Page:Statesman's Year-Book 1899 American Edition.djvu/1155

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799

MOROCCO.

(Maghrib-el-Aksa. — El Gharb.) Reigning Sultan.

Mulai-Abd-el-Aziz, born about 1881, sen of Sultan Mulai- Hassan ; suc- ceeded on the ileatli of his father, being proclaimed Sultan in the Sherifian Camp June 7, 1894.

The present Sultan of Morocco — known to his sulijects under the title of ' Emir-al-Mumenin,' or Prince of True Believers — is the fifteenth of the dynasty of the Alides, founded by Mulai- Achmet, and the thirty-sixth lineal descendant of Ali, uncle and son-in-law of the Prophet. His four pre- decessors were : —

Sultan Reign | Sultan Reigti

Mulai-Soliman . . 1794-1822 ' Sidi-Mulai-Mohamed . 1859-1873 Mulai-Abderrahman . 1822-1859 ' Mulai- Hassan . . 1873-1894

The Sherifian umbrella is hereditary in the family of the Sharifs of Fileli, or Tafilet. Each Sultan is supposed, prior to death, to indicate the member of the Sherifian family who, according to his conscientious belief, will best replace him. This succession is, however, elective, and all members of the Sherifian family are eligible. Generally the late Sultan's nominee is elected by public acclamation at noonday prayers the Friday after the Sultan's death, as the nominee has probably possession of imperial treasure, and is supported by the black bodyguard, from among whom the large majority of court officials are selected.

Government.

The form of government of the Sultanate, or Em23ire of Morocco, is in reality an absolute despotism, unrestricted by any laws, civil or religious. The Sultan is chief of the State, as well as head of the religion. As spiritual ruler, the Sultan stands quite alone, his authority not being limited, as in Turkey and other countries following the religion of Mahomet, by the ex- pounders of the Koran, the class of ' Ulema,' under the ' Sheik-ul-Islam.' The Sultan has six ministers, whom he consults if he deems it prudent to do so ; otherwise they are merely the executive of his unrestricted will. They are the Grand Vizier, the Ministers for Foreign Alfairs, Home Affairs, and War, Chief Chamberlain, Chief Treasurer, and Chief Administrator of Customs. The Sultan's revenue is estimated at 500,000^. per annum, derived from monopolies, taxes, tithes, and presents.

Area and Population.

The area of Morocco can only be vaguely estimated, as the southern frontiers, towards the Sahara, are unsettled. According to the most recent investigation, the area of the Sultan's dominions is about 219,000 English squar3 miles. The estimates of the population of Morocco vary from 2,500,000 to 9,^00,000 ; it is generally considered to be about 5,000,000 souls, although Dr. llohlfs, in the ' Geographische Mittheilungen ' (1883), maintains that the population is not more than 2,750,000. An estimate of 1889 gives the following results : — The region of the old kingdom of Fez, 3,200,000 ; of Morocco, 3,900,000 ; of Tafilet and the Segelmesa country, 850,000 ; of Sus, Adrar, and the Northern Draa, 1,450,000 ; total, 9,400,000. Again, as to race :— Berbers and Tuaregs, 3,000,000; Shellah Berbers, 2,200,000; Arabs (1) pure nomadic Bedouins, 700,000; (2) Mued, 3,000,000; Jews, 150,000;