Casablanca is the largest city and the chief port of Morocco. It lies on the country's west coast, on the Atlantic Ocean. The port is the largest in north Africa and one of the largest artificial ports in the world as well as being the base for the Royal Moroccan Navy. The city's population (2009) is about 4.15 million. Casablanca and Morocco were under French rule from 1907 until independence in 1956.