Every year, Morocco commemorates the day when French authorities exiled the late King Mohammad V, grandfather of the current King Mohammed VI, on August 20, 1953, to Corsica. He was later exiled to Madagascar on January 1954.
“I remember, with reverence and emotion, the anniversary of the royal family’s exile in Madagascar—a country I visited last year,” said King Mohammed VI in last year’s speech for the 64th anniversary of the King and People’s Revolution Day.
“The Revolution of the King and the People … is more than a national, epic event which brought together a valiant king and a resolute people, seeking Morocco’s independence and the reinstatement of its legitimate leader,” the King added.
According to Moroccan historical accounts, French authorities exiled Morocco’s king because he refused to sign a “pact of surrender” which asked for French domination over Morocco.
The French colonial authorities tried to place Mohammed Ben Arafa, a Moroccan sultan born in 1886 in Fez on the Alawite throne after exiling King Mohammed V along with the royal family, and died in 1976 in Nice,
During the exile period, the kingdom’s armed resistance rose against the French colonists, especially from Morocco’s National Liberation Army. After two years of revolution and resistance, King Mohammed V returned triumphantly return to reign as King.
On November 16, 1955, King Mohammad V returned to Morocco after a 27-month period of exile and received overwhelming support from Moroccan people.
After the King’s arrival, the colonial authorities were forced to enter into negotiations with Morocco over independence and had no choice but to accept Moroccans’ demand for freedom.
One year after the King’s return, Morocco gained its independence from the French occupation in March 1956. At that point, the French colonists left the kingdom’s territories.
“We need to draw inspiration today from the values of sacrifice, loyalty and generosity underpinning that event so as to continue to be torchbearers of that revolution, domestically and continentally,” King Mohammed VI said in his 2017 speech.
The King and People’s Revolution Day is a significant event in Morocco’s history. It is an occasion to remember the struggle of Morocco’s people and King Mohammed V against the French occupation and to pay tribute to Moroccans who devoted their lives to liberate the kingdom from colonialization.