The history of Tangier has been shaped by the sea and by its strategic location on the straits of Gibraltar, the Phoenicians established a port here in the 8th century, and it was later settled by the Carthaginians. In 146 BC, Tangier, known as Tingis, became a roman town and the capital of Mauretania, to which it gave the name Tingitana. In 711 Arab and Berber forces gathered hare to conquer Spain. By the 14th century, the town was trading with Marseilles, Genoa, Venice and Barcelona. Tangier was captured by the Portuguese in 1471, by the Spanish ( 1578-1640) and then by the English, who were expelled from the city by Moulay Ismail in 1684. In the 19th century Morocco was the object of dispute between European nations. When, in 1905, Kaiser Wilhem II denounced the entente cordiale between France and Britain, the stage was set for Tangier’s transformation into an international city. This was sealed by the treaty of Algeciras (1906), after which the diplomatic corps in Tangier took over Morocco’s political, financial and fiscal affairs.
When colonial rule was established in 1912, Spain took control of the Northern part of the country. Tangier however remained under international administration. This was the city’s heyday. Its image as a romantic and sensuously exotic place was made in literature and on the big screen.
After independence in 1956, Tangier was returned to Morocco, but suffered political ostracism. However, the city became industrialized, and new districts sprang up. Mohammed VI now includes it in his royal visits, and this has given a boost to the city.