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A Rare Promotional Map of Spanish Morocco

Rare advertising map of Northern Morocco, during the Spanish Protectorate Period.

The map includes the portraits of Spanish Foreign Legion "Africanistas":

  • Lieutenant Colonel Santiago Gonzalez Tablas (Commander of the Regulares de Ceuta 1920-1922)
  • Damaso Berenguer y Fuste (High Commissioner of Spanish Morocco 1919-1922)
  • Manuel Fernández Silvestre y Patinga (Commandant-General of Ceuta 1918-1921)

As Silvestre died at the Battle of Annual on July 22, 1921, it must be assumed that the map was issued prior to his death.

Spanish Protectorate of Morocco

On June 27, 1900, France and Spain agreed to recognize separate zones of influence in Morocco, but did not specify their boundaries. In 1902, France offered Spain all of Morocco north of the Sebu River and south of the Sous River, but Spain declined in the belief that such a division would offend Britain. The British and French later declared Spain's right to a zone of influence in Morocco in Article 8 of the Entente cordiale of 8 April 1904.

The British goal in these negotiations with France was to ensure that a weaker power (Spain) held the strategic coast opposite Gibraltar in return for Britain ceding all interest in Morocco. France began negotiating with Spain at once, but the offer of 1902 was no longer on the table. Since France had given up her ambitions in Ottoman Libya in a convention with Italy in 1903, she felt entitled to a greater share of Morocco. On October 3, 1904, France and Spain concluded a treaty that defined their precise zones. Spain received a zone of influence consisting of a northern strip of territory and a southern strip. The northern strip did not reach to the border of French Algeria, nor did it include Tangier, soon to be internationalized. The southern strip represented the southernmost part of Morocco as recognized by the European powers: the territory to its south, Saguia el-Hamra, was recognized by France as an exclusively Spanish zone. The treaty also recognized the Spanish enclave of Ifni and delimited its borders.

In March 1905, the German kaiser, Wilhelm II, visited Tangier, a city of international character in northern Morocco. There he loudly touted Germany's economic interests in Morocco and assured the sultan of financial assistance in the event of a threat to Moroccan independence. At Wilhelm's urging, Sultan Abd el Aziz called for an international conference. The final act of the Algeciras Conference (April 7, 1906) created the State Bank of Morocco, guaranteed the attending powers equal commercial rights in Morocco and created a native Moroccan police force led by French and Spanish officers.

The final Spanish zone of influence consisted of a northern strip and a southern strip centered on Cape Juby. The consideration of the southern strip as part of the protectorate back in 1912 eventually gave Morocco a solid legal claim to the territory in the 1950s. While the sparsely populated Cape Juby was administered as a single entity with Spanish Sahara, the northern territories were administered, separately, as a Spanish protectorate with its capital at Tetuán.

The Protectorate system was established in 1912. The Islamic legal system of qadis was formally maintained.

The Moroccan Sephardi Jews-many of them living in this part of the Maghreb after being expelled from Spain and Portugal in 1492 and 1497 respectively after the end of the Reconquista process-flourished in commerce, profiting from the similarity of Spanish and Ladino language and benefiting from the tax-exempt area in Tangier and a flourishing trading activity in the area.

The Rif War

The map was issued at or about the time of the Rif War, an armed conflict fought during the first half of the 1920s between the colonial power Spain (later joined by France) and the Berber tribes of the Rif mountainous region. Led by Abd el-Krim, the Riffians at first inflicted several defeats on the Spanish forces by using guerrilla tactics and captured European weapons. After France's military intervention against Abd el-Krim's forces and the major landing of Spanish troops at Al Hoceima, considered the first amphibious landing in history to involve the use of tanks and aircraft, Abd el-Krim surrendered to the French and was taken into exile.

The nature of the Rif War is still controversial among historians today. Some see in it a harbinger of the decolonization process in North Africa, while others, on the contrary, see it as one of the last colonial wars, given that it is the decision of the Spaniards to conquer the Rif - nominally part of their Moroccan protectorate but still independent de facto - that launched the entry of France in 1924.


We were not able to locate any other examples of the map.

Condition Description
Minor soiling.