From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Webster's Dictionary [1]

(n.) A fine kind of leather, prepared commonly from goatskin (though an inferior kind is made of sheepskin), and tanned with sumac and dyed of various colors; - said to have been first made by the Moors.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [2]

(or MAROCCO), called by the natives Maghreb-el-Aksa, i.e., "the extreme west," an empire or sultanate in the north-west of Africa. is bounded on the E. by Algeria, on the N. and W. by the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean, and on the S. by a line which runs from Cape Nun (Lat. 283 45' 43" N.) in an easterly direction through the Sahara to the Algerian frontier, in long. 2 E. It includes at the present day the former kingdoms of Maghrib, Fez, and Tafilelet, covering 190,560 English square miles, with a population of about 6,00,000, according to Behm (Geographisches Jahbuck, 1866).

The inhabitants, like those of Barbary (the entire country of North Africa, from Egypt to the Atlantic Ocean, and from the Mediterranean to the Greater Atlas) in general, consist of Moors, Berbers, Arabs, Negroes, and Jews, with various intermixtures between these races. The Arabians, who have kept their identity notwithstanding the long. period of time they have dwelt in the country, are mostly given to cultivation of the land; indeed, they are about the only agriculturists of the country. They dwell mainly in the valleys. The Moors (q.v.) are the most numerous in the cities, and are the dominant race in Morocco, numbering about 4,000,000; next to them are the Berbers, or Amaziyehs, who amount to about 3,000,000, and include the Berbers of the Riff coast and the Shelluks of the Great Atlas. Very few Europeans reside in Morocco. The state of civilization is very low, and many of the Amaziyehs are complete savages. Excepting the Jews and the few Europeans, the whole population is Mohammedan. The negroes, numbering only about 20,000, were generally brought into the country as slaves from Soudan, until the abolition of the African slave- trade.

The country is generally mountainous, the Atlas range traversing it in several parallel chains from the southwest to north-east, and sending numerous spurs to both the coast country and the desert. There are, however, many level tracts throughout Morocco, especially at its western and eastern extremities, and on the borders of the desert. Morocco is divided into four territories-Fez, Morocco, Suse, and Tafilelet. For convenience of administration, the empire is subdivided into thirty-three governments or districts ("ammala"), each under the superintendence of a "caid," whose chief duty it is to collect the imposts; but the semi- independent tribes are ruled by their own chiefs, and scarcely acknowledge the authority of the sultan. The government is purely despotic, and in the absence of written laws the will of the sultan and his subordinates decides everything. The public officials eke out their allowances by practicing extortion on those under their charge, and are in turn plundered by their superiors. The sovereign of Morocco, called by Europeans emperor, is known among his subjects as sultan, and assumes the titles of Enii ul- mumenin, or "Prince of the Believers," and Khalietallah-fi chalkihi, or "Vicegerent of God upon Earth." The title is hereditary in the male line, but does not necessarily descend to the eldest son. The revenue of the emperor consists of a tenth upon every article of consumption, as allowed by the Koran; an annual tax upon the Jews; custom-house and excise duties; tributes exacted from his own subjects, foreign states, and European merchants, in the form of presents; which last articles form the chief source of his income. The duties and tributes are so frequently changed that it is impossible to estimate their annual amount with any degree of certainty.

Among the chief products of the country are wheat, barley, rice, maize, durra, and sugar-cane; and among fruits, the fig, pomegranate, lemon, orange, and date are common; while cotton, tobacco, hemp, etc., are largely produced both for home use and export. Morocco is rich in mineral treasures; plentiful supplies of copper are obtained at Teseleght, near the source of the Assaker, and gold and silver occur in several places. Iron, antimony, lead, tin, and rock-salt, the last three in considerable quantity, are also found. Owing to the character of the country and its thin population (thirty-five to the English square mile), the country is much infested with wild animals. Lions, panthers, hyenas, wild-boars, and various kinds of deer, gazelles, etc., abound in suitable localities, and occasional devastations are committed by locusts. Ostriches are found in Tafilelet. The Moorish horses, formerly so famous, are now much degenerated. The breeding of sheep, oxen, goats, camels, mules, and asses forms an important item of national industry. Oxen and bulls are chiefly employed in field labor.

The only industrial arts prosecuted to any considerable extent are the manufacture of caps, fine silk, and leather. In the production of the last article the Moroccans far surpass Europeans. There is an important caravan trade between Morocco and Soudan, and also with Mecca and the Levant. The intercourse with Algiers has in very recent times become a source of great trouble, and there is danger of war between France and Morocco unless the emperor's subjects shall hereafter prove more considerate of French interests. The Jews of Algeria, who largely control the caravan trade, have been very unkindly treated, and their complaints have been made the subject of special diplomatic service, the end of which is not yet (April 1875). Education consists in learning to read, write, and recite portions of the Koran, and this quantum of education is pretty generally diffused among the people; but the art of printing is unknown, and the arts and sciences are at a very low ebb.

The religion of Morocco was no doubt Christian until, in the 7th and 8th centuries, the Saracens overran it, and made converts of the native population. (See Africa), in volume 1, page 94. Since this changed condition Morocco has been faithful to the Moslem faith. Yet toleration is granted in some measure to any sect which does not teach a plurality of gods; and on proper application is permitted to appropriate a place for public worship. There are Roman Catholic establishments in Morocco, Mequinez, Mogadore, and Tangier, but the number of communicants is not much over 200. Protestants are scarcely known in the country, and thus far no missionary efforts have been made in this part of Africa. Until 1814 Christians were frequently held as slaves, but since the power of France asserted itself on the African coast this abuse has terminated. Some of the practices of the natives are very peculiar. Thus through all the country there are buildings of an octagonal form called Zawiat, or sanctuaries, with an unenclosed piece of ground attached to each for the interment of the dead. In these places is a priest or saint, who superintends divine service and the burial of the dead, and who is often applied to as arbiter in disputes. In these consecrated places the wealthy inhabitants often deposit their treasures for security, and criminals find,protection against the hands of justice. Polygamy is practiced in the country generally. The emperor himself supports a large harem, but has one superior wife, who is sultaness, and three other wives. Besides these he has a large number of concubines. Many of these are Moorish women, as the Moors consider it an honor to have their daughters in the harem; some of them European slaves; several are negresses: in all there are usually from sixty to one hundred, besides their slaves and domestics. Priestesses, who are so far learned as to read and write, are employed to teach the younger part of the harem to repeat their prayers, and to instruct the older females in the principles of their religion. The other religious institutions of the empire are so similar to those of most Mohammedan countries as to render a separate account of them altogether superfluous. (See Mohammedanism).

The history of Morocco is, generally speaking, similar to that of the rest of Northern Africa (q.v.) down to the end of the 15th century. About that time it was formed into a monarchy, and, notwithstanding internal divisions, enjoyed considerable prosperity, and the confines of the empire were extended as far as Timbuctoo. This empire fell to pieces, and was succeeded in 1647 by that of the Sherifs of Tafilelet, who conquered both Morocco Proper and Fez, and united the whole country under one government. This is the present ruling dynasty. In the middle of the 17th century the empire of Morocco embraced part of the present province of Algeria, and extended south as far as Guinea, where it came into collision with the Portuguese settlements. Since the commencement of the 19th century the rebellions of the wild mountain tribes, the disturbances in Algeria, and difficulties with foreign states, caused by the aggressions of the Riff pirates, have greatly retarded the well-conceived measures of the various rulers for the development of the resources and increase in the civilization of Morocco. In 1817 piracy was prohibited throughout Morocco. In 1844 Morocco took part in the war of Abd-el-Kader against the French, in the course of which Tangier was bombarded and Mogadore occupied; but peace was concluded in the same year. In 1851 and 1856 complications took place with France concerning some French vessels which had been plundered by the Riff pirates, but in each case compensation was given by the sultan. In 1859 the Spanish government, smarting under a series of similar outrages, demanded compensation, and also an apology for an insult to the Spanish flag at Ceuta; and on the sultan's disclaiming all responsibility for these acts, war was declared by Spain October 22, 1859. A short invasion brought the sultan to terms on March 25, 1860, and a treaty was accordingly signed April 27, 1860, by which the sultan ceded great commercial and social advantages to Spaniards. Christianity was by special treaty afforded many advantages also, but of course they are confined to Roman Catholics. As a consequence of these treaties a mission-house was opened at Fez, which promises to do something, but has as yet accomplished very little for the conversion of natives to Christianity. See Specchio geografico e statistico dell' imperio di Marocco (Genoa, 1833); Calderon, Cuadro geografico, stadistico, historico, e politico del imperio de Marrucos (Madrid, 1844); Renou, Description geographique de l'empire de Maroc (Paris, 1846); Augustin, Marokko in seinen geographischen, historischen, religiosen, politischen, etc., Zustanden (Pesth, 1845); Rohlf, "Reiseberichte" in Petermann's Mittheilungen (1863-65).

The Nuttall Encyclopedia [3]

An empire in the NW. corner of Africa, three times the size of Great Britain, its coast-line stretching from Algeria to Cape Nun, and its inland confines being vaguely determined by the French hinterlands. Two-thirds of the country is desert; much of the remainder is poor pasture land; the Atlas Mountains stretch from SW. to NE., but there are some expanses of level fertile country; on the seaboard the climate is delightful, with abundance of rain in the season; among the mountains extremes prevail; south of the Atlas it is hot and almost rainless; the mineral wealth is probably great; gold, silver, copper, and iron are known to be plentiful, but bad government hinders development; the exports are maize, pulse, oil, wool, fruit, and cattle; cloth, tea, coffee, and hardware are imported; the chief industries are the making of leather, "Fez" caps, carpets, and the breeding of horses; government is extremely despotic and corrupt, and the Sultan's authority over many of the tribes is merely nominal; there is no education; the religion is Mohammedanism, and slavery prevails; there are no roads, and the country is imperfectly known; telegraph, telephone, and postal service are in European hands; the country was taken from the Romans by the Arabs in the 7th century, and has ever since been in their hands, but Berbers, Spaniards, Moors, Jews, and negroes also go to make up the population. The chief towns are Fez, in the N., a sacred Moslem city, squalid and dirty, but with good European trade, and a depôt for the caravans from the interior; and Morocco, in the S., near the Tensift River, 240 m. SW. of Fez, well situated for local and transit trade, but a dilapidated city.