Located on the Atlantic Coast approximately 90 km south of the capital city Rabat, Casablanca is the largest city, not only in Morocco, but the Maghreb. It is the nation's chief port, and the business and financial center of the country.
Originally known as Anfa, the city of Casablanca started out as a small settlement. It was renamed Casa Branca by the Portuguese who took control of the city in 1468 CE/872 AH. They rebuilt the city and changed its name to "Casa Branca" Like Casablanca, a term that came into use when Portugal became part of the Spanish Kingdom, it means "White House." In 1755/1168 AH the city was largely destroyed by an earthquake and abandoned by the European population. It was rebuilt by Sultan Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah, during whose reign the harbor became essential to sugar, tea, wool, and other trade. From 1912 to 1956 the city was part of the French Protectorate, who continued to use the Spanish name. The first governor, Marshal Lyautey developed the ambitious plan to may the city the economic capital of Morocco. In 1953 Michel Écochard devised a linear extension plan that would stretch between the ports of Casablanca and Mohammedia.
The low buildings of the medina contrast starkly with the skyscrapers of the new city. According to the World Population Review, the 2015 population of the city itself was significantly over 3 million, with the population of the metropolitan area being estimated at approximately 5 million.
3A. Moha ben Driss and Ensemble. (El Hajeb, Middle Atlas, Beni Mitr Tribe) Amimmi
Recorded in Aïn
Diab, Morocco on August 1, 1959 by Paul Bowles
antiphonal nature of this piece is difficult to hear, since
sing the same notes in the same register.
The Ain ed Diab
two excessively hot sultry days, and the tent in which they took place,
although open to
was low-ceiling and made of a heavy, soft material, so that the air inside was
stifling. Both spectators and performers
were crowded tightly together among divans and piles of cushions, and there
the strenuous dancing which took place.
Blocking the entrance was an unmoving mob trying to peer into the tent . Perhaps because of
all t his, my
general impression of the sessions was that everything would have been better if
been a little air
breathe. The music itself seem to
muffled and lifeless sonority, an impression I cannot guarantee, of course, to
be entirely objective."
The Paul Bowles Moroccan Music Collection (AFC 1960/001), American Folklife Center, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., Courtesy of the Paul Bowles Estate and Irene Hermann / Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies