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Spies, Pirates, and Lions: US-Moroccan Relations through the lens of the Tangier American Legation

The old American Legation in the medina of Tangier holds a number of distinctions.  It is the first property the United States owned abroad, it is the only overseas site on the National Register of Historic Places, and it was an active diplomatic structure longer than any other diplomatic presence of the US abroad. Today the structure houses a museum, cultural center, and research library, maintained by a US-based NGO and a small local staff.  2021 is the bicentennial year of the Legation.  The property was gifted to the young United States by the Sultan of Morocco in 1821.  Through the legation and its history, this presentation considers the rich history of US-Moroccan relations, as well as the role of the Legation during the period when the city of Tangier was under shared international rule, including during the Second World War. It also tells the story of some unusual, albeit less historically significant episodes in the history of the Legation, such as the pair of lions who briefly resided on the premises, and the dispatching of American Marines in a case of mistaken identity.  This presentation also sets out to challenge some common perceptions about power and its hierarchies during this time period by taking a closer look at some of the correspondences between the Moroccan sultan and US presidents. 

This presentation is by Michael Toler, Archnet.org Content Manager in the Aga Khan Documentation Center, and Secretary on the Board of the Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies

Tuesday, January 19, 2021
4:00pm - 5:30pm
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Profile photo of Michael Toler, Ph.D.
Michael Toler, Ph.D.