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(KM 35)

Date: A.D. 1921

Obverse: Five pointed star and ornate pattern - EMPIRE CHERIFIEN (Moroccan Empire)

Reverse: Eight pointed star and ornate pattern - 50 CENTIMES

This is an example of the beautiful designs used on coinage minted for the French Protectorate of Morocco in 1921. The coin was issued under the reign of Sultan Yusef ben Hassan who came to the throne on his brother Sultan Abdelhafid's abdication after signing the Treaty of Fez which gave Morocco over to the French "Cherifien Empire" or the French Protectorate of Morroco. This act kept the Royal family in place but elicited an overall negative response from the people who saw him as a puppet of the French occupation. His rule would be turbulent and dangerous forcing him to move his residence from the city of Fez to Rebat where the capitol remains to this day. Upon his death his son Mohammed V would take the throne.

In 1953 the French exiled Mohammed V and placed his relative Mohammed Ben Arafa on the throne in his place. Arafa ruled for just a few years and under much protest from the people of Morocco. He abdicated the throne in 1955 giving it back to Mohammed V and joining him in exile.

In late 1955 Mohammed V returned to Morocco and was active in the resistance against French occupation joining the revolution that started under Arafa's unpopular rule. After widespread revolt and resistance he negotiated peace with the French in 1957 as well as freedom from French rule for his people ruling as king until his death in 1961. His son Hassan II would succeed him, his grandson Mohammed VI is the current monarch.

There has been human civilization in Morocco since the Neolithic age and it has been the holding of Carthage, Rome, the Vandals and Visigoths, Arabs and Byzantine Greeks, the Ottoman Empire and, of course, the native Berbers. Because of its location on the coast of Northern Africa at the entrance to the Mediterranean sea Morocco has long been a seafaring nation with important ports like Casablanca. Morocco was one of the Barbary States who ran a protection racket along side pirates who attacked, robbed or kidnapped those who sailed around the strait of Gibraltar wishing to do business in Mediterranean ports without paying tribute.

This was the reason for 2 consecutive confrontations between Berber City States and the fledgling United States. This also prompted an escalation in naval force for the US who previously had only a small ineffective navy. Morocco is one of the first nations to recognize the U.S. as a sovereign nation and a treaty of friendship between the 2 nations is one of the longest standing uninterrupted treaties between the U.S. and any country.

Possibly because of their diverse history and exposure to the west, the Islamic Berbers often practice a more liberal or moderate and often less restrictive form of Islam.

Above Left: Sultan Yusef ben Hassan Below Left: Sultan Mohammed V