Morocco / Cities and Towns /
Capital of Morocco with 1.2 million inhabitants (2005 estimate). The city of Sale, north of Rabat, functions as a suburb, driving the population over 1.6 million inhabitants.
Kasbah de Oudaļas.
The royal palace.
It is also capital of Rabat-Sale-Zemmour-Zaer region with 2.4 million inhabitants (2005 estimate) and an area of 9,580 km².
Rabat is situated on the Atlantic at the outlet of the river, Oued Bou Regreg, which divides Rabat from Sale.
Rabat's industries include the manufacture of textiles, processed food and building materials. Tourism is also an important source of income, together with the revenue from administering all of Morocco. Rabat is a commercial and administrative centre, yet this is challenged by the more important economic centre, Casablanca, 80 km southwest.
Rabat has many historical monuments and some of Morocco's most important museums. The city is also the home of the main Royal Palace (built 1950). Rabat has a university (established 1957) and other important learning institutions. All foreign embassies in Morocco are located to Rabat.
3rd century BCE: A settlement is founded about 1 km from the Atlantic coast on the southern green slopes south of Oued Bou Regreg. The place is eventually named Chellah.
Around 40 CE: Romans take control over Chellah, and name it Sala Colonia.
Around 250: Romans leave Sala Colonia, and Berber rulers
10th century: A ribat is established by Muslim warriors at the cliff, 100 metre south of the outlet of Oued Bou Regreg.
1146: The ribat is turned into a fortress by the Almohad ruler, Abdu l-Mu'min, with the intention of using it as launching point for jihads against Spain.
1170: Receives the name Ribatu l-Fath, meaning "stronghold of the victory".
1190s: The Almohad ruler, Yaqubu l-Mansur, has the walls built, which today surround the northern parts of modern Rabat. Yaqub also makes it his new capital.
1196: Construction is begun on a large mosque, but after Yaqub's death just a few years later, it ceases. Today, the lower parts of the columns still stand, together with the completed minaret.
13th century: Decline of Rabat begins, and economic power in northern Morocco is moved to Fez.
1609: Large immigration of Moors from Andalucia, bringing vitality to the tiny town. From now on it is known as Sale Jadida.
1627: The Republic of Bou Regreg is established. It quickly develops into a centre of large scale pirate activities in the Mediterranean and the North Atlantic. The pirates even travel as far away as Britain and Ireland.
1666: The Alaouites dispatch a governor in Rabat, in an attempt to get control over the rebellious city.
1672: Sultan Moulay Ismail starts heavy taxation on the pirates, in order to limit their profits.
1768: European nations start acting together against the piracy, resulting in a strong reduction of pirates towards the end of the century.
1818: The Republic of Bou Regreg falls apart, although some piracy continues to be staged from Rabat.
1829: Rabat and other coastal towns are shelled by Austria, because of the loss of an Austrian ship to the pirates.
1912: Rabat replaces Fez as capital, when Morocco is turned into a French protectorate.
Resident General in Morocco, Louis Hubert Lyautey, starts building a French style city which today is the main area of Rabat.
1956: Morocco gains its independence and Rabat continues to be the capital.