Berbers (Berber: ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⴻⵏ Imazighen/Imaziɣen) are the indigenous ethnic group of North Africa, west of the Nile Valley. They are continuously distributed from the Atlantic to the Siwa oasis, in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean to the Niger River. Historically they spoke the Berber language and local varieties of it, which together form the "Berber branch" of the Afro-Asiatic language family. Today, varieties of Maghrebi colloquial Arabic are spoken by a large portion of Berbers besides the Berber language itself. Foreign languages like French and Spanish, inherited from European occupation, are used by some educated Berbers in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria in some formal contexts such as higher education or business.
Today, most Berber-speaking people live in Algeria and Morocco. Smaller Berber-speaking populations are scattered throughout Tunisia, Libya, Mauritania, Mali and Niger, as well as large migrant communities living in Europe.
The presence of the Arabic language and dialects is due to the spread of Islam and to the immigration of some Arab tribes to the region centuries ago. A Berber person is not necessarily only someone who happens to speak Berber. The Berber identity is usually wider than language and ethnicity, and encompasses the entire history and geography of North Africa. Berbers are not a homogeneous ethnic group and they encompass a range of phenotypes, cultures and ancestries. The unifying forces for the Berber people could be their Berber language, belonging to the Berber homeland, or a collective identification with the Berber heritage and history.
Morocco (Arabic: المغرب al-Maghrib ; Berber: ⴰⵎⵕⵕⵓⴽ or ⵍⵎⴰⵖⵔⵉⴱ Ameṛṛuk or Lmaġrib; French: Maroc), officially the Kingdom of Morocco. Arabic name al-Mamlaka al-Maghribiyyah (Arabic: المملكة المغربية) translates to "The Western Kingdom". Al-Maghrib (Arabic: المغرب), or Maghreb, meaning "The West", is commonly used. The Kingdom of Morocco is the most westerly of the North African countries. It has Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines, and a rugged mountain interior.
Morocco has a population of over 32 million and an area of 446,550 km2 (172,410 sq mi); if Western Sahara is included that would be 710,850 km2 (274,460 sq mi). The political capital is Rabat, although the largest city is Casablanca; other major cities include Marrakesh, Tangier, Tetouan, Salé, Fes, Agadir, Meknes, Oujda, Kenitra, and Nador. Morocco has a history of independence not shared by its neighbours. Its rich culture is a blend of Arab, Berber (indigenous African) and also other African and European influences.