What to Know About Morocco's Independence

Construction of Casablanca
Construction of Casablanca | © Moroccan Logic

Morocco is a country that has been through a lot, and a number of different countries, occupations, tribes, cultures and religions have influenced and changed the country’s history. The most notable moment for Moroccans was when the country gained independence, after which it began to thrive, with King Mohammed V calling it “the new era.” Here are six facts you must know about Morocco’s Independence.

The French Protectorate begins in 1912

After many months of negotiation, Abd al-Hafid, Sultan of Morocco at the time, signs the Treaty of Fez in March, 1912, making Morocco a French Protectorate. His brother, Yusef, was then proclaimed Sultan by the French administration, while Abd al-Hafid was exiled to a palace in Tangier.

Mohammed V becomes Sultan

In 1927, Yusef suddenly dies and his son Mohammed V succeeds to the throne. During his reign, he becomes known for being against Vichy’s anti-Jewish legislation, making him a real opponent to the French. Mohammed V is the grandfather of the current King of Morocco, Mohammed VI.

King Mohammed V

King Mohammed V and Hassan II demand independence

In 1947, King Mohammed V demands the independence of Morocco in his famous Tangier Speech, alongside his son and future King of Morocco, Hassan II. The speech sparked reactions and provoked riots across the country that were encouraged by the French.

King Mohammed V is arrested in 1953

The French, furious against Mohammed V, decide to arrest him and exile him and his family to Corsica. They were transferred to Madagascar in 1954 and, in 1955, he returned to Morocco, where he was once again recognized as Sultan.

Mausoleum of Mohammed V in Rabat

Mohammed V’s majestic return

November 18, 1955 was a sunny day. A day many will remember, as the future King of Morocco, Mohammed V parades through the streets and receives an extremely warm welcome from his people, who had missed him dearly.


In late 1955, Mohammed V negotiates the independence of Morocco with both the French and the Spanish, who had the northern and southern parts of the country. On March 2, 1956, Morocco is officially declared independent and, one year later, Mohammed V’s reign as king begins.

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