Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Tangiers

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TANGIERS, or Tangier (Ṭanja), a seaport of Morocco and capital of a pashalik, on the Strait of Gibraltar, about 14 miles to the east of Cape Spartel, stands on two eminences at the north-west extremity of a spacious bay. The town has a fine appearance from the sea, rising gradually in the form of an amphitheatre, and defended by walls and a castle. The streets, which are unpaved, are very narrow and crooked, and the houses, except those occupied by foreign ambassadors or consuls and a few others, are mean. The main thoroughfare is that which leads from the Bab-al-Marsa (Gate of the Port) to the Bab-al-Sok (Gate of the Market Place); the sok presents a lively spectacle, especially on Sundays and Thursdays. The manufactures of Tangiers are of little importance, consisting chiefly of coarse woollen cloth, mats, and pottery; tanning is also carried on, but the leather, though much esteemed in Europe, is inferior to that made in other parts of Morocco. The harbour is a mere roadstead, but it is the best Morocco possesses, and affords good anchorage and shelter to the largest vessels, except during the prevalence of strong winds from the north-west or east. Tangiers has a large trade with Gibraltar. The climate is temperate and healthy, but the inhabitants often suffer much in summer from deficiency of water-supply. Tangiers, which is the residence of all the foreign ministers and consuls to the court of Morocco, has a population estimated at about 20,000, of whom some 400 are Europeans.

The Roman Tingis, which stood in the immediate vicinity of the site of Tangiers, boasted of great antiquity; under Augustus it became a free city, and Claudius made it a Roman colony and capital of Tingitana. It was held successively by Vandals, Byzantines, and Arabs, and fell into the hands of the Portuguese towards the end of the 15th century. In 1662 it was made part of the dowry of Catherine of Braganza on her marriage with Charles II. of England; the English defended it in 1680, but, on account of its expense, dismantled it in 1684 and abandoned it to the Moors, who fortified it anew. It was bombarded by a Spanish fleet in 1790 and by the French in 1844.