To the Reabilitation of the Mellah

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Mogador : A seaport .
Mogador was a port as far back in history as 7th century B.C. when the venturous Phoenicians established a commercial post on the island.
In the beginning of the Christian ear, it is known by its Berber name Tamusiga, later the name Amogdul surfaced, believed to have its roots in the phoenician-aramean-hebrew name of Migdal, the tower, the fort,  name also given to a local saint buried there, Sidi Mogdoul, the patron of the city for centurieand by the british as Mogadors. The marine maps show it as the Amogdoul anchorage, the Portuguese took it over in the 15th Century and named it Mogdoura, later  changed by the Spanish to Mogadour, and known by the British and later the French as Mogador
In the 18th century, the Sultan Mohammed ben Abdellah decides to take over the post and turn it into a military and merchant seaport, with two objectives : retake Moroccan atlantic coast from the Europeans and refill his coffers from the bounty of International trade. He orders his well established International merchands Jewish subjects to move to the new town, and so they did.

The blue print of the original fortified city, drawn by the French Architect Cornut, in  the tradition of the famous French fortifications builder Vauban, european design of straight main streets  crossed by perpendicular access streets.

The second line of ramparts, built a hundred years later to make room for the growth of the booming city, set the final shape of Mogador as it is to-day.


The Sultan Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah, was determined to make Mogador the International port Morocco needed. He gave the Jewish traders special powers and status : they were the official and exclusive « Tojjar es Soltans » the « Sultan’s Traders », all the International Trade of the kingdom, consular representative rights, management of the port and the town affairs, as well as the collection of the king taxes and duties. The Sultan’s Traders were quick to justify the King’s choice and fulfill his hopes beyond expectation. Mogador, by the end of the 18th century and up until the early years of the 20th, was the uncontested principal port of  International Trade of Morocco and far south beyond the Sahara, called in many Memoirs the “Port of Timboctou”.
The Jewish population grew faster than the Muslim moving in from all over the country, especially during the 19th century. Mogador was then called sometimes the Jewish Town, and there was a saying among the new Muslims in town that “in Sweyra, you can count the rezza (Muslim white turban) with only the fingers of two hands.”

The Main Plazza

>>Next : The Jewish presence in Mogador

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