Morocco History Part VI

By | January 27, 2022

Germany was quick to point out that the French occupation of Fez was incompatible with the Algeciras Act; but, by the work of A. v. Kiderlen-Waechter, did not stiffen in the attitude assumed in 1905 and showed himself inclined to leave a free hand to France against remuneration. In Paris, however, there was still reluctance to enter into this order of ideas. On July 1, 1911, the German government sent the Panther gunboatin Agadir, on the pretext of protecting his subjects there. This move produced intense emotion in France. After negotiations which lasted several months, an agreement was reached on November 4, 1911: Germany recognized the political preponderance of France over Morocco and declared that it would not even oppose a possible protectorate; on the other hand, he obtained a part of the French Congo (275,000 sq. km.), adjacent to his colony of Cameroon, which thus acquired an outlet on the Congo and Ubanghi.

Using this, France imposed a barely concealed protectorate on Mūlāy Ḥafīd (March 30, 1912); but a new revolt of the natives followed in Fez, of which various French, military and civilian victims, fell. Mūlāy Ḥafīd left in exile and was replaced by his brother Mūlāy Yūsuf. On October 28, 1912, an agreement was signed in Paris by which Italy and France confirmed their mutual intention not to oppose any obstacle to the measures that the first took in Libya and the second in Morocco. On November 27, a new Franco-Spanish convention specified the respective situation in the sheriff’s empire and established that the territory of Tangier would be endowed with a special regime to be defined later.

According to, France then began operations to occupy all of its area, but had to interrupt them with the world war. The resumption, after the peace, and completed them in 1923. With the Treaty of Versailles (June 28, 1919) Germany renounced all the rights that belonged to Morocco by virtue of the act of Algeciras and the agreements with France of the February 9, 1909 and November 4, 1911. The Paris Convention of December 18, 1923, concluded by France, Spain and England, defined the status of Tangier. Italy, having been excluded from it, refused to recognize it and instead participated in the new statute concretized with the Paris Convention of 25 July 1928.

After the operations of 1909-11 the Spaniards had gradually enlarged the areas of occupation around their coastal bases and had entered the Rif as far as Xauen (S. di Tetuán) and Tafersit (O. di Melilla); their efforts tended to unite the various areas among themselves, overcoming the resistance of the interposable of the interior, then headed by the pretender to the Moroccan throne ar-Raisūlī. In 1921 the Spanish high commissioner gen. Berenguer, who since September 1920 brought together all civil and military powers in Morocco, announced forthcoming military operations to end it with ar-Raisūlī and to reach the junction of Tetuán and Xauen with Larache and of Melilla with Alhucemas. In fact, in May and June the forces of Larache tried to reach Xauen, while in early June the gen. Silvestre, continuing the advanced by Melilla on Alhucemas, it sent a column on Morocco Abarrán, on the chain of the promontory of Cape Quilates; but the column, attacked by surprise with the complicity of rebellious indigenous troops, was destroyed by the Riffani who then attacked Sidi Dris. This episode, aggravated by the desertion of the indigenous troops, was the prelude to a much more serious disaster. In fact, around July 20, the news suddenly arrived that the entire body of gen. Silvestre had been attacked by surprise and overwhelmed by the Riffani led by the Emir Abd el-Krim (v.).

In short, the rebels reached Zeluán and Nador, which were besieged, while a column of troops gathered in the retreat fell back on Morocco Arruit, where they entrenched themselves resisting; the Spaniards thus found themselves in the same conditions as in 1909, with the aggravating circumstance of three besieged garrisons and without hope of rescue and all the material of the expeditionary force lost. On 6 August Zeluán and Nador surrendered and some time later also Morocco Arruit, without the Spaniards having been able to help those positions. In the western area, following the Melilla disaster, operations were suspended and the situation remained stationary. About 60,000 men concentrated in Melilla in August, the offensive was resumed on 12 September with the occupation of Zoco el Arbáa first, then of Nador (23), Zeluán, Atlaten (2 October), Morocco Arruit (24 October). Thus surrounded the Gurugú massif, the Spaniards set about occupying it to then reach the Uad Kert line. Meanwhile the Riffani at the end of October tried to cut communications between Tetuán and Xauen by forcing the Spaniards to send some columns to protect the threatened area. In November Taxuda and Ras el-Medua, respectively to S. and O. of Morocco Gurugú, were occupied, while a column reached the Moulouya. In early December, all the populations between Moulouya and Kert were again subdued, and communications re-established. Thus ended this campaign born from a disaster, costing money and losses in proportions much higher than the value of the object, and closed after having achieved results almost equal to those of the 1909 campaign; With the’ aggravating that about 15,000 Spanish prisoners still remained in the hands of the Moroccans. A policy of pacification followed by the Spanish government, also worried by the internal complications caused by the unpopular and costly war and by frequent failures, and a civilian high commissioner was replaced by the military one.

Morocco History 6