Rabat (räbätˈ) [key], city (1994 pop. 787,745), capital of Morocco, on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the Bou Regreg estuary, opposite Salé. Silting problems have diminished the city's role as a port but it maintains important textile industries. There have been settlements on the site since ancient times. It became a Muslim fortress c.A.D. 700. Prior to independence (1956), it was capital of the French protectorate of Morocco. Points of interest in Rabat are the old walls and the ruins of a large, unfinished mosque with adjoining tower (similar to the Giralda); these were built during the reign of Yakub (1184–99). Rabat was a stronghold of corsairs in the 17th and 18th cent. Muhammad V Univ. was founded in the city in 1957.