Boutique & Romantic Hotels in Rabat-Salé, Morocco
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- Riad / Dar
Rabat is the capital of the Kingdom of Morocco. With a population of around 1.7 million inhabitants, it is situated on the south bank of the Bou Regreg, which separates Rabat from Salé – the city’s bedroom community.
Originally a Punic, then Roman settlement, Rabat's name alludes to the Ribat al-Fath, a fortress founded in 1150 by the Almohad ruler 'Abd al-Mu'min. During his reign the initially military encampment developed into a small town, known as al-Mahdiya, with a mosque and royal residence. Rabat is the second most important city in the country, after the larger and more economically significant Casablanca.
History Rabat's history began with a settlement, known as Chellah on the banks of the Bou Regreg estuary in the third century BC. In 40 AD, Romans took over Chellah and converted it to the settlement of Sala Colonia, which they held until 250 AD when they abandoned it to Berber rulers. In 1146, the Almohad ruler Abd al-Mu'min turned Rabat's ribat into a full scale fortress to use as a launching point for attacks on Spain. In 1170, due to its military importance, Rabat acquired the title Ribatu al-Fatah, meaning "stronghold of victory," from which it gets its current name.
The Almohad empire lost control of its possessions in Spain, eventually leading to its total collapse. In the 13th century, much of Rabat's economic power shifted to Fez. Rabat and neighboring Salé united to form the Republic of Bou Regreg in 1627 – the republic was run by Barbary pirates who used the two cities as base ports for launching attacks on shipping.
European and Muslims authorities continued to attempt to control the pirates over many years, but the Republic of Bou Regreg did not collapse until 1818. The French invaded Morocco in 1912 and established a protectorate. When Morocco achieved independence in 1956, Mohammed V, the then King of Morocco, chose to have the capital remain at Rabat.
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