In Morocco, 18 November is Independence Day, also called “Eid Al Istiqulal”. It is the commemoration of the return out of exile of Moroccan King Mohammed V and his immediate declaration of the full independence of his kingdom in 1956.
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Spain had long held control over some parts of Morocco, but it was during the 1800’s that both France and Spain began to push for total control of the region. In 1906, an agreement was reached whereby France took most of Morocco, but Spain retained control over Tangiers and certain other coastal enclaves.
Rebel activity fomented up during the 1920’s in Morocco, but the independence movement didn’t get into full swing until after World War II. When Sultan Mohammed V demanded Moroccan independence, he was exiled to Madagascar. Later, the unrest of the people of Morocco forced the French to allow their sultan to return.
France backed down when Morocco declared independence, but Spain only gradually relinquished some of their strongholds and still retain a few of them to the present day.
Every 18 November, Moroccans celebrate their independence and the return of the Moroccan royal family from exile in 1956. There are parades, an abundance of foods sold on the street, and a special reception held at the king’s palace.
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