Morocco Protectorate

Map of European Protectorate of Morocco

After the Algeciras Conference of 1906 and the Treaty of Fez (1912) Spain and France assumed the role of protecting powers of Morocco dividing the northern and southern Saharan zones. From a strictly legal point of view, the treaty did not deprive Morocco of its status as a sovereign state.

Theoretically, the Sultan remained the sole source of sovereignty. He reigned, but he did not rule. Defense and external relations are controlled by France and Spain. As a protectorate the Sultan was 'assisted' by the Résident général and Alto Comisario in the French and Spanish zones. In real terms they were in absolute control of their zones. Though indirect rule was the norm for internal government, with the exception of Europeans that were tried by their own laws had consular assistance. Foreign debts, customs regulations, and currency are supervised by the State Bank of Morocco.

An International Zone of Tangier was established by the Tangier Protocol signed by France, Spain and United Kingdom, although it existed de facto since 1912.

Under terms of treaties the State Bank of Morocco was established in 1906. It was in charge of issuing banknotes (Moroccan rial, Moroccan franc and Tangier rial) backed by gold, with a 40-year term. The new state bank acted as Morocco's Central Bank, but with a strict cap on the spending of the Sherifian Empire, with administrators appointed by the national banks that guaranteed the loans: United Kingdom, France and Spain and League of Nations (in place of German Imperial, after 1920).

The right for Europeans to own land was established. Taxes were to be levied towards public works.

So Morocco was divided in:

Name Area (Km) Capital Languages Status Ruler Currency
Civil ensign of French Morocco French Protectorate of Morocco (1912) 425,229 Rabat Arabic, French and Berber Protectorate (Résident général) Sultan of Morocco Moroccan rial - Moroccan franc
Flag of Spanish Morocco Spanish Protectorate of Morocco (1912) 20,948 Tétouan (Tetuán) Arabic, Spanish and Berber Protectorate (Alto Comisario) Khalifa (personal representative of the Sultan of Morocco) Spanish peseta
Flag of International Tangier International Zone of Tangier (1912) 373 Tangier Arabic, French, Spanish, English and Berber International Zone Mendoub (personal representative of the Sultan of Morocco) Moroccan franc and Spanish Peseta, later Tangier rial

The Berbers fiercely resisted both Spanish and French incursions into Morocco. However, the Berbers had been unable to consolidate power, and had continually returned to ethnic fighting and tribal division. The Great Revolt of 1912 against French rule ended in failure because the tribal alliances created during the Great Revolt came apart within months. However the people of the Rif, a mainly mountainous region of northern Morocco under Spanish control, under the leadership of Abd el-Krim in creating a unified command and power structure. The Rif War or Rebellion was long conflict in which neither side could claim a decisive victory.

The fall of monarchy and establishment of the Spanish Republic in 1931 marked the end of the Rif War. Spain gave independence to the Rif Republic a year later.

Being the Algeciras Conference (1906) and the Treaty of Fez (1912) denounced by Spain, France initiated a talks to address pending issues and a possible independence of the French Protectorate of Morocco. A new Algeciras Conference settled several issues and paved the way for the independence of the Kingdom of Morocco (1938) and its membership in the League of Nations, previously in 1933 the Rif Republic become a member.

Name Area (Km) Capital Languages Status Currency
Flag of Morocco Kingdom of Morocco 425,229 Rabat Arabic, French and Berber Constitutional Monarchy Moroccan franc
Flag of the Republic of the Rif Rif Republic 20,948 Tétouan (Tetuán) Arabic, Spanish and Berber Republic Riffian rial

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