Casablanca (Arabic: Dar al-Baida), Morocco, the nation's largest city and one of the most populous in Africa. It is in northern Morocco on the Atlantic coast southwest of Rabat, the capital. Casablanca is Morocco's leading seaport and chief manufacturing, commercial, and financial center. The city's downtown area is noted for its palm-lined squares and for buildings that combine French and Moroccan architectural styles. The minaret of the Grand Mosque Hassan II is a major landmark. Hassan II University is in the city.
Casablanca dates from the late 18th century, when Sultan Mohammed II built on the site of previous Portuguese and Berber settlements. The city was soon opened to foreign trade, attracting European traders and settlers. The port was greatly expanded in the 20th century while under French rule. Growth of the city has been rapid since Morocco gained independence in 1956.