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Essaouira

Une population cosmopolite

2500 years ago…

Firstly, the Phoenicians, around the 5th century BC, under the leadership of Hannon the Carthaginian, had already apprehended that this harbor with surroundings rich in drinking water, sheltered from the trade winds by small islets close to a bordered coast dunes, would make an ideal anchorage on the maritime route of Cape Verde and Ecuador.

Annexed by the Roman Empire in the 1st century AD. AD

During the second half of the 1st century AD. BC, the Berber kingdom was purely annexed by the Roman Empire which made it a province called Mauretania Tingitane.

The Romans certainly continued this activity of exploitation of the murex in this place which they named ‘Tamusiga’, which will then become Mogdura for the Portuguese, and Mogador for the Castilians, while for the Berbers they were called Amogdul, a term certainly derived from a saint marabout Sidi Mogdul.

Commercial development from the 14th century

It was from the 14th Century that the site appeared on the maritime charts. From the first decade of this century, Dom Manuel, 1st King of Portugal, saw the benefits and created a commercial port protected by a military garrison building a fortress defended by a belt of several ramparts.

Thus becoming the first African port facade on the Moroccan South Atlantic coast. Trade with caravans from Timbuktu is growing there while maritime’s activity is becoming a safe bet.

The city will be designed in the image of European fortresses, its permanently created port will serve as a naval base.

A cosmopolitan population

The city is gradually becoming cosmopolitan and multicultural, making the charm of the city of the trade winds. At the same time, ahead of his time, Moulay Mohammed proscribes the export of black populations to Europe with, at the same time, he signs new commercial contracts.

Essaouira at the time of the French protectorate

During the protectorate the French developed the ports of Casablanca and Agadir, the very central geographic position of El Jadida (used to be called Mazagan) on the ocean coast favored it to the detriment of Essaouira which gradually began to convert a fishing port. It now occupies 3rd place in the hit parade of Moroccan sardine harbors.

And today

In the 20th century, Essaouira has rebounded, its centuries of old multiculturalism has allowed it to welcome artisans from all over Morocco, but also many international artists. Many art galleries have opened, and the annual number of cultural events is certainly one of the largest in the Cherifian kingdom.

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