Rabat

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Rabat (Arabic الرباط, transliterated ar-Rabāṭ or ar-Ribāṭ, literally "Fortified Place"), is the capital and third largest city of the Kingdom of Morocco with a population of approximately 650,000 (2010). 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 with Temara the cities account for a combined metropolitan population of 1.8 million. Silting problems have diminished the Rabat's role as a port; however, Rabat and Salé still maintain important textile, food processing and construction industries. In addition, tourism and the presence of all foreign embassies in Morocco serve to make Rabat one of the most important cities in the country. Controversy surrounds sweatshop labour by major multinational corporations in the area (see Salé).

Rabat is accessible by train through the ONCF system and by plane through the nearby Rabat-Salé Airport.

Contents

History

BC to 17th century

Rabat's history began with a settlement, known as Chellah on the banks of the Oued Bou Regreg[3] 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 local 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.

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