From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to navigationJump to search This article is about the contemporary Maghrebi group. For other uses, see Moroccan (disambiguation).

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Map of the Moroccan diaspora in the world
Total population
+- 45 million worldwide
Regions with significant populations
 Spain934,046[5][failed verification]
 Germany300,000[11][failed verification]
 United Arab Emirates100,000[12][failed verification]
 United States113,544[13]
 United Kingdom70,000[15]
 Saudi Arabia60,000[17]
 South Africa2,100
 Ivory Coast1,800
(Moroccan ArabicHassaniya ArabicJebli Arabic)Berber
(TashelhitTarifitCentral Atlas Tamazight)
Majority Sunni Islam
Minority Shia Islam, Christianity,[22][23]Judaism
Related ethnic groups
Other Maghrebis

Moroccans (Arabic: المغاربة, romanizedal-Maġāriba, Berber languages: ⵉⵎⵖⵕⴰⴱⵉⵢⵏ, romanized: Imɣṛabiyen) are a Maghrebi nation of mainly Arab and Berber descent[24] inhabiting or originating from the country of Morocco in North Africa and who share a common Moroccan culture and ancestry.

In addition to the 37 million Moroccans in Morocco, there is a large Moroccan diaspora in France, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain, and a smaller one in Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, the Arabian Peninsula and in other Arab states.



Capsian culture  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

Moroccans are a very homogenous ethnic group and are primarily of Berber (Amazigh) origin[25] as in other neighbouring countries in the Maghreb region. Genetically, 75 percent of Moroccans carry the genetic DNA Berber Marker: E1b1b1b (E-M81) with no detected Arab DNA. This is not surprising considering Arab invaders used Berber armies rather than Middle Eastern troops when invading North Africa and Spain. In most Moroccan villages, the DNA Berber Marker is detected in over 95 percent of the population. [26] Today, Moroccans are a predominantly Amazigh (Berber) alongside other minority ethnic backgrounds from across the region.[27] Ethnic identity is strongly entwined with linguistic identity, meaning that genetic ancestry (or perceived ancestry) is only a secondary determiner of identity.[28] 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.[29] Out of these populations, the proto-Berber tribes formed during the late Paleolithic era.[30]

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.[31] According to Ibn Khaldun, whole tribes set off with women, children, ancestors, animals and camping equipment.[31] 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.[32]

Genetic composition

Main article: Genetic studies on Moroccans

Distribution of the haplogroup E1b1b-M81, the most common paternal lineage among Moroccans.

Arabs (Morocco)AA (Semitic)4985.50.020.400Semino 2004[33]
Berbers (Marrakesh)AA (Berber)2992.9Semino et al. 2000[34]
Berbers (Middle Atlas)AA (Berber)6987.15.8Cruciani et al. 2004[35]
Berbers (Southern Morocco)AA (Berber)62098.5%010.0000Bosch et al. 2001[36]
Berbers (North central Morocco)AA (Berber)40093.8011.1000Bosch et al. 2001[37]
Riffians (North Morocco)AA (Berber)54095.90000Dugoujon et al. 2005[38]


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.[39]

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. 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 Iberian/Sephardi Jewish 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 Standard Arabic and Standard Berber.[40]

The majority of the population speaks Moroccan Arabic, spoken by 92% of the population.[41] 9.6 million Moroccans speak Berber varieties,[42] 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. 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 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.

See also


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