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Hassan II of Morocco

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Hassan II
الحسن الثاني
Amir al-Mu'minin
Hassan II in 1981
King of Morocco
Reign26 February 1961 – 23 July 1999
PredecessorMohammed V
SuccessorMohammed VI
Prime Ministers
Born(1929-07-09)9 July 1929
Dar al-Makhzen, Rabat, French Protectorate of Morocco
Died23 July 1999(1999-07-23) (aged 70)
Rabat, Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaer, Morocco
SpouseLalla Latifa Hammou
IssuePrincess Lalla Meryem
King Mohammed VI
Princess Lalla Asma
Princess Lalla Hasna
Prince Moulay Rachid
FatherKing Mohammed V
MotherLalla Abla bint Tahar

King Hassan II (Arabic: الحسن الثاني, MSA: (a)l-ḥasan aṯ-ṯānī, Darija: el-ḥasan ett(s)âni); was born on 19 juli, 1929, in Rabat, Morocco. He was part of The Alaouite dynasty. Hassan II became the king of Morocco in 1961 and ruled until his death in 1999. [1]

He was the eldest son of King Mohammed V, Sultan, then King of Morocco (1909-1961), and Mohammed V second wife, Lalla Abla bint Tahar (1909-1992). King Hassan II played an important rol in shaping modern Morocco and was known for his diplomatic efforts in regional and international affairs.

King Hassan II died of natural causes in Rabat on 23 July 1999, at the age of 70.[2]

Early life and educations

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King Hassan II received his early education at The Royal Palace School in Rabat. This education was deeply rooted in both traditional Islamic teachings and modern subjects, reflecting both influences that would later characterize his reign.

After completing his primary education. King Hassan II attended the Imperial College in Rabat.[3] Here, he excelled in various subjects, particularly in the humanities and social sciences.

In 1974, King Hassan II continued his education at the University of Bordeaux in France, where he earned his master's degree in public law.[4] His time in France exposed him to European political ideas and legal systems, which would later influence his approach to governance in Morocco.

Reign and Policies

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When King Mohammed V suddenly died on February 26 1961, King Hassan II became king at the age of 32.[5] King Hassan II's reign was marked by both traditional and modern policies. He was known for his strong, authoritarian leadership and was seen as both the Father of the Nation and the Commander of Believers. His reign was a mix of traditional Moroccan practices and Western influences.[2]

Social Issues and Controversies:

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During King Hassan II's reign, Morocco faced many social issues and controversies, including the 1981 and 1984 bread riots as well as involvement in political disappearances. These events marked a challenging period in the country's history.

King Hassan II worked on modernizing Morocco's economy and infrastructure, attracting foreign investment, and introducing limited political reforms. While some individuals praised him for his modernization efforts, others criticized his authoritarian rule. His legacy is remembered as complex, with both positive and negative aspects influencing Morocco.[6]

Foreign Policy and Western Sahara Conflict

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A major challenge during King Hassan II's reign was the Western Sahara conflict, where Morocco and the Polisario Front[5] clashed over control of the region. The former ruler defended Morocco's claim and tried to find diplomatic solutions to the conflict.[7]

The Green March in 1975

The Green March

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The Green March was a significant event led by King Hassan II of Morocco in 1975.[5][7] It involved thousands of Moroccans crossing into Western Sahara to claim the territory from Spanish control. Later, the United Nations organized a referendum in the Sahara in 1988, and Morocco reinstated diplomatic relations with Algeria in the same year.

Political Achievements

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King Hassan II implemented economic policies to stimulate growth and development in Morocco. He started infrastructure projects and encouraged foreign investment. Despite being criticized for his authoritarianism, he introduced multiparty elections to promote political diversity.

King Hassan II also declared Islam as the state religion and brought the traditional clothing and cultural practices back.[6]

King Hassan II died on July 23, 1999, and was succeeded by his son, King Mohammed VI. During his reign, he dissolved the parliament and ruled the country alone.[5] His leadership left a significant impact on Morocco's development. People remember him for both his effort to modernize the country and his authoritarian rule.

King Hassan II was also known for his ability to balance traditional values with the need for modernization. He played a key role in the Arab world and was involved in various peace efforts, including attempts to mediate conflicts in the Middle-East.[8] During his rule, Morocco became more important internationally, especially by building stronger relationships with Western countries and being active in the Non-Aligned Movement. Despite the controversies and challenges, his contributions to Morocco's stability and development are notable parts of his legacy.

The Hassan II Mosque

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Another important and famous legacy that the King Hassan II left behind is The Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco. It is an important landmark with a rich history. The idea for the mosque began after the death of King Mohammmed V in 1961. King Hassan II wanted to honor his father with a mausoleum that reflected the deep respect that the people had for him.[9] In 1980, during his birthday celebrations, King Hassan II expressed his vision for a grant monument in Casablanca. He said:[10]

"I wish Casablanca to be endowed with a large, fine building of which it can be proud of until the end of time... I want to build this mosque on the water, because God's throne is on the water. Therefore, the faithful who go there to pray, to praise the creator on firm soil, can contemplate God's sky and ocean."

The mosque, completed in 1993, is the second largest functioning mosque in Africa and the 14th largest in the world. This mosque is designed by the French artist Michel Pinseau and constructed by the civil engineering group Bouygues. The mosque was built by Moroccan artisans from across the country.[11]

King Hassan II and his father Mohammed V

King Hassan II's mother was Lalla Abla bint Tahar (1909-1992), and his father was King Mohammed V (1909-1961). He had five sisters and one brother:

  1. Lalla Fatima Zahra (1929-2014)
  2. Lalla Aicha (1930-2011)
  3. Lalla Malika (1933-2009)
  4. Moulay Abdallah (1935-1983)
  5. Lalla Amina (1954-2012)


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King Hassan II married Lalla Latifa Hammou in 1961, and they had five children:

  1. Princess Lalla Meryem (born in 1962)
  2. King Mohammed VI (born in 1963)
  3. Princess Lalla Asma (born in 1962)
  4. Princess Lalla Hasna (born in 1967)
  5. Prince Moulay Rachid (born in 1970)

King Hassan II also had a second wife, Lalla Fatima bint Qaid Amhourok, whom he also married in 1961, but they had no children.[12]

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  1. "Hassan II | King of Morocco & 20th Century Reformer | Britannica". www.britannica.com. Retrieved 2024-04-18.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Gregory, Joseph R. (1999-07-24). "Hassan II of Morocco Dies at 70; A Monarch Oriented to the West". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2024-04-18.
  3. "La mémoire d'un roi : entretiens avec Eric Laurent | WorldCat.org". search.worldcat.org (in Dutch). Retrieved 2024-04-25.
  4. Nyrop, Richard F. (1972). Area Handbook for Morocco. U.S. Government Printing Office.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 "Morocco profile - Timeline". BBC News. 2011-07-12. Retrieved 2024-04-29.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Jones, Christa (2018). "The Absolutist Monarch in Taïa's Le Jour du Roi and Laroui's "Tu n'as rien compris à Hassan II": Probing the Limitations of Reader Reception Theory". Research in African Literatures. 49 (3): 58–82. doi:10.2979/reseafrilite.49.3.05. ISSN 0034-5210.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Weiner, Jerome B. (1979). "The Green March in Historical Perspective". Middle East Journal. 33 (1): 20–33. ISSN 0026-3141.
  8. "Hassan II | King of Morocco & 20th Century Reformer | Britannica". www.britannica.com. Retrieved 2024-05-02.
  9. Elleh, Nnamdi (2002-12-30). Architecture and Power in Africa. Bloomsbury Academic. ISBN 978-0-275-97679-8.
  10. "Hassan II Mosque - Casablanca, Morocco". web.archive.org. 2012-10-05. Archived from the original on 2012-10-05. Retrieved 2024-05-02.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  11. Lehmann, Ingeborg; Henss, Rita; Baedeker (2012-03-12). Morocco Baedeker Guide. Marco Polo Travel Publishing. ISBN 978-3-8297-6623-4.
  12. "MOROCCO3". www.royalark.net. Retrieved 2024-04-18.