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Saturday, 16 June 2012
The Harbour


At Barcalona last weekend. You can get a ferry from here to Tangier in Northern Morrocco. The journey time is over 24 hours.

Wikipedia informs me that Tangier was an “English town” from 1662,

when it was given to Charles II of England as part of the dowry from the Portuguese Infanta Catherine of Braganza, becoming English Tangier. The English gave the city a garrison and a charter which made it equal to English towns. The English planned to improve the harbour by building a mole. With an improved harbour the town would have played the same role that Gibraltar later played in British naval strategy. The mole cost £340,000 and reached 1,436 feet long, before being blown up during the evacuation.

The term “mole” in this context refers to a breakwater, such as that in the foreground of my photograph of Barcelona, above.

I find the uncritical (almost comically positive) account of English colonialism in Wikipedia somewhat disturbing. It is done by focus on “facts”, in which England was given the colony, and therefore doesn’t examine the context and what England was doing in the Meditteranean (or elsewhere) at that time. It mentions “planned improvements” without examining what the purpose was, or what would have been “improved”, or for whom. It claims that the occupying garrison and charter made it “equal” to English towns, but “equal” in what repect? What were the contents of this charter and whom did it benefit: the local population, or the English settlers and traders, and of course their king? Who were the Tangierines and what was English rule really like for them? You won’t find any of the answers on Wiki.

Posted by bigblue on 16/06/2012 at 10:47 AM
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