Africa travel guide

People and Society of Morocco

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The majority of Moroccans are Berber, Arab, or a mixture of both. Due to intermingling between the two communities, they are losing their distinctive-ness, especially in the cities. The Berbers have traditionally lived in the mountains and deserts of Morocco. They speak three main dialects – Amazigh, Chleuh and Riffian. Before the creation of Israel, there was also a significant Jewish minority which settled in Morocco after having escaped the persecution in Spain during the Reconquista. The Jews in Morocco presently number around 30,000. A number of sub-Saharan Africans have settled down (especially in southern Morocco) over the centuries. Initially brought as slaves, many have stayed on to make Morocco their home. The high rate of population growth (more than 2%) remains one of the biggest problems in Morocco today.

Arabic is the official language, but spoken Moroccan Arabic (Drama) is very different from its Middle Eastern counterpart. French and Spanish are also spoken in the cities. The main Berber dialects are Amazigh spoken in the Middle Atlas area, Chleuh in the High Atlas and Riffian in the Riffian Mountains.

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