fold mountain system that runs through much of Southern Europe, they recede to the south and east, becoming a steppe landscape before meeting the Sahara desert, which covers more than 75 percent of the region. The tallest peaks are in the High Atlas range in south-central Morocco, which has many snow-capped peaks. South of the Atlas Mountains is the dry and barren expanse of the Sahara desert, the largest sand desert in the world. In places the desert is cut by irregular watercourses called wadis—streams that flow only after rainfalls but are dry; the Sahara's major landforms include large seas of sand that sometimes form into huge dunes. The Sahara covers the southern part of Algeria and Tunisia, most of Libya. Only two regions of Libya are outside the desert: Tripolitania in the northwest and Cyrenaica in the northeast. Most of Egypt is desert, with the exception of the Nile River and the irrigated land along its banks.
The Nile Valley forms a narrow fertile thread. Sheltered valleys in the Atlas Mountains, the Nile Valley and Delta, the Mediterranean coast are the main sources of fertile farming land. A wide variety of valuable crops including ce
Morocco the Kingdom of Morocco, is a country located in the Maghreb region of North West Africa with an area of 710,850 km2. Its capital is the largest city Casablanca, it overlooks the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Morocco claims the areas of Ceuta, Melilla and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera, all of them under Spanish jurisdiction. Since the foundation of the first Moroccan state by Idris I in 788 AD, the country has been ruled by a series of independent dynasties, reaching its zenith under the Almoravid and Almohad dynasties, spanning parts of Iberia and northwestern Africa; the Marinid and Saadi dynasties continued the struggle against foreign domination, allowing Morocco to remain the only northwest African country to avoid Ottoman occupation. The Alaouite dynasty, which rules to this day, seized power in 1631. In 1912, Morocco was divided into French and Spanish protectorates, with an international zone in Tangier, it regained its independence in 1956, has since remained comparatively stable and prosperous by regional standards.
Morocco claims the non-self-governing territory of Western Sahara Spanish Sahara, as its Southern Provinces. After Spain agreed to decolonise the territory to Morocco and Mauritania in 1975, a guerrilla war arose with local forces. Mauritania relinquished its claim in 1979, the war lasted until a cease-fire in 1991. Morocco occupies two thirds of the territory, peace processes have thus far failed to break the political deadlock; the unitary sovereign state of Morocco is a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament. The King of Morocco holds vast executive and legislative powers over the military, foreign policy and religious affairs. Executive power is exercised by the government, while legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of parliament, the Assembly of Representatives and the Assembly of Councillors; the king can issue decrees called dahirs. He can dissolve the parliament after consulting the Prime Minister and the president of the constitutional court.
Morocco's predominant religion is Islam, its official languages are Arabic and Berber. E; the Moroccan dialect of Arabic, referred to as Darija, French are widely spoken. Moroccan culture is a blend of Berber, Sephardi Jews, West African and European influences. Morocco is a member of the Union for the Mediterranean and the African Union, it has the fifth largest economy of Africa. The full Arabic name al-Mamlakah al-Maghribiyyah translates to "Kingdom of the West". For historical references, medieval Arab historians and geographers sometimes referred to Morocco as al-Maghrib al-Aqṣá to distinguish it from neighbouring historical regions called al-Maghrib al-Awsaṭ and al-Maghrib al-Adná; the basis of Morocco's English name is Marrakesh, its capital under the Almoravid dynasty and Almohad Caliphate. The origin of the name Marrakesh is disputed, but is most from the Berber words amur akush or "Land of God"; the modern Berber name for Marrakesh is Mṛṛakc. In Turkish, Morocco is known as a name derived from its ancient capital of Fes.
However, this was not the case in other parts of the Islamic world: until the middle of the 20th century, the common name of Morocco in Egyptian and Middle Eastern Arabic literature was Marrakesh. The English name Morocco is an anglicisation of the Spanish "Marruecos", from which derives the Tuscan "Morrocco", the origin of the Italian "Marocco"; the area of present-day Morocco has been inhabited since Paleolithic times, sometime between 190,000 and 90,000 BC. A recent publication may demonstrate an earlier habitation period, as Homo sapiens fossils discovered in the late 2000s near the Atlantic coast in Jebel Irhoud were dated to 315,000 years before present. During the Upper Paleolithic, the Maghreb was more fertile than it is today, resembling a savanna more than today's arid landscape. Twenty-two thousand years ago, the Aterian was succeeded by the Iberomaurusian culture, which shared similarities with Iberian cultures. Skeletal similarities have been suggested between the Iberomaurusian "Mechta-Afalou" burials and European Cro-Magnon remains.
The Iberomaurusian was succeeded by the Beaker culture in Morocco. Mitochondrial DNA studies have discovered the Saami of Scandinavia; this supports theories that the Franco-Cantabrian refuge area of southwestern Europe was the source of late-glacial expansions of hunter-gatherers who repopulated northern Europe after the last ice age. Northwest Africa and Morocco were drawn into the wider emerging Mediterranean world by the Phoenicians, who established trading colonies and settlements in the early Classical period. Substantial Phoenician settlements were at Chellah and Mogador. Mogador was a Phoenician colony as early as the early 6th century BC. Morocco became a realm of the Northwest African civilisation of ancie