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island, E Va., in S Chesapeake Bay. Capt. John Smith first visited the island in 1608, and in 1620 settlers arrived from Cornwall, England. Isolated from the mainland, the people of Tangier developed a distinct culture.


(tănjēr`), ancient Tingis, city (1994 pop. 497,147), N Morocco, on the Strait of Gibraltar. The city has a busy port and building, fishing, and textiles industries. Tourism is also important. The walled Moorish town adjoins a European suburb. Tangier was probably founded by the Phoenicians. It was a free city under the Romans and the chief port and commercial center of Morocco until the founding (808) of Fès. It was captured from the Moors by the Portuguese in 1471 and was transferred to England as part of the dowry that Catherine of Braganza brought to Charles II. The English abandoned the city to the Moroccans in 1684. By the mid-19th cent. it had become the diplomatic center of Morocco. When the rest of the country was divided between Spanish and French protectorates in 1912, the status of Tangier remained vague. Finally, in 1923–24, an international zone administered by France, Spain, and Britain (Italy joined in 1928), was set up. The city was included in the zone as a duty-free port. During World War II, Spain controlled the zone. In 1945 it was returned to international control by agreement of Britain, France, the United States, and the USSR. Tangier remained under international control until 1956 when it was returned to Morocco.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(also Tanger; in Arabic, Tanja), a city and seaport in northern Morocco; situated on the Strait of Gibraltar. Capital of Tangier Province. Population, 187,900 (1971).

Tangier is the trade, transportation, and transit center of northern Morocco. Major exports are citrus fruits, vegetables, and preserved fish and fruit. The city has enterprises of the food-processing, textile, and cement industries. In 1965 a duty-free zone was established in the port to bolster the city’s economy. Tangier is connected by railroad with the city of Fès, and an international airport is located nearby.

Tangier was founded at the end of the second millennium B.C. by Phoenician colonists. In the first century B.C. it came under Roman rule. The city was conquered by the Vandals in the fifth century A.D., by Byzantium in the sixth century, and by the Arabs in the early eighth century. Tangier was one of the major economic and cultural centers of northern Morocco. It was conquered by the Portuguese in 1471 and was nominally ruled by Spain from 1580 to 1643. In 1661 it passed to England as part of the dowry of the Portuguese infanta Catherine of Braganza, bride of the English king Charles II. In 1684 it was reunited with Morocco and became one of the capitals of the Moroccan state.

In 1912 an imperialist partition of Morocco put Tangier and approximately 380 sq km of surrounding area under the jurisdiction of a special regime. In 1923, France, Great Britain, and Spain signed a convention declaring Tangier an international, neutral demilitarized zone; the city nominally remained under the sovereignty of the Moroccan sultan but actually was under the jurisdiction of the Committee of Control and other international administrative agencies.

From 1940 to 1945, Tangier was occupied by Spain. It was reunited with Morocco in 1957, after the declaration of independence of Morocco in 1956. This political reunion was confirmed in October 1956 by a conference of countries party to an agreement on Tangier’s status, including France, Spain, Italy, the USA, and representatives of Morocco.


SSSR i arabskie strany, 1917–1960: Sb. dokumentov. Moscow, 1961. Pages 228, 287–88.
Durdenevskii, V. “K likvidatsii zony Tanzhera.” Mezhdunarodnaia zhizn’, 1957, no. 1.
Tanger et sa zone. Paris, 1920.
Crowder, M. “Tanger: International City.” Geographical Magazine, 1957, vol. 29, no. 12, pp 596–606.
“Tanger depuis l’indépendance du Maroc.” Maghreb, January-February 1966, no. 13, pp. 38–51.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


a port in N Morocco, on the Strait of Gibraltar: a Phoenician trading post in the 15th century bc; a neutral international zone (1923--56); made the summer capital of Morocco and a free port in 1962; commercial and financial centre. Pop.: 526 000 (2003)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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