On 2014-11-03, ISO issued an update to ISO 3166-2, changing the name of "Guelmim-Es Smara" to "Guelmim-Es
In 2010, a commision (Commission consultative de la régionalisation) prepared a report proposing to
reorganize Morocco into 12 regions. These regions constituted a regrouping of the existing provinces and
prefectures. In an internet search, I haven't found anything new written about these regions since 2011,
so the proposal may have been dropped.
Update 7 to Geopolitical Entities and Codes, the successor to FIPS standard 10-4, was issued with the date
2012-02-01. It changes the spelling of Guelmim-Es Smara to Guelmim-Es Semara.
Morocco will be going on daylight saving time starting in 2008. The duration of DST this year will be
2008-06-01 00:00 to 2008-09-28 00:00 local time.
FIPS 10-4 Change Notice 11, dated 2006-07-11, has assigned a FIPS code to Laâyoune - Boujdour - Sakia El
Hamra region, as shown below.
FIPS Publication Change Notice No. 10, affecting FIPS PUB 10-4, was issued on 2006-03-23. It assigns new
FIPS codes to the current Moroccan regions, superseding the province codes formerly in effect. Among the
new codes, there are none that apply to the southernmost regions. Perhaps FIPS now considers them part of
Western Sahara, but I don't have any FIPS codes for them under that heading, either.
Several people (Karem Abdalla, Jose Gavinha, and Mario Pezza) have sent me spreadsheets containing the
results of the 2004 census. I've combined their data to update the main table below. There are many
disagreements about regional areas. I have left the area columns unchanged. According to Jose Gavinha,
those areas are the same as those published by the Moroccan Direction de la Statistique at
(As of this writing, the entire Direction de la Statistique website is not responding. Recent statistical
data are available at the Haut Commisariat au
While compiling the data, I also made slight changes to the spelling of a couple of regions. The
transliterations from the Arabic are somewhat fluid.
ISO 3166-2 Newsletter Number I-6 was published on 2004-03-08. The only change to the Morocco listing is to
correct the spelling of Laayoune to Laâyoune in two places. This page has always included the accent.
ISO 3166-2 Newsletter Number I-2 was published on 2002-05-21. It replaces the former seven economic regions
with a completely new set of sixteen economic regions, shown in the following table (which I had posted about
a year earlier). The ISO standard retains the same list of second-level administrative divisions (wilayas
and provinces) as before, although a few spellings and one code are corrected. I have inserted the ISO codes
for the economic regions in the table below. The changes are also reflected on the
The CIA World Factbook says that a decentralization/regionalization law was passed by the legislature in
March 1997. The Moroccan statistics agency, Direction de la Statistique, has posted population figures
reflecting a new administrative division on its Web site. Probably this new administrative division is the
result of the law of March 1997.
On this page, I reported that the province of Aousserd was split from Oued Ed-Dahab - Lagouira, which was
correct. However, I misinterpreted it as meaning that Aousserd should be added to the table. In fact, it
is a second-level subdivision and as such it should only be listed as a secondary division (see the
Prefectures page). In correcting this error, I've also restored the HASC code for
Oued Ed-Dahab - Lagouira from
In 1900, Morocco was an independent sultanate, although several European countries had sought varying
degrees of influence. Spain, in particular, had possessed exclaves on the Mediterranean coast for many
years. Spain also claimed, and later occupied, the coastal exclave of Ifni in the south. The French and
Germans agreed on 1911-11-04 to respect French pretensions to Morocco in exchange for a French cession in the
Cameroons. In the Treaty of Fez (1912-03-30), the sultan agreed to a Spanish protectorate over two strips of
territory at the north and south ends, and a French protectorate over the rest of the country. From 1925 to
1956, Tangier, with its environs, was administered jointly by the European powers. In 1956, the sultanate
once again became independent, first in the French protectorate, then the Spanish, and finally Tangier. In
1976, Spain relinquished Spanish Sahara. Mauritania and Morocco promptly divided it between them. However,
Mauritania ceded its portion to Morocco three years later. Morocco has administered the region since then.
The United Nations intends to hold a referendum to determine the future of this territory, now known as
Western Sahara. Pending the decision, other governments have withheld recognition of Morocco's sovereignty
over Western Sahara.
Other names of country:
- Arabic: al-Mamlaka al-Maghrebia (formal)
- Danish: Marokko
- Dutch: Marokko, Koninkrijk Marokko (formal)
- English: Kingdom of Morocco (formal)
- Finnish: Marokko
- French: Maroc m
- German: Marokko n
- Icelandic: Marokkó
- Italian: Marocco m
- Norwegian: Marokko, Kongeriket Marokko (formal)
- Portuguese: Marrocos n (mp in Brazil), Reino m de Marrocos (formal)
- Russian: Королевство Марокко (formal)
- Spanish: Marruecos, Reino m de Marruecos m (formal)
- Swedish: Marocko
- Turkish: Fas Krallığı (formal)
Origin of name:
from Medieval Latin Morroch, which came in turn from the city name Marrakech. Arabic name was
al-Maghreb: the west, al-aksa: farthest
Morocco is divided into sixteen regions.
|Chaouia - Ouardigha|
|Doukkala - Abda|
|Fès - Boulemane|
|Gharb - Chrarda - Béni Hssen|
|Guelmim - Es-Semara|
|Laâyoune - Boujdour - Sakia El Hamra|
|Marrakech - Tensift - Al Haouz|
|Meknès - Tafilalet|
|Oued Ed-Dahab - Lagouira|
|Rabat - Salé - Zemmour - Zaer|
|Souss - Massa - Draâ|
|Tadla - Azilal|
|Tanger - Tétouan|
|Taza - Al Hoceima - Taounate|
Note: Morocco claims sovereignty over Western Sahara. Other governments have withheld
recognition of this claim, pending a referendum in the territory. The regions of Laâyoune - Boujdour -
Sakia El Hamra and Oued Ed-Dahab - Lagouira correspond roughly to Western Sahara.
Morocco uses five-digit postal codes. The first two digits indicate the prefecture or province.
See the Prefectures of Morocco page.
The regions are subdivided into provinces and prefectures. Those, in turn, are subdivided into cercles,
municipalities or communes urbaines (urban communes), and (in some metropolitan areas) arrondissements. The
cercles are subdivided into communes rurales. The municipalities and arrondissements should probably be
thought of as fourth-level subdivisions, on the same level as communes rurales. Karem Abdalla reports that
Morocco is introducing a new level of administration between the regions and the provinces/prefectures,
called wilaya't (lands).
Morocco does not include the Spanish places of sovereignty in Africa, namely, the coastal cities of Ceuta
and Melilla with small surrounding enclaves, and the islands of Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera, Peñón de
Alhucemas, its nearby neighbors Isla de Mar and Isla de Tierra, and the Islas Chafarinas (Isabel II,
Congreso, and del Rey).
Origins of names:
- Agadir: Touareg for wall, possibly from Semitic gadir: walled place
- Casablanca: Spanish casa: house, blanca: white, a calque of the city's Arabic name, Dar el
- El Jadida: Arabic for the new one, so named when the city was rebuilt
- Essaouira: from Arabic for the beautiful
- Fès-Médina: from a Berber word for springs + Arabic madinat: city
- Marrakech: Classic Arabic marrukuch: the well adorned one; or from Berber for "sons of Kutch"; or
Masmooda for "do not linger"
- Rabat: after the city, originally ar-Ribat al-fath: the stronghold of victory
- Tétouan: Berber titawin: little wells
- Note: The situation in Morocco is particularly messy. From independence to 1997, Morocco was divided
into provinces and prefectures. They are supposed to be at the same administrative level. However, the
prefectures are much smaller in area, as each one contains only one or two cities and their suburbs. Many
sources don't even list the prefectures. The numbers of provinces and prefectures have grown fairly steadily
over the years. This history is only an approximation to the changes that have occurred. The treatment of
prefectures is incomplete.
- In 1900, Morocco was an independent sultanate, although several European countries had sought varying
degrees of influence. Spain, in particular, had possessed exclaves on the Mediterranean coast for many
years. Spain also claimed, and later occupied, the coastal exclave of Ifni in the south.
- 1911-11-04: France and Germany agreed to respect French pretensions to Morocco in exchange for a French
cession in the Cameroons.
- 1912-03-30: Morocco divided into a French protectorate and a Spanish protectorate. The Spanish
protectorate consisted of strips of territory at the north and south ends of the country.
- 1925-06-01: Tangier established as an international zone (effective date).
- ~1946: French protectorate consisted of the regions of Agadir, Casablanca, Fès, Marrakech, Meknès,
Oujda, and Rabat. Spanish protectorate consisted of the regions of Gomara, Kert, Lucus, Rif, and Yebala
(northern area) and the Southern Protectorate of Morocco.
- 1956-04-07: Morocco became independent. The Spanish protectorate ended on this date; the French
protectorate had ended earlier in the same year.
- 1956-10-29: Status of Tangier changed from international zone to province of Morocco.
- ~1957: Morocco divided into provinces. The provinces of Agadir, Beni-Mellal, Casablanca, Fès,
Marrakech, Mazagan, Meknès, Ouarzazate, Oujda, Rabat, Safi, Tafilalet, and Taza corresponded to French
Morocco. The provinces of Chauen, Larache, Nador, Rif, Tangier, and Tetuan corresponded to Spanish Morocco
(the northern protectorate). Southern Protectorate of Morocco became the province of Tarfaya.
- 1960: The administrative decrees of 1959 and 1960 provided that Morocco's primary divisions were the
provinces and prefectures. They were subdivided into cercles (circles), which were further subdivided into
circonscriptions rurales and circonscriptions urbaines (rural and urban constituencies). The rural
constituencies were subdivided into communes; the urban into arrondissements.
- 1962-07-09: Name of Kenitra (the city) officially changed to Mina Hassan Tani (Port Hassan II, in honor
of the king); however, the new name has not been in use.
- 1965-01: Rabat province split into Rabat prefecture and Kenitra province.
- 1965-06-15: Safi province split from Marrakech.
- ~1967: Name of Tafilalet province and its capital changed to Ksar es Souk. Name of Rif province and
its capital changed to Al Hoceïma. Chauen, Larache, and Tetuan provinces merged to form Tétouan. Mazagan
province merged with Casablanca.
- 1969-06-30: Ifni restored to Morocco by Spain, becoming part of Agadir province.
- ~1970: El Jadida (formerly Mazagan), Khouribga, and Settat province split from Casablanca; name of
Rabat province changed to Rabat-Salé.
- 1971-06-23: By decree 1-71-71, dated 1971-06-16 but published a week later, a new level of local
government was created. Seven "administrative regions" were formed by combining the existing 19 provinces
and two prefectures, which remained in place as secondary divisions. The regions were as follows:
|6,931,418||41,500||El Jadida, Beni-Mellal, Casablanca*, Khourigba, Settat|
|3,042,310||43,950||Al Hoceïma, Fès, Taza|
|5,646,716||29,955||Kenitra, Rabat-Salé*, Tangier, Tétouan|
|1,903,790||79,210||Ksar es Souk, Meknès|
|3,234,024||394,970||Agadir, Ouarzazate, Tarfaya|
- ISO: region codes from ISO 3166-1 (adopted much later).
- Population: 1994-09-04 census. Source: Europa World Year Book 2001.
- Provinces: or prefectures (*).
- Capitals: capitals of provinces had the same name as the
provinces, except that Tan Tan
was the capital of Tarfaya.
- 1973-08-13: El Kelâa des Sraghna province split from Marrakech. Khémisset province split from Rabat.
Khénifra province formed from parts of Ksar es Souk and Meknès.
- 1974-01-14: Figuig province formed from parts of Ksar es Souk and Oujda.
- 1976: Spain relinquished control of Spanish Sahara. Mauritania and Morocco promptly divided it between
them. This action was not recognized as legal by the international community. The United Nations intends to
hold a referendum to determine the future of this territory, now known as Western Sahara. Pending the
decision, other governments have withheld recognition of Morocco's sovereignty over Western Sahara.
- ~1978: Azilal province formed from parts of Beni-Mellal and Marrakech. Ben Slimane province split
from Casablanca. Boulemane province formed from parts of Fès and Taza. Chefchaouen (formerly Chauen)
province split from Tétouan. Essaouira province split from Safi. Taounate province split from Fès. Tata
province formed from parts of Agadir and Ouarzazate. Tiznit province split from Agadir.
- 1979: Mauritania ceded its portion of Western Sahara to Morocco.
- ~1980: Tarfaya province split into three parts. Two of the parts became Guelmim and Tan-Tan
provinces. The third part merged with Laâyoune province in Western Sahara. Since Morocco's sovereignty
over Western Sahara is not internationally recognized, we must regard this third part as a separate
Laâyoune province in Morocco.
- 1981: Casablanca divided into five prefectures: Aïn Chock-Hay Hassani, Aïn Sebâa-Hay Mohammedi,
Ben M'sick-Sidi Othmane, Casablanca-Anfa, and Mohammedia-Zenata.
- ~1982: Ifrane province split from Meknès. Name of Ksar es Souk province and its capital changed to
- ~1986: Sidi Kacem province split from Kenitra. Taroudannt province split from Agadir.
- The changes from ~1990 to ~1997 may or may not be completely accurate, but they do help account for some
of the discrepancies in the standards.
- ~1990: Larache province split from Tétouan. Rabat-Salé province split into three prefectures:
Rabat, Salé, and Skhirate-Témara.
- ~1993: Agadir province split into Chtouka-Aït Baha province and Agadir-Ida-Tenane and Inezgane-Aït
Melloul prefectures. Meknès province split into El Hajeb province and Meknès-El Menzeh prefecture.
Oujda province split into Berkane-Taourirt, Jerada, and Taourirt provinces and Oujda-Angad prefecture.
Assa-Zag province split from Guelmim. Chichaoua and Al Haouz provinces split from Marrakech. Sefrou province
split from Fès.
- ~1994: Mohammedia-Zenata prefecture split into Al Fida-Derb-Sultan, Méchouar de Casablanca, Mohammedia,
and Sidi Bernoussi-Zenata (possibly with annexations from other prefectures). Marrakech split into
Marrakech-Ménara province and Marrakech-Médina and Sidi-Youssef-Ben-Ali prefectures. Fès province
split into Fès el Jadid-Dar Dbibagh, Fès-Médina, and Zouagha-Moulay Yacoub prefectures.
Al Ismaïlia prefecture split from Meknès-El Menzeh, El Hajeb, or parts of both.
- ~1997: Berkane-Taourirt province split into Berkane and Taourirt.
- 1997-03: Sixteen regions created as primary subdivisions, relegating provinces and prefectures to the
Other names of subdivisions:
See Prefectures of Morocco page under this heading. Some region names include
province or prefecture names. Here are other names of the 1971 regions:
- Central: Center (variant); Centre (French)
- Eastern: East (variant); Est, Oriental (French)
- North-Central: Centre-Nord (French); North Center (variant)
- Northwestern: Nord-Ouest (French); North-West (variant)
- South-Central: Centre-Sud (French); South Center (variant)
- Southern: South (variant); Sud (French)
- Tansift: Tensift (variant)