Match: any all
Morocco and Britain
16th and 17th Centuries
18th and 19th Centuries
20th Century
The New Millenium

By Dr Michael Willis

Morocco and Britain have longstanding political and trading links. Diplomatic relations date back to at least 1213 AD, when King John of England dispatched envoys to seek the support of Mohammed El-Nasir, Morocco's fourth Almohad ruler.

It seems that Mohammed El-Nasir was not impressed by what he heard of the English King, and informed the envoys that King John was unworthy of an alliance with him.

Trade Links during the 16th and the 17th centuries
Relations improved in the 16th century, when news reached England of the extensive trading opportunities in Morocco. The first recorded English trade mission, to Safi and Agadir in 1551-52, was sponsored by London merchants who traded English cloth and other goods for Moroccan sugar, dates and almonds. A highly profitable trade developed. Trade grew rapidly and English merchants were granted special status in comparison with Morocco's other trading partners.

In the early 17th century, a group of pirates at Sale known in England as the "Sallee Rovers'' began to take English merchants prisoner. This, and the English occupation of Tangier from 1662 to 1684, complicated relations. But trade continued to flourish, a series of treaties were signed and diplomats were exchanged. The first Moroccan Ambassador to London, Kaid Jaudar ben Abdallah, was appointed in 1637 and the first English Consul to Morocco, Nathaniel Luke, in 1657. Morocco's second Ambassador to London, Kaid Mohammed benHaduOttur, who was appointed in 1682, made a deep impression on London society because of his exotic dress, his courtesy and his horsemanship. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society and visited Oxford University.

Treaties of Peace and Commerce
In 1661, the King of Portugal gave Tangier to King Charles II of England as part of a marriage dowry. An English garrison was maintained there for twenty years, but Moroccan forces under Moulay Ismail made life so difficult for the garrison that the English decided to abandon Tangier in 1684. Relations were re-established on a sounder footing in the 18th century.

Moulay Ismail wanted English help against the Spanish, and the English needed Moroccan assistance to supply the garrison of their newly acquired colony of Gibraltar. A Treaty of Peace and Commerce was signed at Fes in 1721 and there were exchanges of letters between Moroccan Sultans and Kings George II and III of Britain.

MBS.ma© 2007 | All Rights Reserved | Powered and Hosted by IDEO Factory