Once a powerful state embracing much of Spain and North Africa in the 12th century, Moroccan power declined thereafter. European encroachment led to the division of the country into French (southern) and Spanish (northern) protectorates in 1912. Stamps issued by French administration were used in southern Morocco and Spain issued special stamps for northern part of the country.
French Morocco was a colony of France established in what is
now the country of Morocco. It existed from 1912, when a protectorate was formally
established, until Moroccan independence, and consisted generally of the area
of Morocco between Fez and Rabat south to Mogador.
French activity in Morocco began during the 19th century; in 1904 France and Spain secretly partitioned the territory of the sultanate, with Spain later creating Spanish Morocco from its portion. The Treaty of Fez (signed on March 30, 1912) made Morocco a protectorate of France. By the same treaty, Spain assumed the role of protecting power over the northern and southern (Saharan) zones on November 27 that year.
The first stamps of the protectorate appeared in 1914, and were just the existing stamps with the additional overprint reading "PROTECTORAT FRANCAIS". The first new designs were in an issue of 1917, consisting of 17 stamps in six designs, denominated in centimes and francs, and inscribed "MAROC".
Spanish Morocco, was the area of Morocco ruled by Spain from
1912 up to 1956, when France and Spain recognized Moroccan independence. The
capital of Spanish Morocco was called Tetuan. The territories of Spanish Morocco
included northern Morocco, the Tarfaya Strip, and Ifni. Ceuta and Melilla had
been Portuguese before becoming Spanish for centuries. However most of the other
territories were only gained after the 1912.
In 1956, when French Morocco became independent, Spain surrendered parts of its territories to the newly independent Morocco, but retained control of Ceuta, Melilla, Sidi Ifni and Tarfaya region. Morocco responded by supporting the Army of Liberation uprising in these areas, and also widening the conflict to Spanish Sahara (which was not part of Spanish Morocco, but claimed by the king as part of Greater Morocco). As part of a deal to call of the rebel forces, Spain in 1958 ceded Tarfaya to Morocco. This was later followed by Ifni in 1969. Spain still possesses Ceuta and Melilla, and Morocco still claims them as integral parts of the country.
Tangier, is a city of northern Morocco. It lies on the North
African coast at the western entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar where the Mediterranean
meets the Atlantic Ocean. In 1912, Morocco was effectively partitioned between
France and Spain. Tangier was made an international zone in 1923 under the joint
administration of France, Spain, and Britain (Italy joined in 1928).
Stamps of French Morocco and Spanish Morocco, as well as special British, French and Spanish issues for Tangier, were used there:
After a period of effective Spanish control from 1940 to 1945 during World War II, Tangier was reunited with the rest of Morocco following the country's independence in 1956.
Great Britain and Germany also prepared stamps for use in their post offices in Morocco.
German post offices in Morocco began using overprinted German stamps in 1899. In 1914, these offices were closed in the French zone and, in 1919, in the Spanish zone:
British post offices in Morocco used overprinted contemporary stamps of Gibraltar (1898-1906) and Great Britain. Separate issues were used in the Spanish Zone, the French Zone as well as the general issues used throughout the country (and, as mentioned before, in Tangier). Regular British stamps were also often used.
Two general issue stamps:
and two stamps for Spanish Zone:
France was also issuing special stamps for use in its post offices in Morocco till 1912 when it forced the sultan of Morocco to sign a treaty which allowed France to occupy southern parts of the country and form a protectorate. To see that stamps click here.
In 1956, French and Spanish zones were reunited and Morocco again became independent kingdom. Morocco has since expanded by absorbing Tangier (1956), Ifni (1969), the northern two-thirds of the Spanish Sahara (1976) and the southern portion of the Spanish Sahara in 1980. Several Moroccan stamps: