Coastal Cities and Towns

Essaouira
From Oguz Sarakamis, https://www.flickr.com/photos/osarikamis/

Morocco’s coastal cities and towns include Casablanca, the imperial city of Rabat, Rabat’s sister city of Sale, Tangier, Larrache, Kenitra, El Jadida, Safi, Essaouira and Agadir. All of them have served as ports, both for trade and fishing.

From 1924-1956, Tangier was an international zone, with nominal oversight by the Moroccan Sultan. Larrache was part of the Spanish Protectorate in Morocco from 1912-1956. Kenitra was the site of a major American military base after US army took Morocco from the Vichy French and their Nazi allies in 1942. Safi became the most important port for exporting phosphates, an important component of fertilizer. Essaouira and Agadir served as ports for export of goods transported by trans-Saharan caravans from Sub-Saharan Africa.

Jews lived in all of these coastal cities and towns. Wealthier Jews managed imports and exports, in some cases serving as the sole agent of the Sultan. Many other Jews worked in American military bases, produced handicrafts, provided goods and services, and sold products to inland communities.

In these communities, some elite Jews supported the foreign embassies and consuls. In return, foreign governments gave them protected status, which exempted them from Moroccan laws and taxes.