TANGIER

               The city of Tangier is situated between the parallels 35,50 of latitude north and the meridians 5,50 of longitude west (Greenwich). The province extends over a surface of 1,195 Km2. Its population oscillates around one million inhabitants mostly of the Fahs and Anjra tribes. The density of the population is of about 836 people per Km2.

According to archaeological discoveries of fossilized human rests made in the Moghara el Aliya, (Meghougha), the region of Tangier was inhabited during the Palaeolithic age by people offering analogies with the man of "Neanderthal". These discoveries crowned the importance of the Site of Tangier as a prehistoric settlement.

               Tangier was founded, as per the old Greek mythology, by Antaeus, son of Poseidon and Gaea, and king of Libya, who named it Tingis. Antaeus, the founder of the city perished in a duel against Hercules, defending the golden sacred fruits of the Hesperides Gardens. These mythological gardens were located between Tingis and Lixus.
             But Tingis, (town on the lagoon) was probably founded by the Angera Berbers. The hamlet of Tinga became, during the second millennium BC, an important Phoenician trading post. In the year 480 BC, the Carthaginian admiral Hanno established a Carthaginian colony in Tingis and installed hundreds of Numidian families (Algerians) to colonize the site
              After the fall of Cartage in 146 BC, Tingis became the capital of the Kingdom of Mauritania Tingitane, which was ruled, independently, for almost one century, by Berber kings, the most significant of whom was Bokhus I who reigned from 118 to 80 BC. Bokhus I was the leading ally of Rome in North Africa which bore witness of the most daring and menacing Berber rebellion against the Roman imperialism in the Continent. In 108, Jugurtha, son-in-law of Bokhus and king of Numidia, led an uprising against the Roman directorate in North Africa, which lasted four years.  Jugurtha’s rebellion failed because of the betrayal of his Numidians (Algerians) kinsmen. The rebellion was brought to an end in 105 BC by the roman General Marius. Jugurtha made his way to Tingis, where he sough refuge in the palace of his father-in-law, king Bokhus. But Jugurtha at large was still considered a menace and Rome was not to spare her daring rival. Jugurtha was tracked till Tingis by Sylla, the lieutenant of the Roman General Marius, who advised Bokhus I to hand over Jugurtha to Rome.
         The other lord of Tingis was Bokhus II, son of Bokhus I who became king of a unified Berber kingdom of Mauritania from 49 to 31 BC. The uniting of the kingdom was achieved because of a strike of luck. It happened that during this period the roman aristocracy was disputing for power, and the two Moorish kingdoms, the Tingitane and Cesarea, on the other side of the Mediterranean Sea, were drown into the Roman internal conflicts, each in a different camp. Bogoud the king of Mauritania Caesarea (Algeria) choose the unfortunate camp of Marc Anthony, and lost his kingdom in the year 38 BC to king Bokhus II, of the Tingitane who was more fortunate. This one chose the winning camp of Octavius, who became the future Emperor of Rome and compensated Bokhus II by handing him the kingdom of Mauritania Caesarea. The two kingdoms where unified in the year 33 BC under the scepter of Bokhus II whose ruling lasted, afterwards, five years. The sway of his Empire extended from Tangier in the northwest to Tunisia in the east. Bokhus II was a brilliant monarch; he realized important economic and social achievements in his kingdom. He established and developed the “Purpura” factories of Essaouira and Larache, and restored the Garoum factories of Lixus, and Cotta of Tingis. He also established a workshop for minting coins in the city of Lixus and emitted bronze coins bearing his effigy and neo-Punic legends. When Bokhus II died in the year 33 BC, he left no heir, and the emperor Octavius made of his kingdom a Roman Protectorate, administered by a Council made up of Roman prefects. Octavius established new Roman colonies of Baba Campestri, Valentia Banassa (Bel Kssiri), and installed Roman veterans in the colony of Zilis whose legitimate inhabitants he deported to Spain
         In 284 AD, the Roman North Africa went through another spectacular Berber uprising, and the Romans withdrew to the Tingitane capital of the North. Dioclicien deserted the mainland precincts, which included the districts of Volubilis, Banassa, Tamusida and Sala Colonia, and brought the Roman southern borders to Lixus. The “maritime” Tingitane was attached to the "diocese or realm of Spain, to secure protection to the Straits and to the Spanish provinces against the risks of Moorish attacks. The port of Tingis was a safe strategic point, used for the traffic of merchandise with the Roman port of Ostia and with other Roman provinces. The Roman ships left the port of Tingis with cargos of olive oil, leather, timber, cattle, wheat and salted fish.


            Tangier and the Arabs

               While in Tangier, Moussa Ibn Noussaïr was promoted in 696 AD to the rank of Wali of al Maghreb by the Khalif El Walid Bnou Abdelmalek. Ibn Noussair made of his Berber aid-de-camp Tarik Ibn Zaïyad Governor of Tangier, and backed him with a Berber army of eleven thousand troops.
               Tangier was the outpost of the Arab’s raids on Spain. In 710 AD. Prior to the invasion of Spain, an Arab agent named Tarif Ibn Malek sailed from Tangier to Spain on a mission of reconnaissance, to gather information about the military effectives of the Visigoths. An important expedition of 7 000 troops, sailed, afterward, from Tangier and crossed to Spain on April 711, led by the Berber commander Tarik Ibn Zaïyad. Most of the troops were also Berbers of Ghomara tribes of the North.
              The army of Tarik Ibn Zaïyad crossed, without any resistance, to the other side of the Straits into the Spanish coast of the Calpe Mountain (Gibraltar). The battle (Barbate), which was to decide Spain’s fate, had lieu near the river Barbaté on July 19, 711, and lasted for two days, on which the Visigoth army commanded by Roderick was put to flight by the troops of Tarik.


            Maissara the Berber water-porter of Tangier

             Tangier became in the year 740 the base for a Ghomara Berber uprising, instigated and led by Maïssara El Madghiri, a Berber waterman of Tangier. This rebellion broke out against the tyranny of a so calle El Mouradi, an Arab governor of the city.
             Actually, this rebellion was rather that of the Kharidjit religious movement of Morocco against the tyranny of the Arab governors. The Arab aristocracy, established a vassal system of administration on the Berber natives of North Africa, and imposed on them the payment of "kharaj" or land tax and the "Jiziya" or personal tax, imposed only on non-Muslims. Furthermore, the Berbers were forced to pay the tributes in the form of slave’s supplies, besides other kind. Some despotic Arab governors separated Berber young girls from their parents and deported them to swell the harems of the Umayyad palaces of Spain and in Arabia. The rebellion of the Berber Tangerian Maïssara, which embraced all North Africa and menaced the Umayyad’s authority in the Continent, was then, the consequence of the Arab governors’ tyranny in Morocco, and their failure to the application of  the Islamic precepts and justice in the new colonies of Morocco.
         The rebellion of Maïssara culminated, in the year 740, with his victory over the Arab troops in a battle called of the " Nobility ", where the cream of the Arab troops was cut out to pieces by the troops of Maïssara, near the Shelif river in the region of Taza. Oubeid Allah El Mouradi, the governor of Tangier was among the dead. This victory was followed in the year 742, with the slaughter of the Syrian “Jound” or the army, by the troops of Maïssara, near Oued Sbou.
        Maïssara, the Berber Tangirian champion, became for a while, master of the North of Morocco, and asserted his authority by appointed a local Ghomari Berber as governor of Tangier. The victory of the Berber Kharidjites marked the end of the Arab sovereignty over Morocco.

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