AfricaAfrica is the world's second-largest and second-most-populous continent. At about 30.2 million km2 (11.7 million sq mi) including adjacent islands, it covers six percent of Earth's total surface area and 20.4 percent of its total land area. With 1.1 billion people as of 2013, it accounts for about 15% of the world's human population. The continent is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, both the Suez Canal and the Red Sea along the Sinai Peninsula to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The continent includes Madagascar and various archipelagos. It has 54 fully recognized sovereign states (or countries), nine territories and two de facto independent states with limited or no recognition.
Africa's population is the youngest amongst all the continents; the median age in 2012 was 19.7, when the worldwide median age was 30.4. Algeria is Africa's largest country by area, and Nigeria by population. Africa, particularly central Eastern Africa, is widely accepted as the place of origin of humans and the Hominidae clade (great apes), as evidenced by the discovery of the earliest hominids and their ancestors, as well as later ones that have been dated to around seven million years ago, including Sahelanthropus tchadensis, Australopithecus africanus, A. afarensis, Homo erectus, H. habilis and H. ergaster – with the earliest Homo sapiens (modern human) found in Ethiopia being dated to circa 200,000 years ago. Africa straddles the equator and encompasses numerous climate areas; it is the only continent to stretch from the northern temperate to southern temperate zones.
Africa hosts a large diversity of ethnicities, cultures and languages. In the late 19th century European countries colonized most of Africa. Most modern states in Africa originate from a process of decolonization in the 20th century.
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MoroccoMorocco, officially the Kingdom of Morocco, is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa. Geographically, Morocco is characterized by a rugged mountainous interior and large portions of desert. It is one of only three countries (with Spain and France) to have both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines. The Arabic name al-Mamlakah al-Maghribiyah are commonly used as alternate names.
Morocco has a population of over 33.8 million and an area of 446,550 km2 (172,410 sq mi). Its political capital is Rabat, although the largest city is Casablanca; other major cities include Marrakesh, Tangier, Tetouan, Salé, Fes, Agadir, Meknes, Oujda, Kenitra, and Nador. A historically prominent regional power, Morocco has a history of independence not shared by its neighbours. Its distinct culture is a blend of Arab, indigenous Berber, Sub-Saharan African, and European influences.
Morocco claims the non-self-governing territory of Western Sahara as its Southern Provinces. Morocco annexed the territory in 1975, leading to a guerrilla war with indigenous forces until a cease-fire in 1991. Peace processes have thus far failed to break the political deadlock.
Morocco is a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament. The King of Morocco holds vast executive and legislative powers, especially over the military, foreign policy and religious affairs. Executive power is exercised by the government, while legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of parliament, the Assembly of Representatives and the Assembly of Councillors. The king can issue decrees called dahirs which have the force of law. He can also dissolve the parliament after consulting the Prime Minister and the president of the Constitutional court.
Morocco's predominant religion is Islam, while the official languages are Arabic and Berber. Moroccan Arabic, referred to as Darija, and French are also widely spoken. Morocco is an influential member of the Arab League and a part of the Union for the Mediterranean. It has the sixth-largest economy in Africa. The capital is Rabat & the largest city is Casablanca. The currency is Moroccan dirham (MAD).
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1.Morocco is one of the world’s largest producers of illicit hashish.
2. Morocco’s national animal is the Barbary lion. DNA evidence from two lion skulls found in the Tower of London prove that English royalty owned at least two Barbary lions sometime between the 13th and 15th centuries.
3. Often called the “Red City,” Marrakech, Morocco, requires sun protection and headgear of some kind all year-round, even during winter.
4. Morocco is the largest processor and exporter of sardines in the world.
5. The English word “genie” comes directly from the Arabic word djinn, denoting a spiritual being that may play some part in human affairs if called upon. In Morocco, djinns are believed to frequent places associated with water: public baths, drains, sinks, and even pots and pans.
6. The Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca is the world’s seventh largest mosque and took five years of intensive labor by over 30,000 workers and craftsman to complete in 1993. The mosque’s minaret at 689 feet (210 m) high is the world’s tallest, and it is Casablanca’s chief landmark. In terms of covered area, the Hassan II Mosque is the largest in the world and has space for 80,000 worshipers.
7. Traditionally the liver, not the heart, is considered to be the symbol of love in Morocco.
8. In Morocco, very few citizens have private baths, and a ritual purification of the body is essential before Muslims can perform prayers, so many Moroccans bath at the public hamman (bath). The hammam is segregated and, along with the local zaouia (saints’ shrine), is an important place for women to socialize.
9. The tomb of John the Baptist is said to reside in the shrine of Sidi Yahia ben Younes, situated in the Moroccan city of Oujda.
10. The Venus of Tan-Tan, a 2.36 inch (6 cm) stone carving found in a nearby river bed in 1999 in Morocco, is alleged to be between 300,000 and 500,000 years old and may be the earliest artistic representation of the human form.
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