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The Moroccan Monarchy

The royal 'Alawi dynasty has reigned over Morocco since the 17th century. In the early 20th century, the European powers vied for power in Morocco. Sultan Abd al-Aziz IV displeased Moroccans by cooperating with the Europeans and was deposed in 1908. His brother, Abd al-Hafiz, took the throne but abdicated after the kingdom became a French protectorate in 1912. He was succeeded by his brother Yusuf.

King Hassan II
King Hassan II of
Morocco in 1966
Photo by Bundesarchiv, B 145 Bild-F022046-0011
/ Wegmann, Ludwig / CC-BY-SA license

Yusuf's son Mohammed V, who became sultan in 1927, was a widely respected nationalist. He was deposed by the French in 1953, but the French returned Mohammed V to his throne in 1955. Morocco became independent the following year and Mohammed took the title of king.

Mohammed V died in 1961 and was succeeded by his son, King Hassan II. Although he was accused of human rights abuses, Hassan II is credited with maintaining unity in Morocco and working toward peace in the Middle East. He survived many attempts to topple him from his throne and permitted some democratic reforms.

King Hassan died in 1999 and was replaced as monarch by his son, King Mohammed VI. Like his father, King Mohammed had almost complete control over Morocco's government. After protests in 2011, the king proposed a new constitution restricting his powers. Voters accepted his plan, but critics said the changes did not go far enough and that the king still retained most of his power.

The king and his wife, Princess Lalla Salma, married in 2002. Their son, Crown Prince Moulay Hassan, was born in 2003, followed by a daughter, Princess Lalla Khadija, in 2007. In 2018 it was reported that the couple had divorced.

Books About Morocco

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Morocco: From Empire to Independence by C. R. Pennell. Traces Morocco's key moments, from the Phoenician invasion in the 12th century BC to the Saharan conflicts, paying particular attention to the 18th through 21st centuries.

Historical Dictionary of Morocco by Thomas Kerlin Park. This concise dictionary includes descriptions of Morocco's important people, places, events, and institutions as well as its society, culture, economy and religions.

Royalty & Monarchy

Ahmad al-Mansur by Richard L. Smith. Biography of a 17th century sultan of Morocco, whose policies combined a vision of the future with a longing for the past.

Morocco Under King Hassan by Stephen Hughes. Hassan II was the father of Morocco's current king. This book, written by a foreign correspondent resident in Morocco since 1952, is an impartial chronicle of the major events during Hassan's reign, which lasted over 30 years despite attempts to overthrow him.

Moroccan Monarchy and the Islamist Challenge: Maintaining Makhzen Power by Mohamed Daadaoui. An examination of the Moroccan monarchy's religious authority and its use of rituals of power.

Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail by Malika Oufkir and Michele Fitoussi. At the age of 5, Malika Oufkir was adopted by King Mohammed V of Morocco and sent to live at the royal court. During the reign of Mohammed V's successor, Hassan II, Malika, her mother, and her five siblings were arrested and imprisoned. She tells her story in this mesmerizing book. (Review © Amazon.com)

Politics in Morocco: Executive Monarchy and Enlightened Authoritarianism by Anouar Boukhars. How the rule of King Mohamed VI is maintained and legitimised by political and social networks.


National Geographic Traveler: Morocco by Carole French. This travel guide includes information on Morocco's history and culture.


The Sultan's Wife by Jane Johnson. In 1677, a scribe in the court of cruel Moroccan sultan Moulay Ismail joins forces with a captive Englishwoman in a battle for survival.

The Fourth Queen: A Novel by Debbie Taylor. The story of one woman's struggle for power and love in the court of the 18th century emperor of Morocco.


The World of Juba II and Kleopatra Selene: Royal Scholarship on Rome's African Frontier by Duane W. Roller. The first English-language study of Juba II (48BC - AD 23), ruler of the African kingdom of Mauretania, and his wife Cleopatra Selene. (Mauretania was located in what is now Morocco and Algeria.)

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Related Topics

African Royalty
History of Mali and Songhai
Royalty in the Middle East
Ancient Rome
World Royal News
World Royal History

Other Websites

CIA World Factbook: Morocco
Country Reference: Morocco Government
The Alawi Dynasty - Brief History
World Statesmen - Morocco
BBC Obituary: King Hassan II
Hassan II: A Monarch Oriented Toward the West

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