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Al Hoceima is a city in the north of Morocco, on the northern edge of the Rif Mountains and on the Mediterranean coast. It is the capital of Al Hoceima Province. It is situated in the territory of the Ayt Weryaghel and Ibeqquyen tribes of the Rif, who speak Tarifit Berber, locally called Tamazight.NameThe name Al Hoceima is paradoxically an arabization of what was already an Arabic derived word introduced by the Spaniards since it comes from a Spanish word which is itself Andalusi in Arabic origin . After independence, the Moroccan government established an Arabized name for Alhucemas coming up with Al Hoceima, following standard French spelling.HistoryThe Spanish started to develop Al Hoceima around 1925. General Sanjurjo landed with his troops on the beach of Al Hoceima during the Rif Rebellion and claimed the territory for Spain. He named the territory Villa Sanjurjo, after himself. Many locals still refer to the city as "Villa".The Spanish troops built houses, schools and hospitals above the beach, creating the beginnings of the town. In the 1920s and 1930s, the town had almost no growth in population. Its name changed from Villa Sanjurjo to Villa Alhucemas, and the few streets above the beach were still occupied by mainly Spanish soldiers and their families. The first mayor was Florian Gómez Aroca.After Morocco gained its independence in 1956, Al Hoceima developed quickly, and the Moroccan government changed its name from the Spanish Villa Alhucemas to Al Hoceima, a surprising Arabization of a Spanish word of Arabic origin. (Alhucema originally comes from the Arabic word Huzama).Take a peek at our international travel planner: Al Hoceima and its charms laid bare and easily scheduled.
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