2 March 1956

Morocco gets its independence from France.

March the 2nd, 1956 is a date almost forgotten in Morocco, yet it officially commemorates the day Morocco gained its independence. On that day, the page of the French protectorate was officially turned by putting an end to the Fes treaty concluded on the 30th of March, 1912. An event that was the fruit of a week-long negotiation between King Mohammed V and the French President Guy Mollet. Under the reign of the late monarch, Moroccans used to celebrate the Independence Day on March the 2nd.

It was only with the accession of Hassan II to the throne on March the 3rd, 1961, that a change occurred. Textbooks, media, the administration and the majority of political parties have all contributed to anchoring this change, rendering homage to the generations that have contributed to this victory.

Honoring the past generations

November the 18th was then the chosen date to celebrate the independence of Morocco, it is also an important day in the Kingdom’s history. Two days after his return from exile, on November 16, 1955, first in Corsica and then in Madagascar, the Sultan delivered a memorable speech to the nation. In front of a jubilant crowd, he said he was fully determined to recover all the regions still under the French, Spanish and international control. From 1927 to 1961, Moroccans commemorated the accession of Mohammed V’s throne every November 18.

For decades, March the 2nd has entered a long-imposed hibernation. It was only with the wave of the «Arab Spring» in 2011 that was approaching the Moroccan coast that the date came out of its lethargy. In the aftermath of the fall of Ben Ali in Tunisia on January the 14th, 2011, Moroccan netizens from the left had proposed to organize a march on March the 2nd asking for democracy and social justice. A way for them to honor the forgotten date. The attempt was inconclusive and the oblivion still goes on.

2 March 1859

The Great Slave Auction, the largest such auction in United States history, starts.

The Great Slave Auction in March 1859 is regarded as the largest sale of enslaved people before the American Civil War. To satisfy significant debts, absentee owner and Philadelphian Pierce Mease Butler, authorized the sale of approximately 436 men, women, children, and infants to be sold over the course of two days at the Ten Broeck Race Course, two miles outside of Savannah, Georgia.

he Butlers of South Carolina and Philadelphia were owners of slave plantations located on the Sea Islands of Georgia. The patriarch of the family, Major Pierce Butler, owned hundreds of slaves who labored over rice and cotton crops, thus amassing him the family’s wealth. Butler was one of the wealthiest and most powerful slave owners in the United States. Upon his death, his biggest dilemma was which heir to leave his wealth. Estranged from his son, Major Butler left his estate to his two grandsons, Pierce M. Butler and John A. Butler.

Pierce M. Butler was everything his grandfather detested in men. Pierce was devoid of business sense and degenerate in his personal habits. Butler frequently engaged in risky business speculations, which resulted in financial loss in the Crash of 1857, and his elaborate spending. However, it would be his incorrigible gambling that landed him in the most trouble. Butler had accrued a considerable amount of gambling debt over the years. To satisfy his financial obligations, the management of Butler’s estate was transferred to trustees. At first, the trustees sold Butler’s Philadelphia mansion for $30,000 as well as other properties; unfortunately, it was not enough to satisfy creditors. The only commodities of value that remained were the slaves he owned on his Georgia plantations.