MOROCCO

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MOROCCO (Marokos, or Maraschpart of ancient Mauretania) ; a large empire in the northwest part of Africa, bounded N. by the straits of Gibraltar and the Mediterranean, E. by Algiers, S. by Sahara, and W. by the Atlantic ; about Ion. 1° to 10° W.; lat. 29° to 36° N.; square miles, according to Graberg, 290,000. The limits and divisions are not well ascertained. It is divided into two parts by the great chain of the Atlas, which traverses it first from E. to W., and then from N. to S., leaving between itself and the sea a plain of from 50 to 100 miles in breadth. This plain, which is 400 or 500 miles in length, in an oblique line, includes all the populous and fertile part, comprising Morocco Proper and Fez. The division beyond the Atlas comprises Draha, Tafilet, Sugulmessa, &c. The population is variously estimated; by Graberg, at 5,000,000; by Chenier and Hoest, at 5,000,000 or 6,000,000; and by Jackson, at 14,886,000 : population of the cities, according to Jackson, 995,000 ; of Morocco and Fez, N. and W. of Atlas, 10,300,000; theBrebers, 3,000,000; Tafilet, S. E. of Atlas, 650,000. This state exaggeration. The chief towns are Morocco, the capital, Fez, Mequinez, Mogadore, the principal seaport, Tarudant, Rabat, Sallee, Tangiers, SafFet and Tetuan. The government is a most barbarous despotism, under a chief, styled the sultan of Fez and Morocco, who is absolute master of the lives and fortunes of his subjects. In many parts of the country, his power is very precarious, and his superiority is acknowledged, by many tribes, merely by the payment of tribute. The religion is Mohammedan. The population consists of Moors, who live in the towns, and carry on trade ; Arabs, who dwell in the country, in villages; Brebers, the oldest inhabitants of the land (see Barbary States); Negroes, who live in a state of freedom, dispersed over the country; Jews, in a great measure the descendants of those who were driven from Spain, by Ferdinand the Catholic ; they are numerous, but despised and oppressed; renegado Jews and Christians, principally Spaniards; Christians, who are merchants, artisans and slaves. The grand physical characteristic of the country is the great chain of the Atlas, the summits of which are covered with perpetual snow. The country between this chain and the ocean is watered by numerous streams from the mountains; is exuberantly fertile, producing grain, almonds, dates, and various other fruits. Silk and wool are plentiful. The leather calledmorocco (q.v.)is manufactured from the skins of the goats of Tafilet. Morocco has mines of iron, tin, copper in abundance, antimony (more carefully worked than the others), and mineral salt in great plenty. (See Barbary States.) The early history is given in the article Moors. In 1557, Mehemed, a sherif, or one who claimed to be descended from the prophet, obtained possession of the throne of the empire, which is still occupied by his descendants. Frequent and bloody civil wars have been carried on by the royal princes, who have been, for the most part, distinguished only for their cruel despotism. The most ferocious of these tyrants was Muley Ismael, who died, after a long reign, in 1727. He was succeeded by his son Muley Abdallah, who ascended the throne after a long struggle with his brothers. That prince was followed, in the government, by his son Muley Sidi Mohammed (1757), who carried on war against France, Spain and Portugal, but concluded treaties of peace with the other powers. On his death, in Soliman finally obtained possession of the throne, and, on the invasion of Egypt by the French, sent a contingent to the Turkish army. A treaty with the U. States, which had been concluded with Sidi Mohammed, in 1786, was ratified by Muley Soliman in 1795. By this treaty, it was stipulated that prisoners made in war should not become slaves. On the death of Muley Soliman, in 1822, his nephew, Muley Abderrahman, the present sultan, succeeded him. He has been principally employed, since his accession, in endeavoring to restore domestic tranquillity, and reduce the rebellious tribes of the interior. He is bigoted, indolent and luxurious, but, as he is not remarkable for any extreme tyranny or cruelty, he is considered a good monarch. The last accounts from Morocco (1831) describe the country as torn by internal dissensions, the Breber tribes of the mountains having gained some important advantages over the imperial forces. But this unquiet state is the usual condition of the empire. Besides the works referred to in the article Barbary, the reader may consult Jackson's Morocco, and Brooke's Travels in Spain and Morocco (London, 1831).