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Settat (Arabic: سطات) is a city in Morocco between the national capital Rabat and Marrakech. Settat is located 83.9 km by road south of the centre of Casablanca, roughly an hour's drive. It is the capital of Settat Province and is its largest city in both size and population. According to the 2004 census, it had a population of 116,570 people. Settat is 370m above sea level, built on a plateau surrounded by foothills in all directions. The antiquities of Settat include the very old Ismailiya Kasbah distinguished by the statue of a steed which lies at the center of the city.
The name Settat comes from "Ait Settat" a Senhaja-Berber clan of the Houara tribe. They belonged to the Masmuda-led Almohad alliance according to al-Baydaq, Ibn Hazm and Ibn Khaldun. Their origin is south-east of the High-Atlas and they seemingly settled in the Chaouia region as a result of the Almohad advance to the north.
By choosing to build the Kasbah on the hilly site of Settat, 18th century Moroccan ruler Moulay Ismail would trigger the process of urbanization. Indeed, the building of the Kasbah brought order and security for travelers and residents supported the settlements near it. Moreover, by installing the first Caïd in the region which previously depended Caïd Doukkali and Rahmani, Moulay Ismail formalized Settat status as capital of this region.
Settat became an administrative center in the early 13th century, due to its strategic position as an unavoidable passage between North and South. Thanks to the richness of the soil, it also has prospered during the 18th and 19th centuries as an important trading center for agricultural products, attracting entrepreneurs. This was the case for Moroccan Jews who settled here en masse in the 19th century, building their own neighborhood, the Mellah, near the Kasbah.
This development was disrupted in the early 20th century during the early chaos of the French colonization when the Chaouia tribes rallied to Moulay Hafid. However, under the French protectorate, the city of Settat had unprecedented urban development, as evidenced by the population boom it experienced from 1913 to 1925. This prosperity lasted until the early fifties when, as a result of the development of Casablanca, communications, and transportation, the city of Settat and other towns in the region have entered a period of semi-lethargy.
In the early 1990s, Settat was endowed with a university L’Université Hassan 1er de Settat, an international golf course, and a racetrack. Settat has undergone large-scale urban planning from the 1970s to become an important regional center. Settat is linked to Casablanca (57 km to the north) since 2001 by the A7 highway, and Marrakech (146 km to the south) since 2007.
Cities and Towns of Settat's region
- El Borouj
- El Gara
- Oulad Abbou
- Oulad H Riz Sahel
- Oulad M'Rah
- Oulad Said
- Ras El Ain
- Sidi Rahhal Chatai
- Driss Basri (1938-2007), Minister of the Interior under Hassan II.
- Bouchaib Benlabsir (1931-1991), deputy mayor of settat city.
- Abdellah Bendhaiba (1950-), Former Wali of Doukkala-Abda, Governor (Khouribga, Nador, Taroudant) and Parliamentarian (Settat).
- Mohamed Moâtassim (1956-), adviser to King Mohammed VI.
- Ahmed Nejmeddine (1962-), President of the L’Université Hassan 1er de Settat in Settat.
- Jo Amar (1930-2009), Moroccan-Jewish singer.
- Habib Mazini, novelist.
- Maps (Map). Google Maps.
- "Recensement général de la population et de l'habitat de 2004" (PDF). Haut-commissariat au Plan, Lavieeco.com. Retrieved 22 April 2012.
- Kitab al-Ansab fi Marifat al-Ashab (The book of Genealogy for the knowledge of the companions), al-Baydaq, reviewed by Abdelwahab Benmansour, pp53, 1971
- "L’Université Hassan 1er de Settat". L’Université Hassan 1er de Settat. Retrieved 22 April 2012.
- "Settat University Royal Golf Club". Worldgolf.com. Retrieved 22 April 2012.