Biography of Ibn Yusuf. King of Marruecos Muhammad V (1909-1961)

Sultan of Morocco from 1927 to 1957 and King of Morocco between 1957 and 1961. Born on 10 August of the year 1909, FES (Morocco), and died on 26 February the year 1961, in Rabat (Morocco). He/She was the third son of Muley Yusuf sultan.

Muhammad V collaborated with the French authorities in the first years of his reign, but at the end of the second World War changed his position to become a convinced advocate of the independence of his country, which cost him the exile between 1953 and 1955. However, the French sent him call in the wake of the serious incidents which broke out in several cities of the country, fearful of that fact in a general insurrection. After the proclamation of the independence of Morocco in 1956, he/she was crowned King.

Member of the alawite dynasty, in possession of the Moroccan Throne from the year 1660, in the year 1912 the French authorities appointed his father, Muley Yusuf, sultan of Morocco Muley Hafiz replacing, considered too dangerous by the Spanish and French authorities given nothing covert sympathy by nationalist movements, countries that had just signed, on 27 November the same yeara Joint Convention fixing the sphere of influence of both countries in Morocco. The Spanish Protectorate was limited to the Rif area of scarce natural resources and where they lived the Kabyles rebels and most dangerous of the sherifs Empire, while France held the rest of the country, where major cities and the most productive regions were. Moroccan leaders, among them the own Muhammad Ibn Yusuf, were aware of the absolute dependence and the inferiority of the Spanish domain with respect to the French. Therefore, its early policy was never directed directly against Spain, but against France.

Prince Muhammad lived paragraph of political activity and the serious social problems that rocked his country in the first years of the protectorate, relegated in the palaces of Fez and Meknes (Meknes). In addition, their possibilities of access to the Moroccan throne seem quite remote, given that he/she had two brothers older than him, so his education and political preparation was very tight. Educated in Europe, in the year 1926 accompanied his father on the first trip that made abroad, particularly in France, which marked the future Sultan in a positive way and ultimately enabled her Ascension to the throne the following year, after the death of his father. French High Commissioner Théodore Steeg imposed his choice over his two older brothers given the manifest sympathy that Muhammad felt about France and its culture, and because the young Prince never had hinted before independence glimmer or feeling contrary to the Franco-Spanish domination of Morocco. Thus, on 18 November the year 1927, Muhammad V was proclaimed sultan of Morocco.

In that same year, the Spanish Government managed to effectively dominate all the Rif after submitting to the Kabyles led by Abd el-Krim, who had been in check the Spanish army since the beginning of the protectorate. Muhammad V, without hardly any experience in Affairs of State, not controlled the Moroccan administration itself, in the hands of the all-powerful Grand Vizier Muhammad al-Moqri, man of trust held by the Paris Government. The new sultan took advantage of the first years of his Sultanate to form in the high North African politics so tangled game and to become aware of the role played by his country in the colonial interests of the major European colonial powers. He/She also made a number of trips of State, circumstance that allowed him to go progressively becoming aware of their responsibilities. Muhammad V set out to establish its effective authority throughout the country. To achieve this, their first objective was to support the Pasha of Marrakech al - Glaui against the ambitions of al - Moqri. Once the domain of Rabat, always being careful with injure French interests, the sultan also bowed the authority of al - Glaui. From the year 1936, Muhammad V had managed to extend its authority throughout Morocco, and also at that time started timidly approaching the most important nationalist circles in the country appeared in Morocco since 1930.

With respect to Spain, Muhammad V not hesitated in allying with the sector that could bring greater benefits, regardless of their ideology. So how, in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), began with the rebellion of the armies stationed in the area of the protectorate, Muhammad V helped the rebel officers by sending to the peninsula of a numerous contingent of shock troops. Muhammad V supported the rebels in the hope of achieving greater autonomy in the Spanish Protectorate and the support of the new regime to the Moroccan independence movement. These hopes were soon dashed, since the regime of general Franco flatly refused to make any kind of political or territorial concession to the sultan.

From 1944, Muhammad V supported without any reservations any independence aspiration in his country and directly confronted the French colonial administration. To demonstrate the French authorities his new stance, Muhammad V refused to apply to the Jews of Morocco anti-Semitic decrees made by the Government of Vichy, Nazi collaborationist. Thanks to promises of Americans recognize the right to self-determination to Morocco once ended the war, in 1942 supported the landing of Allied troops in the North and West of the country. But the crucial event for Muhammad V was the support which lent to Allad al - Fari so this created the nationalist Istiqlal Party.

Once finished the war, Muhammad V tried to rely on the United States and the United Nations taking advantage of the favorable situation created after the same, but France followed on its heels and adopted the posture of silence before the continuous proposals for political reforms that the sultan and his Commission of Governments was sent to Paris. In 1947, Muhammad V made his momentous speech where reflected the popular aspirations of independence in Tangier. On the occasion of a trip to Paris, in 1950, Muhammad V made a formal request before the French Parliament to repeal the Treaty signed in Fez in 1912, that Morocco was in Franco-Spanish Protectorate. Finally, his courageous ability earned him being threatened by the French with the exile authorities where it persists in the effort of supporting the pro-independence cause. Moreover, while Spain played a secondary role in this matter (the Franco regime was not recognized even by the UN), France forced Muhammad V to dissolve the Istiqlal Party and to stop its main leaders, at the same time that protected and gave coverage to the Pasha of Marrakech al - Glaui and the former Grand Vizier al - Moqri, indispensable to subtract to the Sultan as annoying.

The following year, in 1951, Muhammad V pointed out a great diplomatic success to bring to the UN the Moroccan question. The political initiative last straw of the patience of the Paris Government, who managed to confront the sultan with some Berber tribes. French general resident Guillaume, supported by al - Glaui and other influential figures in the country, named Ben Arafa Prince sultan and forced to take the road to exile, first in Corsica and Madagascar after Muhammad V. The measurement could not be more wrong for French interests. The dethroned sultan became, from the distant island of Madagascar, the symbol of the Moroccan national liberation struggle. The country was plunged into a genuine civil war between the supporters of one and another side, which made it impossible to control the internal situation of the country by France. In the midst of this chaos, Spain contributed to further worsen the situation when Franco's Government eager to break the diplomatic blockade was submitted from the year 1940, did not support the French measure and followed recognized as sultan of Morocco in exile to the banished Muhammad V.

With a submerged country into anarchy, completely uncontrolled, France had no choice but to rectify its stance and call again to the sultan, but not before committing the Government of Paris through the signing of a document to negotiations with Muhammad V to get the country's independence in the short term. On March 2, 1956, France officially recognized the independence of Morocco on the territories of its former protectorate, gesture which was followed by a month later, on 7 April, Spain to do the same with their rifian territories, with the exception of Ceuta, Melilla, Ifni and Western Sahara. However, the Government of Muhammad V pledged to guarantee the economic interests of the numerous Spanish colony that remained in the country after independence, agreements which did not hesitate to break once was safe in the Moroccan throne after realizing that successive Governments under Franco would not protest.

The most difficult problem which had to overcome Muhammad V nothing more to be named King of Morocco was the consolidate two political currents that dominated the country, the traditional and the modern, many times faced tough way. At the constitutional level, Muhammad V broke with prevailing theocratic traditions without therefore abandoning Islam as a main point through which is articulated around the country or copy the European constitutional models. Proof of this is that, in the year 1956, Muhammad V created an Assembly of notables nominated by himself, with power merely advisory, since from the moment the new monarch concentrated all power in his hands, associating with Crown Prince Hassan as Vice President. In economic and social matters, Muhammad V was opted for the principle of planning activities in the country, but without becoming a self-confessed Socialist. The objective of the biennial plan (1958-1960) and the five-year (1960-1965) spent to modernize the economy, increase national income and create enough jobs to deal with guarantees of 3% annual population growth.

To turn Morocco into a modern and powerful country in the orbit of the Muslim countries, Muhammad V needed political cooperation and economic ties of its old French metropolis. But the Algerian question of the year 1956, with the consequent rupture of relations between the two countries, and the Moroccan claims on Mauritania in 1960 marred relations with France. The relations with Spain nor improved by similar circumstances. Muhammad V undertook a tour of the State by the peninsula, but the continued claims on the Sahara, Ifni, Ceuta and Melilla ended up poisoning the hispano-marroquies relations.

In foreign policy, Muhammad V embarked on an active campaign to remove his country from the international ostracism and place it in the most relevant bodies internationally, such as the UN and the Arab League, organization that joined in 1958 as a member of weight. It also strengthened relations with various Communist and African countries.

After his death, occurred suddenly in 1961, after a small operation on the nose, he/she was succeeded by his son, Hassan II. At his death, Muhammad V had membership and majority affection of his people, and it was recognised by all as the architect of the country's independence and the creator of modern Morocco.


ALCARAZ CÁNOVAS, Ignacio: Between Spain and Morocco: witness to an era, 1923-1975. (Madrid: Catriel. 1999).

IBN AZZUZ HAQIM, Muhammad: The Moors to hoist activity: Morocco 1936. (Malaga: pomp. 1997).

MORALES LEZCANO, Víctor: The end of the French protectorate in Morocco: the challenge of the North-African nationalism (1945-1962). (Madrid: Egyptian Institute of studies Islamic. 1998).