Britain and Morocco during the Embassy of John Drummond Hay, 1845-1886

Britain and Morocco during the Embassy of John Drummond Hay, 1845-1886

Britain and Morocco during the Embassy of John Drummond Hay, 1845-1886

Britain and Morocco during the Embassy of John Drummond Hay, 1845-1886

Synopsis

Using the life & work of John Drummond Hay, British resident in Tangier in the 19th century, the author observes the progress of relations between Morocco & Great Britain.

Excerpt

The gradual, yet systematic, undermining of Moroccan sovereignty by the European powers in the nineteenth century has been a dominant theme in Moroccan historiography for the last twenty-five years. This understanding of Moroccan history, revising the older, colonial view of a country ossified in the past and awaiting the civilizing mission of the colonial powers, has not been well integrated in the history of diplomatic relations. In this insightful book, Khalid Ben-Srhir, brings to the English reader a revised understanding of the diplomatic relations between Morocco and Britain. Although Anglo-Moroccan relations have been the subject of a number of extensive studies, none have succeeded in giving the Moroccan perspective on this relationship the way this book does. The Moroccan records at the Foreign Office archives at the Public Record Office, the most extensive foreign archive on Morocco for the nineteenth century, has been extensively exploited as the principal source for a number of studies. Yet Khalid Ben-Srhir culled from a number of rich, still untapped series in the archives, and discovered a range of documents, which, combined with material in the Moroccan archives, allowed him to revisit old questions with new details and insights.

The period with which this book is concerned was very much the era of John Drummond Hay. Both by force of his personality and skillful diplomacy, Drummond Hay was the most important influence among all the foreign representatives in Morocco, at a time when British influence in the country was supreme among the foreign powers and rivals. The Commercial Treaty of 1856 between Morocco and Britain, engineered largely through the efforts of Drummond Hay, became the blueprint for commercial agreements with other foreign powers. The treaty opened Morocco to an era of 'liberal' trade that was unfavourable to Morocco, inexorably weakening the ability of the Makhzan (as the Moroccan Government was called) to withstand foreign inroads. The effort by the Sultan and his government to stem the tide of foreign penetration through the old reliance on royal merchants, was challenged by increasingly aggressive foreign merchants, who through the new commercial agreements and the growing abuse of consular protection, were able to dominate Morocco's maritime trade despite the sometimes tepid support of their own governments.

The enormous influence of Drummond Hay is well known to historians of nineteenth century Morocco, but prior to this work, the full extent of his impact

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