Points of View, Literary Reflections

Timeline of Moroccan History

About This Resource

As background to Fatima Mernissi's memoir Dreams of Trespass, the timeline of Moroccan history includes significant events from the nineteenth century to the present. The photograph shows a view of the city of Fez, located in northeastern Morocco, inland near the Rif Mountains.


1904 – 1906

France and Spain carve out zones of influence. France and Spain control Moroccan ports and collect customs duty.


With the Sultan as a figurehead, Morocco becomes a French protectorate administered by a French Resident-General and Spain maintains its protectorate.


French and Spanish troops suppress tribal rebellion in Rif mountains of rural Morocco.


Nationalists found the Istiqlal, or Party of Independence, to organize and pressure France to grant independence.

1956 – 1957

Nationalist popular agitation ends the French protectorate. Spain retains control over some coastal territory. Sultan Mohammed becomes king in 1957.

1961 – 1963

King Mohammed dies, and his son, King Hassan II, succeeds him. Moroccans hold first general elections in 1963.


Attempt by opposition leaders to depose the king and establish a republic fails.


Algeria supports Polisario efforts to establish an independent state in the Spanish Sahara. King orders the Green March to assert Moroccan sovereignty in Spanish Sahara. Spain eventually agrees to joint Moroccan-Mauritanian control of the territory of Western Sahara.


King Hassan and Algerian president hold a summit meeting as part of efforts to improve relations. In 1988, Morocco resumes full diplomatic relations with Algeria.


UN-monitored ceasefire begins in Western Sahara, but the territory’s status remains unresolved.


Morocco's first opposition-led government comes to power. The following year King Hassan II is succeeded by his son, Mohammed VI.


Morocco and Polisario talks at the UN fail. The conservative Istiqlal party wins election.


Authenticity and Modernity Party forms political alliances leading toward electoral majority in parliament. 


Popular demonstrations call for political reform and limits on the monarchy’s power. Monarchy succeeds in a referendum on constitutional reform, proving resilience during the wave of "Arab Spring" protests. Moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD) wins parliamentary elections.


PJD leader Abdelilah Benkirane heads a new coalition in parliament. Thousands participate in trade union rally in Casablanca calling for reforms.


“BBC News - Morocco Profile - Timeline”, n.d. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14123260.

How to Cite This Page

"Muslim Journeys | Item #147: Timeline of Moroccan History", November 28, 2015 http://bridgingcultures.neh.gov/muslimjourneys/items/show/147.


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