Morocco, formally the Kingdom of Morocco, is the northwesternmost nation in the Maghreb area of North Africa, and it is the country with the highest population in the region. It has land borders with Algeria to the east and the disputed region of Western Sahara to the south, and it overlooks the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. It also has sea boundaries with Algeria and land borders with the Atlantic Ocean. Additionally, Morocco claims the Spanish colonial outposts of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peón de Vélez de la Gomera, as well as a number of tiny Spanish-controlled islands off the coast of Morocco. Approximately 37 million people live in a land area of 446,550 km2 (172,410 sq mi) or 710,850 km2 (274,460 sq mi), which is divided into two halves. In addition to Islam being the official and prevalent religion in the country, the official languages are Arabic and Berber; the Moroccan dialect of Arabic as well as French are also commonly spoken across the country. A lively fusion of Berber, Arab, and European civilizations characterises Moroccan identity and culture. Rabat serves as the country's capital, while Casablanca serves as its largest city.
Morocco claims sovereignty of Western Sahara, which it has designated as its Southern Provinces, despite the fact that it is not a self-governing state. The outbreak of a guerrilla war between Moroccan and Mauritania forces and part of the area's people began in 1975, when Spain decided to decolonize the territory and transfer sovereignty to Morocco and Mauritania. Although Mauritania officially abandoned its claim to the region in 1979, the conflict continued to rage. In 1991, a ceasefire deal was achieved, but the question of sovereignty remained unresolved for the foreseeable future. Morocco now holds two-thirds of the area, and attempts to settle the issue have so far failed to break the political impasse that has existed for decades.