On this day March 30, 1912

Sultan Abdelhafid signed the Treaty of Fez (Arabic: معاهدة فاس‎), gave up the sovereignty of Morocco to the French, making the country a protectorate.

Sultan Abdelhafid of Morocco

Sultan Abdelhafid of Morocco

Germany recognized French and Spanish territories in Morocco, receiving in return territories in the French Equatorial African colony of Middle Congo (now the Republic of the Congo).

This land, known as Neukamerun, became part of the German colony of Kamerun, part of German West Africa, although they only lasted briefly until they were captured by the allies in World War I.

The area is partly marsh land where sleeping sickness is pervasive. Also as part of the treaty, Germany ceded France a small area of territory to the south-east of Fort Lamy, now part of Chad.

Spain also gained some land from Northern Morocco which became Spanish Morocco. By the agreement signed with France and Spain in November that year, Spain assumed a protectorate over Tangiers and the Rif, Ifni on the Atlantic coast in the southwest, as well as over the Tarfaya area south of the Draa river, where the sultan remained nominally the sovereign and was represented by a vice regent at Sidi Ifni under the control of the Spanish high commission.

Private agreements among the United Kingdom, Italy and France in 1904, made without consulting the sultan, had divided the Maghreb into spheres of influence, with France given Morocco. In Morocco, the young sultan Abdelaziz acceded in 1894 at the age of ten, and Europeans became the main advisors at the court, while local rulers became more and more independent from the sultan. The sultan was deposed in 1908. Moroccan law and order continued to deteriorate under his successor, Abdelhafid, who abdicated in favour of his brother Yusef after signing the Treaty of Fez.

The two zones of the Spanish protectorate had few paved roads and were separated by the Bay of Al Hoceima, which the Spanish called Alhucemas; the Treaty of Fez granted the concession for exploitation of the iron mines of Mount Uixan to the Spanish Rif Mines Company, which was also given permission to build a railroad to connect the mines with Melilla.

The treaty was perceived as a betrayal by Moroccan nationalists and led to the War of the Rif (1919–26) between the Spanish and the Moroccan Rif and the Jibala tribes, whose leader Abd el-Krim soon emerged and founded a short-lived nationalist Republic of the Rif.


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