The Kings Of Modern Morocco

Morocco is a country in North Africa with a recorded history that spans parts of almost three millennia. The first Moroccan state was established by the Idrisid dynasty. Documented records begin with the Phoenicians who colonized the country between the 8th and the 6th Centuries BC. In the 5th Century BC, the state of Carthage extended its dominance over the coastal areas of Morocco and ruled the region up to the 3rd Century BC, and parts of the hinterland were governed by various indigenous monarchs. The monarchs were mainly the Berbers and the rule ended in 40 AD when the territory was annexed by the Roman Empire. Around the mid 5th Century AD, the Vandals captured the region, and by the 6th Century the Byzantine Empire had taken the whole area. In the early 8th Century AD, the Muslims conquered the area, and in 740 AD the region broke away from the ruling Umayyad Caliphate. Almost half a century later Idrisid dynasty established the state of Morocco. Under the dynasty of Almohad and Almoravid, Morocco dominated the Maghreb and Spain. The dynasty of Saadi ruled the country is beginning in 1549 to 1659, and from 1667 the dynasty of Alaouites has been ruling in Morocco to date. The first king was Yusef Ben Hassa who reigned from 1912 to 1927 and the incumbent king is Mohammed VI who took the reins in 1999.

Yusef Ben Hassan

He was born in 1882 and began his reign in 1912, and from then he ruled until his death in 1927. He rose to power after inheriting the position from his brother. The king’s reign saw many uprising such as the Berber Uprising in the Rif Mountain. He changed the court from Fez to Rabat to ensure his safety. This move made Rabat the capital city of the country ever since. Amidst turbulent times, the king had many honors to his name. They include Order of Blood of Tunisia and The Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor of France which he attained in 1912.

Mohammed V

Born in 1909, the king came from the Alaouite Dynasty. During the Holocaust in 1941, he gave the opinion to treat the Jews in the same way as the Muslims. He was exiled to Madagascar from 1953 to 1955 before he was recognized as a sultan when he came back. He was a sultan for two years before becoming a king in 1957 until his death in 1961. He had three wives who bore him children one of them became his successor. An international airport, as well as avenues and universities, are named after him because of the legacy he left. He had numerous honors to his name such as the Order of the Blood of the Tunisian Republic among others.

Mohammed Ben Aarafa

He was a distant relative of King Mohamed V. He attained power from the French when Mohamed V was exiled. The Spanish Protectorate did not recognize the king’s reign. Protests against him led to a better walk to independence. He had little influence than other kings such as Mohammed V’s grandson uses the name Mohammed IV ignoring the king’s reign which had the same designated reign number.

Hassan II

Of the modern Moroccan kings, he was the longest-serving king. His reign started in 1961 till his death in 1999. He was Mohammed V’s eldest son of the second wife, Lalla. He had a good education as he attained a law degree from the University of Bordeaux. Before his reign, the French exiled him in 1953 together with his father. His reign was conservative, leading to a poor human rights record. He ensured Morocco attained multi-party political system. However, he had considerable powers from the constitution which provoked the opposition. In 1965, he led to Parliament dissolution, making him a direct ruler. However, he maintained all parliamentary democracy ways. Moreover, his rule experienced many riots and demonstrations. He survived two assassination attempts in the 1970s. During his reign, Morocco was able to gain back Ifni, which was then a Spanish protectorate. However, his foreign policies affected the country, and Algeria has had strained relations with Morocco to the present day. Tourism and agriculture played a significant role in the country’s income during his reign. However, some people accuse him of executing many civilians.

Who Was the First King of Morocco?

The first king of Morocco was Yusef ben Hassen, who was in power from 1912 to 1927.

Kings of Modern MoroccoReign
Yusef ben Hassan1912-1927
Mohammed V
1927-1953; 1955-1961
Mohammed Ben Aarafa
Hassan II
Mohammed VI (Incumbent)

About the Author

Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor. 


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