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The Portuguese used the ruins of Anfa to build a military fortress in 1515.The town that grew up around it was called Casa Branca, meaning "white house" in Portuguese.Casablanca was the site of a large American air base, which was the staging area for all American aircraft for the European Theater of Operations during World War II.In October 1930, Casablanca hosted a Grand Prix, held at the new Anfa Racecourse. Casablanca has become the economic and business capital of Morocco, while Rabat is the political capital.The town was finally reconstructed by Sultan Mohammed ben Abdallah (1756–1790), the grandson of Moulay Ismail and an ally of George Washington, with the help of Spaniards from the nearby emporium.
The leading Moroccan companies and international corporations doing business in the country have their headquarters and main industrial facilities in Casablanca.
In the 19th century, the area's population began to grow as it became a major supplier of wool to the booming textile industry in Britain and shipping traffic increased (the British, in return, began importing gunpowder tea, used in Morocco's national drink, mint tea).
Casablanca remained a modestly sized port, with a population reaching around 12,000 within a few years of the French conquest and arrival of French colonialists in the town, at first administrators within a sovereign sultanate, in 1906.
The city is still nicknamed Casa by many locals and outsiders to the city.
In many other cities with a different dialect, it is called Ad-dar Al-Bida, instead.
Casablanca is Morocco's chief port and one of the largest financial centers on the continent.