|The flag of the International City of Tangier|
|A map of the International Zone|
The European dispute was resolved with the signing of the Tangier Protocol in 1923, which declared the city a 373-square-kilometre demilitarised international zone, to be co-administered by an international multi-tiered legislative body representing the UK, France and Spain. The treaty was mediated by the League of Nations and the city's native population was under the 'nominal sovereignty' of the Moroccan Sultan. Portugal, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and the United States later joined to co-administrate the zone.
The full text of the Tangier protocol can be viewed here
For an intimate portrayal of life in the Tangier International Zone, I redirect you to this wonderful essay.
|A scene in Tangier|
Suffice to say that the native Moroccan population were not favourable to the foreign presence nor to the International Zone itself which they called "a plague zone infested and infected by infidels".
On 14 June 1940, the day Paris fell to the invading Germans during World War 2, the Spanish army occupied Tangier, incorporating it into its Moroccan possessions and assumed policing powers of the zone, calling it a 'wartime measure'. This drew international condemnation, particularly from the British government, worried about the Spanish entering the war on the side of the Nazis. The Spanish guaranteed rights of British subjects in the city and to not fortify the zone. In May 1944, German diplomats from the city were expelled.
Following the end of World War 2, the Spanish withdrew from the city and the international zone was reinstated.
The nine Western powers met in 1956 and agreed to abolish the zone and to secede it to the newly-independent Moroccan state (treaty text here). Pre-1956 Tangier had a population of 40,000 Muslims and 31,000 Europeans.
- Susan Gilson Miller (2013). A History of Modern Morocco. ISBN 9781139619110, pages 88-104
- Finlayson, Iain (1992). Tangier: City of the Dream. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-00217857-5.