Morocco Geography and Population

Morocco Geography and Population

Physical characteristics

The current geological and morphological structure of Morocco is the result of several orogenic phases that first developed during the Paleozoic (Hercynian orogeny) and subsequently during the Cenozoic (Alpine-Himalayan orogeny). Starting from N, we meet the Rif mountain range (up to 2456 m high), which borders the Mediterranean and joins, in addition to the Strait of Gibraltar, to the Betic Cordillera. Beyond the ‘corridor’ of Taza stretch the Atlas Mountains, arranged according to two main wings: the Middle Atlas (maximum height 3340 m) and the High Atlas. The High Atlas develops seamlessly for more than 700 km from the shores of the ocean to the Mediterranean, with a SW-NE direction, culminating in the western section, the highest of the entire chain, with a peak (Tubkal, 4165 m), and is welded to the South with the Anti Atlas. Between the two mountain ranges, the Rif and the Atlas, several plains open out onto the ocean. A vast plateau (meseta) stretches between the coastal plains and the foothills of the Atlas ranges. AS of the southern slope of the Anti Atlas begins the desert environment, characterized by vast expanses of stony plateaus, called ḥammāda.

Morocco is subject to a rather varied range of climatic types. The examination of the temperatures sees the coastal regions, with a maritime climate, oppose the inland regions, with sometimes very accentuated continental characteristics, as occurs in the valleys carved into the mountains. Along the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, albeit with some exceptions, the thermal differences between the coldest month (January) and the hottest month (August) are attenuated by the presence of marine masses. Proceeding inward, the thermal differences between the two extreme months widen more and more. The rains, in principle, decrease towards the S and towards the E: from the minimum values, clearly lower than 100 mm per year, of the eastern and southern sections, which already have an affinity with the desert, we pass to the maximum values ​​of over 1000 mm of the section North Western,

Conditioned in their development by the arrangement of the relief, Moroccan watercourses are even more conditioned by the climate, which directly determines their behavior over time. First of all, the rivers that send their waters to the ocean and the Mediterranean Sea must be distinguished from those of the steppes and the desert, generally without access to the sea, dry even for several years and with some typical characteristics of hydrography Saharan fossil. The former give rise to a remarkable hydrographic network, despite having a very irregular regime, characterized by accentuated summer lean temperatures and maximum flows in winter coinciding with the rainy period.

The flora of the Morocco is essentially Mediterranean: scrub in the coastal strip, steppe and forest vegetation (with oaks, Aleppo pines and, in the Middle Atlas, also cedars) on the slopes of the Rif and other mountain ranges. In the Atlantic coastal plains there are cork oak forests, such as the one to the NE of Rabat, a stopping point for migratory birds.

The wildlife of Morocco, once represented by jackals, hyenas, wild boars, etc., has become very impoverished. The gazelle is still frequent in the South; rarer the fennec, the mouflon, the caracal, the Atlantic hare. There are numerous birds (including stork, cattle egret, bee-eater) and reptiles. Large forest areas are protected by extensive national parks, to which a coastal one is added which includes the lagoon and the wadi of Sous Massa, populated by oryx and gazelles.


Leaving aside the minor groups, the ethnic structure of Morocco is mainly made up of Arabs (65% of the population) and Berbers who have managed to preserve their language and their culture. The Arab conquest and occupation have in fact profoundly influenced the characteristics of the pre-existing Berber society, of which the language, tradition, customs and an art that is manifested in the geometric decoration of carpets and pottery and in the manufacture of objects survive. silver. The Arabic language and the Mu; Sulmana religion progressively spread from the plains to the first slopes of the mountains, where the populations became bilingual. Only the residents of the heart of the mountain massifs remained stubbornly attached to the Berber language. For Morocco 2007, please check

Official language is Arabic, spoken by 2/3 of the population exclusively; about 1/3 also speaks the Berber dialects. Among the foreign languages ​​the most widespread is French. Absolutely prevalent religion is Islam, flanked by small Catholic and Jewish minorities.

In 1921 the population of Morocco amounted to 3.5 million residents; over the last 100 years it has almost increased tenfold. At the base of this impressive demographic explosion is the high birth rate, which remained on average, until the 1970s, around 47-48 ‰; and combined with a gradually decreasing mortality (13-14 ‰ in the mentioned decade). Since the 1980s, the birth rate has started to decrease (20.9 ‰ in 2009), and the natural balance has fallen to 15 ‰ (in 2009). The average density (78 residents /km 2) is not very significant. A diagonal drawn from Oujda in Tiznit he distinguishes a densely populated and urbanized Morocco, towards which migrations flow from the interior, from an Morocco overall rural and very poor in residents; the hinterland more rugged and impoverished by a growing aridity, as at the edges of the Sahara, then becomes decidedly repulsive to human settlement. Among the most interesting aspects of the recent settlement dynamics is the increase in the urban population: the main attraction poles of internal migratory flows are the Atlantic conurbation Casablanca -Rabat-Salé and the other major cities (in particular Fès, Marrakech, Oujda, Agadir and Tangier, all with more than half a million residents).

Morocco 2007

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