In 1957, the Moroccan post issued a set of three stamps commemorating the first anniversary of the independence of Morocco. Each year, Morocco celebrates its independence from the French and Spanish occupation on the 18th of November.
Occupation and division of Morocco:
In the middle of the 19th century, Morocco lost ceveral important battles with the French and Spanish troops. This led to a surge in public debts and the decline of the state’s authority over its lands and population. The decline in the state’s authority increased the ambitions of the competing colonial European powers to occupy Morocco.
In march 1912, Morocco signed a treaty with France, that established the French protectorate in Morocco. In November of the same year, a treaty between France and Spain established the Spanish protectorate. This protectorate spanned over the north of Morocco,Tarfaya (called Cape Juby), Ifni and the Moroccan Southern Sahara.
In 1924, France, Spain and the United Kingdom signed a treaty to create an international around the city of Tangiers. This zone was administred by the european consuls, USA and the Sultan of Morocco.
Resistance of the Moroccan people
Even before the beginning of occupation, Moroccans showed a fierce resistance to the increasing European influence over their country. One of the earliest revolts was the revolt of Casablanca in 1907 in which the population was protesting the presence of French agents controlling customs dutie. In addition, the population protested against the start of intense, alienating, and clearly colonial constructions.
In the north, the Mujahid Muhammed Amziane revolted in the countryside in 1909 against the harbingers of the Spanish protection. He conducted many battles against the Spanish troops, causing them heavy losses. His resistance continued until his death in 1912. The following year, Jebala region revolted, especially between Chaouen and Tetouan.
In the south, Shaikh Mohamed Mustafa Ma al-‘Aynayn, played an imminent role against the french invasion of Mauritania and Mali. He led the resistance from the city of Smara in what was then the Spanish Sahara starting from 1904 . He proclaimed that the trab al-beidan (a desert area that includes today’s Mauritania, southern Morocco, Western Sahara and large swaths of northern Mali and southern-western Algeria) was under Moroccan Sultan’s rule. Shaikh Ma al-‘Aynayn was later defeated by the French troops and died in Tiznit south of Agadir in 1910.
Other resistance movements in different parts of the country prevented France from extending its control over all of Morocco until 1934. But immediately after the end of second world war, Moroccans resumed their demand of independence.
The revolution of the King and the People
In January 1944, Moroccan dignitaries submitted a document to the French authorities demanding the end of the protection of Morocco and the restoration of its territorial integrity and full national sovereignty. On April 9, 1947, Sultan Mohammed V visited the city of Tangiers, where he delivered the Tangiers speech, which led to the escalation of the resistance to end the occupation. On August 20, 1953, Mohammed V and the royal family were exiled to Madagascar, and what is known as the revolution of the King and the People erupted in Morocco. The revolution continued until the return of the Sultan from exile and the obtention of the independence of Morocco in 1956.
Independence and reunification of Morocco
Since its independence Morocco claimed sovereignty over many other territories that were still under foreign control.
Morocco regained Tarfaya (Cape Juby) in 1958, Ifni territory in 1969, Saguia el-Hamra in 1975 and Oued Edhahab (Rio de Oro) in 1979.
Morocco continues to claim sovereignty over the Spanish controlled territories of Ceuta, Melila and the Chafarinas Islands.
The independence of Morocco was offcially in March 2, 1956, but the country decided to celebrate the independence day on th 18th of November. This date commemorates the intronization of king Mohammad V.