Independence Day, also known as Fete de l'Independence, is a public holiday celebrated on 18 November.
It is Morocco's National Day and commemorates Morocco's independence from France on 18 November 1956.
Since the mid seventeenth century, Morocco has been ruled by the Alaouite dynasty. In the late nineteenth century, the influence of European powers such as France, Germany and Spain grew larger.
In 1859, Morocco hade gone to war with Spain, and in theory, had guaranteed its independence through the 1880 Conference of Madrid. Despite this, the French gained an increasing influence in Morocco. Germany tried to counteract this influence by showing support for Moroccan independence, a move intended to agitate the French and British, which it did. So much so, that on 3 December 1912, Morocco was made to accept a treaty that made it part of a French Protectorate, with part of Northern Morocco coming under Spanish control.
While the treaty did not mean that Morocco was no longer a sovereign state and that the Sultan remained the country's leader, in reality the country was ruled by a colonial administration.
In 1953, King Mohammed V had been exiled to Madagascar as tensions within Morocco grew with a rising call for independence.
Exiling such a well respected Sultan only had the effect of uniting Moroccan opposition to French control, and by 1955 King Mohammed V had returned from exile to lead negotiations that led to the formal independence of Morocco a year later.