Hassan II

Hassan II häˈsän [key], 1929–99, king of Morocco (1961–99). Formerly crown prince Moulay Hassan ben Mohammed Alaoui, he ascended the throne on the death (1961) of his father, Muhammad V. A graduate of the Univ. of Bordeaux, Hassan became chief of staff of the Moroccan army in 1957. In 1965 political unrest in Morocco caused him to assume full executive and legislative control, but an abortive coup (July, 1971) led him to yield some of his powers to the Moroccan parliament. King Hassan's monarchy survived a series of attempted coups that same year and throughout the 1970s as he maintained relative stability by suppressing dissent. In 1984 he appointed a coalition government. Internationally, Hassan pursued a neutralist course, aided in attempts at Middle Eastern peace with Israel, and for a long period of time managed to receive aid from both the West and Communist nations. In 1970, after high casualties in 1963, he reached agreement with Algeria over a long-contested border. After 1974 he sought to incorporate the former Spanish Sahara (now Western Sahara) into Morocco, challenging first the Spanish, then fighting Algerian-backed guerrilas seeking independence for the region. The king was succeeded by his son Muhammad VI.

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