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Why is Casablanca called Casablanca?

Nicknamed “Casa” by its inhabitants, Casablanca is known as Morocco’s largest city. It is also the economic center of the country, thanks to the large multinational companies that have set up shop here. But do you know where its Hispanic-sounding name comes from? To find out, let’s take a trip back in time.

The Portuguese occupation in the early 15th century…

Past conquests and occupations leave their mark on a country’s heritage. In Morocco’s colonial history, Portuguese domination began in 1415, when the port city of Ceuta was taken. After this first incursion into Moroccan territory, the Portuguese intended to control maritime trade in the region and establish new trade routes to West Africa and the Indies. As a result, forts and trading posts gradually dotted the Moroccan coast. Among the towns that were taken by storm was Anfa. An ancient town on the Atlantic coast, near present-day Casablanca, which the Portuguese renamed “Casabranca”.


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And the Spanish one!

The Spanish were also involved in the economic conquest of the Moroccan coast in the 15th century. They launched several military expeditions in northern Morocco and occupied the town of Melilla, east of the Strait of Gibraltar, in 1497.

These various invasions explain the origin of the name “Casablanca”, preceded by “Casabranca”. It is made up of two parts: “Casa”, meaning house in Portuguese and Spanish, and “blanca”, meaning white in Spanish. One hypothesis is that this name was given to the town because of a small white mosque that existed at the entrance to the port at the time.


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Publié le 29 February 2024