Capital and industrial port of Morocco, on the Atlantic coast, 177 km/110 mi west of Fès; population (2004) 1,622,900 (Rabat-Salé urban area). It is situated on the Bou Regreg River, opposite Salé. Industries include textiles, asbestos, carpets, pottery, leather goods, fishing; carpets, blankets, and leather handicrafts are also important, and other exports include skins, wax, cork, slippers, and beans. Founded in 1190, it is named after its original ribat or fortified monastery. From 1912 Rabat was the capital of the French protectorate of Morocco and became the capital of the newly-independent state of Morocco in 1956.
Rabat is an educational centre, and has an Institut de Hautes Études Marocaines and the Institut Scientifique Cherifien, for research work. The Muhammad V University was founded in 1957.
Architecture Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean is the Ouadaia Kasbah approached via the Ouadaia Gate. It was built by the 12th-century Almohad sultan Yakub al-Mansur, who also built the half-finished Hassan Tower, 44 m/144 ft high. Near the tower are the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Sala, with tombs of the Almohad and Marinide sultans. There are also barracks, an arsenal, and an aqueduct.