The Kingdom of Morocco is a country in northwest Africa. It has a long coastline on the Atlantic Ocean that reaches past the Strait of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean Sea. It borders Algeria to the east, Western Sahara to the south, and the Atlantic Ocean to its north and west.
The full Arabic name of the country translates to The Western Kingdom. Al-Maghreb (meaning The West) is commonly used in Arabic. The name in most other languages originates from the name of the former capital, Marrakech (it means the Country of God in the Berber language).
Main article: History of Morocco
Morocco became a French protectorate by the signing of the Treaty of Fez on March 30, 1912, remaining a Kingdom, and achieved independence in 1956. It then took control over Tangier, formerly an international city. The northern area of Morocco was under a Spanish protectorate concurrently. Morocco annexed Western Sahara in the 1970s, which had been a colony under the Spaniards since the 19th century. Previous to that it had been an area of Moroccan influence, but this annexation has not been recognized any nations.
Morocco was the first nation to recognize the fledging American republic in 1777 and has the oldest non-broken friendship treaty with the country, the Moroccan-American Treaty of Friendship, which has been in effect since 1783. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were the American signatories. The United States legation (embassy) in Tangier, is the first property the US owned abroad. It now houses the Tangier american legation museum.
Main article: Politics of Morocco
The King of Morocco is an active leader, although decreasingly so. Political parties are legal and a plethora of them exist.
See also: List of political parties in Morocco
Main article: Provinces of Morocco
Morocco is divided into 37 provinces and 2 wilayas:
Three additional provinces, Ad Dakhla (Oued Eddahab ), Boujdour , and Es Smara, as well as parts of Tan-Tan and Laayoune, fall within Moroccan-claimed Western Sahara.
As part of a 1997 decentralization/regionalization law passed by the legislature, 16 new regions were created, although the full details and scope of the reorganization are limited. These 16 regions are:
- Gharb-Chrarda-Beni Hssen
- Guelmim-Es Smara
- Laayoune-Boujdour-Sakia El Hamra
- Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz
- Oued Eddahab-Lagouira
- Taza-Al Hoceima-Taounate
Main article: Geography of Morocco
Algeria borders Morocco to the east and southeast, though the Algerian border is closed . There are also four Spanish enclaves on the Mediterranean coast: Ceuta, Melilla Peņon Velez de la Gomera and Peņon de Alhucemas, as well as several islands including Perejil (status disputed) and Chafarinas. Off the Atlantic coast the Canary Islands belong to Spain, whereas Madeira to the north is Portuguese.To the north, Morocco is bordered by and controls part of the Straits of Gibraltar, giving it power over the waterways in and out of the Mediterranean sea. Most of the South East portion of the country is in the Sahara Desert and as such is generally sparsely populated and unproductive economically. The High Atlas Mountains run down the backbone of the country, from the south west to the north east. Most of the population lives to the north of these mountains, while to the south is the desert.
Morocco's capital city is Rabat, and its largest city is the modern port of Casablanca.
Other cities include Agadir, Essaouira, Fes, Marrakech, Meknes, Oujda, Ouarzazat, Safi, Tangier, Tiznit, Salč and Tan-Tan.
Main article: Economy of Morocco
Morocco has signed a Free Trade Agreement with the European Union and the United States of America.
Main article: Demographics of Morocco 
Main article: Culture of Morocco
Much of the material in these articles comes from the CIA World Factbook 2000 and the 2002 U.S. Department of State website.