100 Years Ago Today

A History Of Events And Happenings From Exactly One Hundred Years Ago

French Troops Kill 600 Moroccan Rebels

The Second Moroccan Crisis in 1911 pitted France against Germany. England was dragged into the crisis and supported of France much to Germany’s surprise. Besieged in Fez, Sultan Abde Hafid of Morocco was pressured by France and members of the French pro-colonial lobby to ask for French troops to protect the country. In May 1911 French troops arrive in Morocco. This does not sit well with other European powers who fear Morocco will become a French protectorate. Germany threatened to respond with force and sent the gunboat AGADIR to Morocco in July 1911 which alarmed Great Britain. What began as an exercise by Germany intended to drive a wedge between France and England results in increasing British fear and hostility towards Germany and to draw Britain closer to France. Negotiation started between France and Germany to cool down the situation diplomatically. In November1911 the Second Moroccan Crisis ended with the signing of a Franco-German peace treaty. This ends Germany’s threat to go to war over Morocco and Germany withdrew all claims to North Africa. Morocco was partitioned between France (as a protectorate) and Spain (as the colony the Spanish Sahara).

The “Convention of Fez” was signed in March, 1912 and stipulated that a French Resident-General should be sent to Morocco with authority to act as the Sultan’s sole representative in treating with the other powers. This all does not sit well with the rebels that threatened the Sultan of Morocco to begin with. Now that the country is a French protectorate, more Moroccans come to the side of dissident forces. A few days after the signing of the convention by the Sultan an uprising more serious than any that had gone before took place in Fez. In April 1912 Moroccan soldiers massacred their French officers and the population of Fez rose against the European civilians. France appointed General Louis Hubert Gonzalve Lyautey Resident-General in Morocco. When he reached Fez it was besieged by 20,000 Berbers. The French drove them out of the city. The outskirts of the city were rapidly fortified by the rebels.

On June 1, 1912 French troops killed 600 Moroccan tribesmen who oppose the protectorate. General Lyautey ordered artillery to be used against the lesser armed opposition and totally decimated them. The rebels were routed and their siege of Fez lifted.

General Louis Hubert Gonzalve Lyautey
Resident General in Morocco – 1912

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