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Rabat
الرباط ar-Rabāṭ
NASA image of Rabat
Rabat is located in Morocco
Rabat
Political map showing Rabat, Morocco
Coordinates: 34°02′N 6°50′W / 34.033°N 6.833°W / 34.033; -6.833
Country  Morocco
Region Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaer
First settled 3rd century BC
Government
 - Type monarchy
 - ruler Mohammed VI
 - mayor Omar El Bahraoui
Area
 - Total 1,088,77 km2 (142.778 sq mi)
 - Land 634,5 km2 (245 sq mi)
Elevation [1] 75 m (246 ft)
Population (2009)
 - Total 1,787,307
 - Density 5,321/km2 (13,781.3/sq mi)
Website http://www.rabat.ma/

Rabat (Arabic الرباط, transliterated ar-Rabāṭ or ar-Ribāṭ), population 2 million (2007 estimate), is the capital of the Kingdom of Morocco. It is also the capital of the Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaer region.

The city is located on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the river Bou Regreg. On the facing shore of the river lies Salé, Rabat's bedroom community. Together the two cities with Témara account for a population of 2 million. Silting problems have diminished the city's role as a port; however, Rabat and Salé still maintain relatively important textile, food processing and construction industries; some are from sweatshop labor by major multinational corporations (see Salé).

In addition, tourism and the presence of all foreign embassies in Morocco serve to make Rabat the second most important city in the country after the larger and more economically significant Casablanca.

Contents

History

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BC to 17th century

Rabat's history began with a settlement, known as Chellah on the banks of the Oued Bou Regreg[2] in the third century BC. In 40 AD, Romans took over Chellah and converted it to the Roman settlement of Sala Colonia. Rome held the colony until 250 AD when they abandoned it to rulers. In 1146, the Almohad ruler Abd al-Mu'min turned Rabat's ribat into a full scale fortress to use as a launching point for attacks on Spain. In 1170, due to its military importance, Rabat acquired the title Ribatu l-Fath, meaning "stronghold of victory," from which it derives its current name.

Yaqub al-Mansur (known as Moulay Yacoub in Morocco), another Almohad Caliph, moved the capital of his empire to Rabat.[3] He built Rabat's city walls, the Kasbah of the Udayas and began construction on what would have been the world's largest mosque. However, Yaqub died and construction stopped. The ruins of the unfinished mosque, along with the Hassan Tower, still stand today.

Yaqub's death initiated a period of decline. The Almohad empire lost control of its possessions in Spain and much of its African territory, eventually leading to its total collapse. In the 13th century, much of Rabat's economic power shifted to Fez. In 1515 a Moorish explorer, El Wassan, reported that Rabat had declined so much that only 100 inhabited houses remained. An influx of Moriscos, who had been expelled from Spain, in the early 17th century helped boost Rabat's growth (principal families: Mouline [Molina], Bargach [Vargas], Balafrej [Palafresa], Moreno, Baena, Olivares [Loubaris],...).

Corsair republics

Rabat and neighboring Salé united to form the Republic of Bou Regreg in 1627. The republic was run by Barbary pirates who used the two cities as base ports for launching attacks on shipping. The pirates did not have to contend with any central authority until the Alaouite Dynasty united Morocco in 1666. They attempted to establish control over the pirates, but failed. European and Muslims authorities continued to attempt to control the pirates over many years, but the Republic of Bou Regreg did not collapse until 1818. Even after the republic's collapse, pirates continued to use the port of Rabat, which led to the shelling of the city by Austria in 1829 after an Austrian ship had been lost to a pirate attack.

20th century

French invasion

The French invaded Morocco in 1912 and established a protectorate. The French administrator of Morocco, General Hubert Lyautey,[4] decided to relocate the country's capital from Fez to Rabat. Among other factors, rebellious citizens had made Fez an unstable place. Sultan Moulay Youssef followed the decision of the French and moved his residence to Rabat. In 1913, Gen. Lyautey hired Henri Prost who designed the Ville Nouvelle (Rabat's modern quarter) as an administrative sector. When Morocco achieved independence in 1956, Mohammed V, the then King of Morocco, chose to have the capital remain at Rabat.

Post World War II

Royal Moroccan military helicopter stationed at Rabat-Salé

Following World War II, the United States established a military presence in Rabat at the former French air base. By the early 1950s, Rabat Salé Air Base was a U.S. Air Force installation hosting the 17th Air Force and the 5th Air Division, which oversaw forward basing for Strategic Air Command (SAC) B-47 Stratojet aircraft in the country. With the destabilization of French government in Morocco, and Moroccan independence in 1956, the government of Mohammed V wanted the U.S. Air Force to pull out of the SAC bases in Morocco, insisting on such action after American intervention in Lebanon in 1958. The United States agreed to leave as of December 1959, and was fully out of Morocco by 1963. SAC felt the Moroccan bases were much less critical with the long range capability of the B-52 Stratofortresses that were replacing the B-47s and with the completion of the USAF installations in Spain in 1959.[5]

With the USAF withdrawal from Rabat-Salé in the 1960s, the facility became a primary facility for the Royal Moroccan Air Force known as Air Base Nº 1, a status it continues to hold.

Culture

Rabat Downtown

The biggest place for theatre is the Theatre Mohamed V in the centre of the town. The city also has a few official galleries and an archeological museum. Many organisations are active in cultural and social issues. Orient-Occident Foundation and ONA Foundation are the biggest of these. An independent art scene is active in the city. L'appartement 22, which is the first independent space for visual arts created by Abdellah Karroum, opened in 2002.

Rabat was selected as a filming location for the war film Black Hawk Down (2001).

Main sights

Gallery

International relations

Twin towns - Sister cities

Rabat is twinned with:

Climate

Located along the Atlantic Ocean, Rabat has a mild, temperate climate, shifting from cool in winter to warm days in the summer months. The nights are always cool (or colder in winter), with daytime temperatures generally always rising about +9/10 C° (+15/18 F°) every day. The winter highs typically reach only 17.5°C (64°F) in December-January (see weather-table below).

Weather data for Rabat
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 27
(81)
31
(88)
35
(95)
38
(100)
41
(106)
41
(106)
48
(118)
45
(113)
44
(111)
39
(102)
37
(99)
28
(82)
48
(118)
Average high °C (°F) 17
(63)
18
(64)
20
(68)
22
(72)
23
(73)
26
(79)
28
(82)
28
(82)
27
(81)
25
(77)
21
(70)
18
(64)
23
(73)
Average low °C (°F) 8
(46)
8
(46)
9
(48)
11
(52)
13
(55)
16
(61)
17
(63)
18
(64)
17
(63)
14
(57)
12
(54)
9
(48)
13
(55)
Record low °C (°F) 1
(34)
1
(34)
1
(34)
4
(39)
6
(43)
7
(45)
12
(54)
10
(50)
8
(46)
7
(45)
3
(37)
0
(32)
0
(32)
Precipitation mm (inches) 66
(2.6)
64
(2.52)
66
(2.6)
43
(1.69)
28
(1.1)
8
(0.31)
0
(0)
0
(0)
10
(0.39)
48
(1.89)
84
(3.31)
86
(3.39)
477
(18.78)
Source: BBC Weather [9] 2009-08-17

See also

References

External links

Coordinates: 34°02′N 6°50′W / 34.033°N 6.833°W / 34.033; -6.833


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