History in Agadir

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The history of Agadir goes way back. Unfortunately, there is nothing left to show for it. It all ended with a huge earthquake in 1960.

Before that fateful day, Agadir enjoyed the same history as most of the other coastal towns of the Sultanate. It was conquered by the Portuguese in the 15th century. The European traded directly with Saharan caravans, which cut out the middlemen from Fes and Marrakesh. A Portuguese merchant built the castle of Santa Cruz de Capo Gere. The castle rapidly became the largest and most profitable Portuguese fortress in Morocco. The Saadians, a holy family from the Draa Valley, re-conquered Agadir in the 16th century. It enjoyed some autonomy from the central state in the centuries to follow, mainly because it was on the other side of the High Atlas.

Agadir made world headlines in 1911, when the Germans sent a gunboat to the harbor. By the end of the 19th century, Spain, France, Italy and Britain had split North Africa into agreed areas, excluding the Germans. In the pretense of helping a Moroccan sultan claim independence, the Germans sent a gunboat to Agadir. After much colonial diplomacy and postponements, Morocco’s independence was bought for several million square miles of French West Africa.

Shortly after midnight, in February 1960, Agadir was totally destroyed and half of its inhabitants were buried alive in an earthquake that would change the face of this coastal city.

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