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(Re)claiming walls: the fortified Medina of Tangier under Portuguese rule (1471-1662) and as a modern heritage artefact.

ON 28 AUGUST 1471, a Portuguese infantry detachment accompanied by such cavalry as could be spared, under the command of D. Joao, son of the Duke of Braganca, made a forced march north from Arzila (Azlla, Asilah) to Tangier (T anja). The latter lay deserted, the town's inhabitants having fled upon learning that the smaller Moroccan Atlantic port of Arzila had fallen to king D. Afonso V. On 29 August D. Joao's men entered unopposed an urban shell reportedly gutted by fires, set so that "as casas e reliquias ... sem proveito dos christaos se destruissem e queimassem". (2) Almost a century earlier, the Granadan Nasrid troops evacuating the port of Algeciras on the opposite shore of the Straits of Gibraltar had more than enough time to wreck their fortifications. The Muslim exiles of Tangier did not: barely five anxious days had elapsed since the taking of Arzila. An intact enceinte--even though not an intact town--thus passed into Portuguese hands. (3)

In early February 1662, under far different circumstances, during the effective cession of Tangier to the English--who received it in 1661 as part of Catherine of Braganca's dowry upon her marriage to Charles II--most Portuguese settlers chose to leave with the last governor, D. Luis de Almeida. Scathing English comments accused them of carrying away all they could, including "the very ffloers, the Windowes and the Dores", leaving the place "very little better than a ruin of walls and full of spoile, scarsity and want as to all such materialls and utensills as could have given assistance to English souldiers". (4) Twenty-two years later, as the English left in their turn, the urban fabric was ruined even more methodically. By 6 February 1684 the houses were "all down to the ground". With key new additions to the port already demolished, hurried final steps were taken to finish "blowing up the walls and other fortifications of the town and castle". However, as Routh (1912) and others have noted--and as in situ remains clearly attest--the destruction was less thorough than official statements and Thomas Phillips' vistas (1683 and 1684) might suggest. (5) Despite five months of English efforts, (6) Moroccan troops entering the town after daybreak on 7 February found a badly crumpled but salvageable urban perimeter.

If portions of the old Portuguese/Islamic enceinte proved stubbornly resilient in 1684, so did the long since rebuilt sea-front during the French naval bombardment of August 1844. Contemporary summaries such as Mullie's formulaic praise of counter-admiral Prince de Joinville intimated that the walls targeted by the Suffren, the Jemappes and the Argus crumbled within seven hours. (7) The tone of finality, however, is once again belied by later evidence. Parts of the enceinte conforming surprisingly well to seventeenth-century data still overlooked Tangier's port fifty years after the barrage. Granted, the weather had not been ideal, the ships had mainly targeted the Kasba and the shore batteries (apparently in order to spare assets belonging to the subjects of other European powers), and the gunners paused until John Drummond Hay, the British Consul, had reached the safety of a European vessel. Granted again, the barrage inflicted c. 600 casualties (220 killed, 400 wounded) and produced the desired diplomatic outcome. In terms of finite structural effects, however, only the rubble bounced. (8)

Eroded and gradually obscured by rebuilding and by absorption into the town's fabric, remnants of the old fortified shell have continued to define spatially the medina or Old Town into the modern era. In 2007-8 the enceinte is being "reclaimed" once again, together with the more malleable urban interior (destroyed, rebuilt, and adapted several times over). A key transportation node, Tangier has been reinventing itself since the late 1990s as the northern gateway to Morocco and even to West Africa, and as a vigorously promoted venue for the tourist and conference industry. In tune with its candidacy to host Expo 2012 (competing against Wroclaw [Poland] and the final winner--Yeosu [Korea]), Tangier seeks to become a sophisticated recreational destination, a port-of-call for international sailing regattas, and a venue for such cultural and business events as the Biennale de la Mer (thus joining Naples, Marseille, and Barcelona). The flow of foreign visitors is set to expand with the completion of the new port of Tangier Mediterranean/Tanger-Mediterranee, 35 km west of the city. A further boost should come from an ambitious counterpart to the English Channel's Eurotunnel--a 27.7 km undersea link joining Punta Paloma (Spain) and Cape Malabata near Tangier. (9)

In June 2006, ODEP (the Tangier Port Management Office) announced that the old port spreading below the medina would be converted to a leisure craft and cruise-ship facility, following the transfer of general passenger and cargo traffic to the new Tangier-Mediterranean hub. The existing infrastructure is to be upgraded and the quays adapted for use by large cruise liners. Plans are in the making to co-ordinate sports fishing and other tourist activities with partner ports in Spain. (10) This trend appears to confirm the long-run recreational vocation of Tangier and by implication also enhances the status of the medina as a shared European-Maghribi heritage resource.

Concurrently, bilateral cultural cooperation between Morocco and the Iberian Peninsula has intensified, amid an awareness of the need to manage closely intertwined historical and environmental assets. The path is lined with landmarks such as the project Alkantara, sponsored by the Diputacion Provincial de Malaga (seeking to raise tourist awareness of the paired destinations of Malaga Interior and the Region of Tangier-Tetouan), or the restoration and thorough reorganization of Tangier's Musee al-Kasba (completed in August 2006), supported by the Moroccan Ministry of Culture with an investment of DH 3 million and by the Junta de Andalucia with DH 1.5 million. (11) The ties have expanded to include not only the south of Spain and Catalonia but also Italy, for instance in the context of a pilot Master's degree program (2004-7) in Cultural and Natural Heritage Management at the Universite Abdelmalek Essaadi in Tetouan, with support from the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (Tarragona), the Universitat des Illes Balears, the Universita degli Studi di Urbino "Carlo Bo", and the University of Malta. It is also necessary to mention such multilateral projects as CASTRUM (program Interreg III-B Medocc, 2003-4). Designed to promote sustainable tourism within the context of heritage asset development in smaller Western Mediterranean localities endowed with remnants of fortifications, CASTRUM enlisted institutions and organizations from Morocco (Tanger-Tetouan and Meknes), Spain (Murcia), Portugal (Algarve), and Italy (Piemont, Valle de Aosta, Liguria, Emilia-Romagna, Toscana, Umbria, Lazio and Calabria). (13)

Yet, amid the bustle of construction, development programs, personnel formation, inaugurations, and high-profile visits (for instance by the dignitaries of the Bureau International des Expositions in connection with Tangier's Expo 2012 candidacy), concerns persist about a de facto neglect of local heritage assets, particularly in comparison with Arzila or Safi, whose medinas showcase acceptably revitalized vestiges of Portuguese military architecture. In Tangier, urgent investment considerations and a largely cosmetic beautification seem to have overshadowed any systematic research or archaeological salvage that might be needed to endow heritage assets with a solid interpretive framework. The Institute for Nautical Archaeology (INA) affiliated with the Texas A & M University has conducted underwater surveys in Tangier Bay (1999), for instance, but little has been accomplished on shore. (14)

The issues were officially brought into sharper focus in 2001, at wilaya level, by the local association Al-Boughaz and its partners. The most urgent points included a) the establishment of a formal heritage index, b) visible identification, restoration and maintenance of historic sites and monuments, c) a cap on encroachments associated with ill-planned new construction within the medina, d) environmental and urbanistic scrutiny of additions to the port and its Free Port Zone extensions, and e) deconges tion of the town centre. More specifically, Al-Boughaz called for measures designed to a) halt the deterioration of the medina, b) address the dilapidation of the Kasba walls, c) put certain heritage assets to better use (for instance by converting the old Kasba Prison to a museum), d) restore the Place du 9 Avril as the "proper" historic centre of Tangier, (15) e) streamline uncontrolled commercial development along the waterfront, and f) find long-term solutions to festering issues of sanitation and public infrastruc ture. (16)

By the spring of 2002, bodies such as the AUT (Agence Urbaine de Tanger) were pressing for a general archaeological survey of the Wilaya of Tanger-Tetouan and, just like Al-Boughaz, for a more comprehensive classification of historic and cultural sites. High on the AUT's agenda was the restoration, identification, and highlighting of landmarks. The most urgent appeals focused, however, on monuments outside of the medina proper, particularly on the endangered seventeenth-century fortress of Dar (Kasba) Ghaylan (c. 1664). Projects under the auspices of the Wilaya Tanger-Tetouan and related agencies included for instance the Parc de Perdicaris (R'milat), to the west of Tangier, while Al-Boughaz was showcasing such assets as, once again, the Perdicaris area, the ancient archaeological site of Zilil, the old Gran Teatro Cervantes (1911-12), and the former Grand Hotel Villa de France. (17) Almost simultaneously, within a multi-agency context and using private-public partnerships, the Societe Nationale d'Amenagement de la Baie de Tanger (SNABT) became one of the hubs for an infrastructural, urbanistic, and environmental revitalization of the Bay of Tangier as a whole. (18)

As late as 2004, however, efforts on the heritage front had yielded limited results, and acrimony persisted about the neglect of valuable cultural features in the context of a directionless urban and recreational development push.19 Having participated in 2002 in a new wilaya meeting to discuss a study of the urbanistic rehabilitation of the medina, Al-Boughaz, for instance, did not progress much further, in practice, than the restoration of five local fountains. (20) By 2005, however, the broader equation was changing. In hindsight, the factor that unintentionally helped to shift the balance of interests toward heritage conservation in the medina was the rapid construction of the large new international port of Tangier-Mediterranean (Tanger-Med). (21)

As far as Tangier's urban fabric is concerned, the AUT began to move into position as a leading player in the urban rehabilitation game by October 2005. Almost simultaneously, the Conseil Regional du Tourisme published in 2005 a new guide to the region, featuring contributions by the building inspector, journalist, and acknowledged regional expert Mohamed Temsamani. (22) The AUT's mission, in the context of giving the Bay of Tangier a facelift, seems to range from pinpoint supervision of building sites to a strategic shaping of urban development. The rehabilitation and modernisation of Tangier's key assets, promoted by AUT's Khalid Alami Chentoufi as part of a holistic "urban project", includes not only a remodelling of the transportation grid, but also the clean-up and consolidation of historic sites and the eventual urbanistic reclaiming of the entire medina. It meshes with a wilaya-level drive to beautify the Tangier Bay littoral boulevard--the corniche--and to create a matrix of new paved sidewalks, green spaces, and pedestrian-only zones. (23)

Despite careful planning, problems are almost certainly bound to arise from the rapid pace of development and from the multiple regional effects of new satellite urban communities planned to accommodate both recreational needs and the labour-force for the new port and its Special Economic Zones. (24) With regard to Tangier's medina, debates were sparked off, for instance, by the potential impact of the new wastewater treatment plant developed by the firm Amendis (the long-term concession holder for the management of the city's power, water-supply, and sewage) at the foot of the medina's northern cliff (Dar el-Baroud sector) (see Map 1). (25) Con struction at the site, by the outlet of the "Sewer-Main of the Portuguese" (Collecteur des Portugais) that handles much of Tangier's liquid waste, began in 2004, with further expansion planned for 2015. On balance, however, the location appears adequate, in the light of Al-Boughaz's earlier concerns (2001). Any impact on archeological features is likely to be limited, barring new underwater discoveries.


All things considered, there is a clear need (with a touch of urgency) to identify the remnants--tangible as well as suspected--of Tangier's pre-1684 Islamic, Portuguese, and English architecture, and to trace their evolution systematically--above all with respect to the single stubbornly enduring component: the fortified perimeter whose outline and remnants mark a physical boundary between the historic (the medina, with its distinctive street plan) and the modern. (26) Tangier no longer possesses the coherent or partially coherent historic vestiges that, at Ceuta, Alcacer Seguer, Arzila, Azemmour, Mazagan and Safi, have prompted and still prompt restoration or maintenance as regionally or internationally listed heritage assets integrated into contemporary life. The 1683-4 demolition, even though not quite effective, reduced portions of the enceinte--as well as much of the old urban fabric--to ruins either preserved below ground or embedded in later structures. The medina's fortifications never became a mere boulevardline palimpsest, but neither do they remain as a readily intelligible artefact. Yet the enceinte, the two vanished castles, and other key urban landmarks are paradoxically better documented than most of the former European coastal outposts recaptured by Morocco. The vagueness of current conservation strategies reflects not so much a lack of data as research bottlenecks and disjunctions.

The Literature

For Tangier, there exists at present no adequate counterpart to Mohamed Cherif's coverage of Almohad and Marinid Ceuta or Antonio Bravo Nieto's research on early modern Melilla. (27) Guillermo Gozalbes Busto's classic article "Tanger medieval" (1980), which concludes with the events of 1471, offers a bulky and often useful introductory assemblage of material drawn from the most essential sources, presented chronologically and interwoven with commentary, but falls short of systematic analysis. (28) More recent publications are too uneven in scale and scope to permit outlining a coherent urban history of late Islamic and early Portuguese Tangier. For now, at least, what is known of Tangier and its vicinity during the Roman era and in late Antiquity--largely thanks to Michel Ponsich and Ahmed Siraj-surpasses our grasp of the town's evolution prior to and just after the 1471 occupation. (29)

Among the older Iberian and French publications dealing specifically with post-1471 Tangier, short polemical pieces such as Jose de Esaguy's Tanger sous la domination portugaise (1471-1663) are of scant value today. (30) The solid antiquarian works of Afonso de Dornelas (1914) and Vieira Guimaraes (1916) remain by contrast essential: they combine transcriptions of key documents paired with valuable leads for further archival research. (31) The corpus of Robert Ricard's studies (1927-53) devoted to the Portuguese in Morocco also retains its significance, even though snippets of material must sometimes be extracted from articles ostensibly unrelated to Tangier. (32) Several shorter works devoted in particular to the last four decades of Portuguese presence appeared in the 1970s. (33) More recently, the broader military and economic and architectural context of the Portuguese alem-mar enclaves in Morocco has been re-examined by Antonio Dias Farinha, Pedro Dias, and Rui Carita. (34) Studies published over the last fifteen years have revisited such assorted topics as the dowry cession of Tangier to England, the failed Tangier expedition of 1437, and the politics of the Portuguese drift toward military disengagement from Morocco under D. Joao III. To this roster should be added papers presented at the I and II Coloquio de Historia Luso-Marroquina, held respectively at Casablanca and Lagos (Por tugal) in 2005 and 2006. (35)

The primary baseline for further work on Portuguese Tangier's urban history remains the "Tanger" chapter in Pedro Dias' A Arquitectura dos Portugueses em Marrocos (1415-1769) (2000). (36) In terms of methodology, a fresh conceptual framework has emerged from Jorge Correia's brief discussion (2004) of the fifteenth--through seventeenth-century architectural trends, echoed more amply in subsequent conference presentations and ultimately in Correia's doctoral thesis (2006) and in its book version (2008). (37) One of Correia's approaches has been to treat urbanism as a "textual" mirror of political culture, with urban morphology conceived as "representational performance". (38) The symbolic value of Portuguese landmarks is well arti culated in this schema, but at the expense of the technicalities of military engineering.

As far as Tangier is concerned, Correia characterizes the period from 1471 to the end of Alfonso V's reign as one of propaganda investment (cathedral and a new gothic palace/castle within the qasba), congruent with the Alfonsine imagery of a reborn Portuguese Hercules dominating the Straits of Gibraltar. The "more realistic" reign of D. Joao II (1481-95) is associated with a spatial language of sober defence. The later sixteenth century, up to the battle of Qasr al-Kabir (Alcacer-Quibir) (1578), is presented as a re-affirmation of Tangier's role as a showcase stronghold, embodied in a modernized citadel. Finally, the era of Portugal's dynastic union with Habsburg Spain (1580-1640) comes across as a new phase of security consciousness, yet blighted by a neglect persisting past the restoration of Portuguese independence. As we shall see, however, not all of Correia's framing hypotheses regarding the extent of the pre-1471 Islamic fortified perimeter are sufficiently grounded. (39)

British studies concerned directly or indirectly with seventeenth-century Tangier have typically focussed on the twenty-two years of English rule (1662-84), and on aspects confined to English foreign policy or naval and military history. (40) Little effort has been made to use relevant English sources for the purpose of retracing the urban history of Portuguese Tangier, or conversely, to seek in Portuguese sources a better grasp of issues facing the English after 1662. In the late 1930s and then in the early 1970s Spanish and French editions of Peninsular sources relating to English Tangier briefly appeared to hold the promise of bridging the two sets of evidence. The endeavours bore little fruit, however, either in terms of a close reading of seventeenth-century data, or in terms of the analysis of military plans and draughts. (41)

The most authoritative English monograph remains E. M. G. Routh's dated but fundamental Tangier, England's Lost Atlantic Outpost (1912). Lt.-Col. Walter Bulmer Tate Abbey's occasionally cited Tangier under British Rule (1940) is a relatively slender work by a British Army active service officer with a long and diversified career in India and Burma, who turned to the Tangier topic only in his old age. (42) Patrick Trunbill's 1978-9 vignette of English Tangier adds little to our knowledge of the early years and of the urban fabric inherited by the town's new masters. (43) The same is true of Peter Boxhall's two-part sketch in the Army Quarterly and Defence Journal.44 In terms of contextualizing the pictorial evidence for the history of English Tangier, Gillian Williams' brief survey of Wenceslaus (Qer. Wenzel, Cz. Vaclav) Hollar's engraved views of the town (1669-71) remains helpful, as does F. C. Springell's essay dealing with some of Hollar's less known draw ings. (45)

The disparate character of the Anglophone literature is epitomized, on the one hand, by Andrew Saunders and on the other hand by Linda Colley. Saunders' exemplary monograph (2004) devoted to Charles II's military engineeer Sir Bernard de Gomme is certainly no exception to prevailing patterns in dealing with Tangier--mainly English sources are used, in a distinctively Anglocentric setting. None the less, the relatively slim Tangier segment and its illustrations constitute a fundamental point of reference. (46) By contrast, Linda Colley's sketch (2004) of Tangier's transition from Portuguese to English rule, with its forceful but unfortunately misleading account of the handover's architectural implications, has only helped to muddle issues:
   The Portuguese had allowed the place to decay, and major
   rebuilding began almost as soon as the 4000-strong occupation force
   arrived ... Long, fortified walls began to coil around the
   settlement 'one without another, as there are [skins] to an onion'.
   The Bohemian engraver turned English court artist, Wenceslaus
   Hollar, sketched some of them on an official visit in 1669,
   together with the newly named towers and fortresses they
   interlinked ... these drawings suggest something of the scale of
   the English investment in Tangier, and their confidence at this
   stage in its permanence. The drawings convey something else as
   well. Hollar's panoramic views of the new fortifications are
   clearly designed to impress ... (47)

Pace Colley, however, no "major rebuilding" of defences accompanied the transition. No new "fortified walls" began to coil round Tangier "almost as soon as" the English forces arrived, and Hollar's excellent sketches of the main urban enceinte hardly document wholesale "English investment in Tangier"--the ramparts as such are of authentically Portuguese fabric, partially incorporating earlier Muslim defences. (48) The Hollar vistas are less a witness to post-1662 English confidence than--through a layered heritage of brick and stone and tile--to the preceding two centuries of Lisbon's defense commitment. They do captivate, but mainly as an almost photographic glimpse of an old Maghribi/Portuguese town, with key post-1662 additions limited to an ambitious but never fully satisfactory breakwater (the Mole) and to a quick-fix array of tactical redoubts and earthworks (not "fortified walls"). (49)

Sources and Interpretation

Anyone who has tried to collate in Lisbon's IAN/TT documents relating to the building or maintenance of Tangier knows the frustrations of the task, not alleviated even by the newly introduced and very useful public online access to images of documents from the Corpo Cronologico. The relative dearth of mutually corroborating sequences of surveys and/or builders' instructions (regimentos), particularly for the first half of the sixteenth century, complicates tracing the evolution of Tangier's fortified perimeter. The town's obras are documented with opaque sparseness, compared to other Portuguese outposts in Morocco, and even such treasure-trove sources as the 1514 "record of survey" (auto de medicao) (IAN/TT, Nucleo Antigo 769), so helpful in the case of Alcacer Seguer, are reticent when it comes to Tangier. (50) The standard early seventeenth-century description published by Dornelas, found among the papers relating to the Tangier governorship of D. Pedro Manuel (1617-22), is of limited use unless framed by other data, both earlier and later. (51)

Furthermore, certain papers that today might prove invaluable seem to have been held at Tangier until the English takeover, and were later lost. Thus the Earl of Peterborough reportedly received in 1662, upon becoming Governor, a confidential Portuguese guide to the town's works. Customarily passed from one governor to the next, it detailed, among other, all the key water conduit junctions. Lord Peterborough took the document to England upon leaving his post, as Pepys records, and later claimed to have somehow mislaid it. Col. Percy Kirke ascribed to this negligence the ultimately crippling failure to maintain flow in local wells and fountains during the English occupation. (52)

The best known post-1662 English memoirs and descriptions of Tangier are unfortunately even less informative than the Portuguese sources. They do supply valuable details, yet remain too sparse to be intelligible in themselves--they acquire meaning only against the background of all other available evidence. (53) By contrast, the English-era iconography is uncommonly rich, ranging from scenic and bird's-eye views to scale draughts made by military engineers in English service. It constitutes an indispensable key to decoding the written sources and putting them to adequate use in a spatial context.

The present study explores the configuration of Tangier's defences from c. 1471 to 1662 (with necessary excursions into the 1670s and early 1680s), and attempts to reframe several basic questions regarding the medina's overall development by carefully correlating visual and written sources. Methodologically, it reflects current approaches in urban archaeology that maximize crosscuts between archaeological and historical evidence--a trend suitably highlighted in the late 1990s for instance by Philippe Bernardi and Anna Boato. Given the lack of relevant survey and/or excavation results from the medina, the study adopts a variant of Bernardi's third approach to archival material--"virtual" archaeology (the Bernardian "analyse archeologique des sources ecrites"). (54) Moving beyond an "archaeo-iconography" of Portuguese Tangier, however, the study seeks to establish in so far as possible a comprehensive diachronic framework that combines historical analysis with a tentative planimetric reconstruction of the Portuguese-era urban fabric.

The starting point for the reconstruction were the seventeenth-century military draughts discussed in the next subsection. Bernard de Gomme's key draught (NMM P43, fol. 2) was treated as a base-line "master" for the year 1664, georegistered on a GIS software platform to a simplified modern street plan of Tangier (refined and adapted using aerial photography) by means of 21 control points arrayed mainly along the enceinte. Points 1-13 (Map 1) are the most valid historically, and have been corroborated on the ground (in part), through satellite imagery analysis, and through comparative study of modern maps. The remaining control points emerged from recursive matching between satellite imagery, aerial photography, and the "master" overlay, in a stepwise process of improving the registration. They are thus in principle "derivative", except for point 19, where the fit quickly became convincing. De Gomme's other sketches were then matched to this composite of street plan, imagery, and the "master" (NMM P43, fol. 2), using appropriate control points. Finally, three supplementary plans, one from the Bibliotheque Nationale de France and two from the Krigsarkivet in Stockholm, were added.

Some caveats are necessary. As one would suspect from the pattern distribution of control points (Map 1) dictated by historical source constraints, and given the characteristics of De Gomme's draughts, (55) the "master" (NMM P43, fol. 2) could not be perfectly matched to street plan/imagery using any single higher-order polynomial image transformation. Additional "tweaks" through manual mesh warping were applied to obtain better registration, although this was kept to a minimum. While an excellent match was achieved along the enceinte, the procedure of course had implications for image areas outside the perimeter line, particularly for De Gomme's 1664 street plan (Maps 2 and 3). Potential lack of fit therefore increases away from the enceinte. Aggravating this, the accuracy of De Gomme's measurements was probably lower within the built-up area than along the enceinte.

It is thus comforting to note that despite such limitations, despite the 1683-4 demolition, and after 325 years of urban change, a few broad similarities emerge between the modern street plan and that of 1664, particularly along the Rue Jnane al-Captan, around the Place de la Fuente Nueva, along the line Rue des Siaghines, Petit Socco, Rue de la Marine, around Rue de la Poste and Rue Skiredj (former Rue Colaco), and between the enceinte and the Place du Progres (Maps 1 through 4). (56) The weakest elements are the geometry of "Catherine Street", the "Marketplace", and of the Rua da Misericordia area, and the exact locations of the marketplace fountain, the pelourinho, the "Court of Guard" (Corpo da guarda), and parts of the Convento S. Domingos. Here the distortion of the reprojected De Gomme plan may be significant, albeit (1) the 1683-4 demolition of large structures in this area may have accelerated street plan change, and (2) buildings would have spontaneously encroached on the prime real estate of the original marketplace, until only today's Petit Socco remained as a distorted palimpsest (a similar process occurred inside the former citadel (Castelo velho)). (57)

Core Iconography: Military Plans

The most versatile and comprehensive military plans of Tangier--both full and partial--were draughted by Sir Bernard de Gomme. A native of Terneuzen in Flanders, denizened in England by Act of Parliament only in 1667, De Gomme first arrived in Tangier in mid-January 1664 to work for Governor Andrew Rutherford, Earl of Teviot. He returned to England on 30 May 1664, leaving behind various unfinished additions to a system of forward outworks, entrenchments and strongpoints, together with a set of architect's instructions. (58) Ordered back to Tangier in 1665, De Gomme set out on 20 February and remained in Morocco until 4 May. The six essential documents that survive--overall plans and working sketches of details, either inscribed by or attributable to De Gomme--have been well set in context by Andrew Saunders, and there is no need to dwell on their general aspects. (59)

The following five items are particularly relevant to reconstructing Tangier's pre-1684 urban fabric: National Maritime Museum (NMM) P43, fol. 2 (orig. 1664) and P43, fol. 3 (c. 1664); Public Records Office (PRO) [now National Archives (London)] MPH 1, fol. 20; PRO [NAL] MPH 1, fol. 21; and PRO [NAL] MPH 1, fol. 43. Four of these are conveniently available in Saunders' monograph, but the reproduction quality of the key P43, fol. 2 (securely dated, and inscribed "Sr Bernard De Gomme Fecit") is so low that serious analysis requires consulting the original. (60) P43, fol. 3 is an unsigned and undated earlier version of the latter. As Saunders correctly notes, it reveals additional detail and topography inside the town. (61) PRO [NAL] MPH 1, fol. 21 and PRO [NAL] MPH 1, fol. 43--the latter a partial sketch of Tangier's old defences, from the Porta do mar (Engl. Sandwich Gate) along the entire land-front to (and including) the Castelo velho citadel (the former Islamic qasba)--significantly help to clarify features shown in P43, fol. 2, but in no way replace it. (62) Even De Gomme seems to have considered the latter the ultimate "exact platt" (i.e. plan)." (63) Finally, PRO [NAL] MPH, fol. 20 shows the profile and measurements of the old Portuguese curtain walls, such as those by the Porta do campo (Land Gate, Eng. Catherine Gate, or Catherine Port ("Poort" in De Gomme)), and includes proposals for improvement. (64)

Relatively precise as they are, however, De Gomme's draughts certainly do not hold all the answers. Corroborating them and making better sense of various features calls for other sources, both English and French. De Gomme's coverage of the Castelo velho (Eng. Upper Castle) and the Castelo novo (Eng. York Castle) is usefully complemented by two earlier plans--one partial and one full--drawn by the Swedish engineer Martin Beckman, attributable to early 1662 and discusssed below. (65) Also helpful is an undated set ("Tangier, and the coast line [sic]," temp. Char. II) ascribed to Beckman and originally included among the maps in BL MS Add. 33233. (66) The anonymous NMM F1959 P/43(7), dated March 1670,--"Part of Tangier being what comprehends ye new works"--is a basic schema of the waterfront and both castles, Velho and Novo, at a scale of c. 1:1,20o. (67) The old Portuguese harbour, the proposed but never built quays enclosing it integrally, and a refurbished Customs House complex appear with considerable whimsy partly outweighed by some handy structural hints in "The Little Mole, Wharf, and Custom House", dated December 1675 and reproduced in Routh's Tangier. Finally, details of the old Portuguese breakwater and of the Portuguese hornwork on the slope below the Castelo novo are covered in the encyclopedia-style "Draft of the Mole of Tangier, Taken 10 August 1670" (likewise in Routh). (68)

Two other anonymous overall plans, differing mainly in draughtsmanship, are useful for validating De Gomme's street layout, as well as the location of garrison posts, storage facilities, certain gardens and open areas, and churches. One of these (ink and light color wash) is preserved in the Bibliotheque Nationale de France (Ge DD 2987 (8064) BN C.Pl.) and the catalogue tentatively dates it to the 1700s. The other version (ink, elaborate colour, and detailed shading) is held in the foreign section of the Swedish Krigsarkivet (War Archive). (69) Titled "Planta von Tanger", it is equipped with a legend that matches the Paris plan closely (including some terms left in French). The French document, in turn, preserves a scaling/copying grid. Both items postdate 1663, and despite the BNF's tentative dating they show Tangier before 1683-4. Internal evidence further points to an early stage of English occupation. The English breakwater is labelled "nouveau ... commence en 1663", the structure (at least in the Paris version) is rendered in the same dotted lines as the proposed land-front works, and the layout, which does not quite match known English plans, is likewise tentative. (70) The outlines of the new detached and attached counterscarps and/or bastioned works are a mixture of the various ideas explored in De Gomme's draughts. (71)


The mid-seventeenth century plans, however, while capturing adequately the layout of Tangier's defences and the general street plan, furnish few unambiguous clues to specific stages of the town's development since the familiar early sixteenth century vista incorporated in the first volume of Braun and Hogenberg's Civitates orbis terrarum (1572) (72)--unfortunately not a draught but an artistic panorama, with all the genre's drawbacks. Without visual guides filling the chronological gap, it can indeed prove difficult to correlate features on the ground with those mentioned in relevant Portuguese texts, including Conde da Ericeira's Historia de Tangere. (73) Furthermore, the English military draughts lack for the most part the old Portuguese toponymy (quite naturally, given the tendency to render strange surroundings more congenial by renaming or "Englishing" them). (74) Some of these bottlenecks have been resolved here, on the one hand through detailed analysis (in the context of all other related draughts) of John Seller's standard bird's-eye view "Royall City of Tangier in Africa", and on the other hand thanks to two items from Stockholm's Krigsarkivet, better known to historians since 2002-4 and more widely accessible since 2008, but hitherto little used. (75)

One of the Krigsarkivet pieces belongs to the now famous Atlas del Marques de Heliche, a collection that emerged from relative obscurity in 2001-2. Like the rest of the codex, the draught was authored by the Bolognese artist Leonardo de' Ferrari for D. Gaspar de Haro y Guzman, Conde de Morente and Marques de Heliche, in 1650-5. The other piece, Krigsarkivet no. 0406:07:009:001, happens to be the original upon which Ferrari relied in preparing the Atlas de Heliche version--it is one of the eight identified surviving sources available to Ferrari thanks to his patron, D. Gaspar. (76) The author remains unknown, and so does the exact date. Suggestive similarities, however, exist between this draught and Krigsarkivet no. 0406:18:006:001, which depicts the fortifications of Lagos. Furthermore, as Luis Fraga da Silva of the Campo Arqueologico de Tavira has recently argued (2008), Ferrari's plan of Tavira in the Atlas de Heliche seems to draw on a lost Portuguese original dating to c. 1542-68. (77) Fraga da Silva points out that the Tavira plan is characteristically scaled in Portuguese bracas of 2.2 m--and georegistering Krigsarkivet no. 0406:07:009:001 to the present study's composite ground plan revealed that each major segment of the unlabelled scale bar equals c. 22 m, or 10 Portuguese bracas (the second major bar segment from the right indeed shows ten subdivisions). Ferrari thus clearly had access in the 1650s to a discrete body of Portuguese originals (or at least originals destined for a Portuguese audience), some dating as far back as c. 1550, which were subsequently acquired by the Swedish diplomat, philologist, and collector Johan Gabriel Sparwenfeld (1655-1727) when he purchased the Atlas de Heliche during a mission for king Karl XI in 1690.

Having been used by Ferrarri, Krigsarkivet no. 0406:07:009:001 necessarily predates 1650. Furthermore, a date no later than 1627 is supported by the absence of Tangier's great northern snub-nosed bastion, and the layout of adjacent structures confirms this to be no careless or deliberate omission--the bastion simply was not even on the drawing board. (78) The draught shows instead, in this area, an intact full-length couraca wall securely dated from other sources to 1543-4 (Couraca 3, Maps 1 through 3; for discussion of chronological sequence see pp. 183-5 below). (79) The anglebastioned trace of the new Castelo velho citadel, completed in the main by 1566, is rendered in careful detail, substantially matching later documents. The north-east half-bastion's angle as constructed--based on the evidence of later English draughts--differs, however, from the rendering in Krigsarkivet no. 0406:07:009:001. Everything suggests that the latter may thus be an original, or copy of an original, reflecting the 1548-60 planning stages of Tangier's modernization discussed in the "Castelo velho" section below, a process associated in particular with the mestres de obras Andre Rodrigues and Jorge Gomes, and with the brothers Cristovao and Vasco da Cunha. The key importance of Krigsarkivet no. 0406:07:009:001 lies in preserving information that would have otherwise been obliterated by the changes and omissions that Ferrari made when preparing the version inserted in the Atlas de Heliche.

Core Iconography: Views and Panoramas

Next it is necessary to consider various comprehensive views--ground-level as well as bird's-eye--that can both assist and often enough complicate the task of tying together ground plan evidence from the English and Portuguese periods. (80) The earliest, it seems, is the view of Tangier now preserved in the British Library, beautifully reproduced in full colour on p. 80 of Dias' Arquitectura. Attributing it to Cpt. Martin Beckman, Dias was lavish with praise:
   ... pormenorizado levantamento das muralhas e da rede viaria, e do
   seu estado de conservacao datado de Novembro de 1661 ... este plano
   de Martin Beckman tem a virtude de dar uma vez mais e com rigor o
   estado das nossas proprias [i.e. Portuguese] fortificacoes.

The main difficulty, however, is that this "desenho a voo de passaro", referenced in Dias' notes with the shelfmark "Maps K.Top.117.77", is neither the Beckman plan preserved in the British Library under 117.77, nor the plan commonly but erroneously mentioned in the literature under this shelfmark. (81) Clearly visible on the Arquitecturas reproduction, the pencilled mark 117.80 identifies it instead as "A plan or bird's-eye view of Tangier; drawn about 1662", catalogued by the library without attribution of authorship. (82)

Beckman's actual plan 117.77 is a scale drawing (1:19,800 (or 2 1/2 furlongs to the inch)) that focuses on the bay and harbour of Tangier. It features the location "wher ye Royall James rode at ancor in November, 1661" and indicates the bearings of different landmarks. (83) The plan, prepared under the authority and possibly with close involvement of Sir Edward Montagu, Earl of Sandwich, is most likely a fair copy incorporating, among other, sketches and/or notes made in November 1661. It is doubtful, however, whether the latter represents the final date. The earliest field data may indeed span the period between 10 October (when Sandwich's squadron dropped anchor in Tangier Bay) and late November. A sensible date for the final product, however, absent evidence to the contrary, seems to fall between 14 January 1662 and 18 February (when Sandwich sailed for Lisbon). (84) Much depends on whether we consider 117.77 to be an initial survey made largely from shipboard, before the actual cession of Tangier to the English, or one further corroborated on shore. Sandwich's survey of Tangier Bay namely continued even after the arrival on 29/30 January 1662 of the main English force and of the new Governor of Tangier, Henry Mordaunt, 2nd Earl of Peterborough. (85)

For the rectification and refinement of any draughts (whether 117.77 or others) by taking measurements on land, I am inclined to favour only late January/early February 1662. Prior to this, engineers in English employ would not have had straightforward access to the fortifications, unless Beckman scouted them out covertly. (86) The event that accelerated Sandwich's "taking possession" of Tangier was only the dramatic defeat inflicted by Moroccan irregulars on a Portuguese raiding party, intercepted six miles inland on Sunday, 12 January 1662. Following this disaster, Sandwich received on Tuesday, 14 January, a hurried request for military assistance, and then, around 4 pm on 16 January the first English party of some 80 seamen took station in the Castelo novo. Friday, 17 January 1662, would have given the first easy opportunity to inspect the walls closely during daylight. One may well wonder, however, whether this was a priority in the bustle of Sir Richard Stayner's landing that day with 120 seamen and a group of officers. Furthermore, the town had technically not changed hands even after another contingent of 100 men was landed on 23 January. The official ceremony took place only when Peterborough arrived with his main force. (87)

Barring prior covert (or semi-covert) reconnaissance, it is thus at best during the last week of January that Beckman would have had the leisure to perfect a scale plan of Tangier. Moreover, upon the town's cession Peterborough received, together with the traditional insignia of office, certain Portuguese documents that might have made the draughting easier. (88) Right after the landings, it would have been clearly more expedient to cobble together BL Maps K.Top.117.80, a heavily generalized false perspective conceptual drawing not exactly to scale, as opposed to a topographically correct draught. Yet it remains unclear where 117.80 exactly fits in among the English plans made in the early days, or indeed whether it should be so dated. We only know that of the three plans that document the new owners' initial stock-taking, BL Maps K.Top.117.80 is the most archaizing, the least accurate in some respects, and certainly the least likely to have guided engineers. At best it might have served as a vanity prop in political discussions.

On 28 February 1662, a Friday morning, Samuel Pepys presented a newly made "fine map of Tangiers, done by one Captain Martin Beckman, a Swede", to the Duke of York, on behalf of Lord Sandwich, at the Whitehall in London. There is little doubt that this was the item of whose dispatch from Tangier to London Sandwich advised Pepys on 30 January 1662: "a little longe box which is a mappe of Tanger which you must be sure noebody opens nor sees, but with your owne hand deliver it to his Royal Highnesse." (89) The timing squares fairly well, moreover, with the session of the expeditionary corps' Council of Officers on 12 February 1662, which issued orders for a list of supplies to refurbish the fortifications. Beckman, in his capacity of Fleet Firemaster, was among those assigned to this task, and it is logical to suppose that by then more or less serviceable draughts would have been on the table to guide recommendations to the Ordnance Office. (90)

The recorded allusions to the map inspected by Pepys and the Duke of York, however, do not quite match the characteristics of 117.77, contrary to what Saunders suggests--or of 117.80, for that matter. The notes to the Latham and Matthews 1970-83 edition of Pepys' Diary may thus be correct in identifying the map as BL Maps K.Top.117.78, catalogued under the title "A plan of the town of Tangier, made by the Schwedische Captain Martin Boekman fecit [sic]", a drawing on vellum, 69 x 61 cm (scaled at 10 rods, of 10 ' each, to the inch). Admittedly, the 117.80 bird's-eye view displays more of the trappings of a "fine" although partly useless presentation map (i.e. not to scale and somewhat impressionistic). Yet, even though the exact relationship between the plans remains to be established, I am disinclined to identify 117.80 as the item whose utmost secrecy Sandwich stressed so vigorously.

Whichever of the three plans Pepys brought to the Duke of York's chamber, it is nonetheless beyond debate that BL Maps K.Top.117.80 and its earliest companion English plans of Tangier reflect, as Dias argued, the state of the fortifications and of the urban fabric before the new owners had any time to implement changes. When carefully and critically crossreferenced with later documents--particularly De Gomme's draughts--they offer a solid baseline for determining Tangier's appearance during the last years of Portuguese rule.

The other bird's-eye views, more widely known than the problematic 117.80, include (a) the vistas compiled and produced by Sir Jonas Moore, (91) with the Bohemian artist Wenceslaus Hollar acting as engraver (1663-4); (b) the standard "Royall City of Tangier in Africa" by the "Hydrographer to the King" John Seller (1630-97) (engraved by John Oliver); (c) Seller's topical "The Royal City of Tangier with the Lines and Fortifications when it was Ataqued by [y.sup.e] Moores in May, 1680," (engraved by S. Moore) (16805); and finally (d) the same print--and map-publisher's "Four Large Prospects of Tangier ... Two of the Town, and Two of the Ruines after it was Demolished" (1685). Seller's first "Royall City" view was designed for the perfected Atlas Maritimus, or the Sea-Atlas, Being a Book of Maritime Charts, launched at the relative high point of Seller's career, before he narrowly averted bankruptcy in 1677. (92)

Despite the simplified and partly indistinct details of the waterfront, the Degraos da ribeira, and the Castelo novo, the "Royall City" matches very well the street plan in NMM P43 fol. 2, as well as in the Bibliotheque Nationale's Ge DD 2987 (8064). Its main contribution is an architecturally schematic but very suggestive three-dimensional visualization of De Gomme's plans. It offers a good impression of built-up areas, gardens, and green spaces (partly corroborated by Ge DD 2987 (8064) and by its homologue in the Krigsarkivet), and supplies, albeit under an Anglicized cloak, basic elements of the Portuguese street toponymy (see Map 4).

The final component in the array of visual records facilitating a retrospective study of Portuguese Tangier are the famous and frequently reproduced views, both vantage-point and panoramic, prepared by Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77), "scenographer" to King Charles II. Sent to Tangier in 1668, Hollar produced most of them in 1669. By 1675 assorted prints were on sale at John Overton's shop, the White Horse, by London's Newgate, as "Divers Prospects in and about Tangier, Exactly Delineated by W: Hollar; his Mayties designer, Ao 1669, and by him afterwards to satisfie the curious etched in Copper". (93) Hollar and his large oeuvre have recently been covered in well-crafted general monographs (1994-2002), and at least one earlier study has focussed on the Tangier vistas. Dias' Arquitectura also systematically highlights the Hollar drawings. (94) The vistas remain a valuable source of underused data, mainly owing to their hitherto imprecise correlation with the military draughts and overall bird's-eye views on the one hand, and with Tangier's modern topography on the other hand.

The Medina of Tangier

"Big Tangier" and "Small Tangier" Theories

The size of the pre-1471 medina has recently become a matter of debate, which only archaeology is likely to resolve. Commonplace assumptions implicitly equating the fortified area of c. 1460-1514 with the present-day medina have been initially challenged by Pedro Dias (2000), and then by Jorge Correia (2006-8). Dias based his argument on in situ observations, on Hollar, and on unspecified "other pictorial documentation". In his view, the Islamic town's southern wall originally--and as late as the reigns of D. Joao II (1481-95) and D. Manuel I (1495--1521)--ran from the Place 9 Avril (Grand Socco = Su q al-Barra = Souk Dbarra) and the Bab Fahs, along the Rue des Siaghines, through the Petit Socco (Socco Chico = Suq al-Dakhil = Souk Dakhel), and to the Rue de la Marine (thus "mais adentro do que agora se encontra"). Subsequently this wall is supposed to have been razed to accommodate, behind a new stretch of enceinte, the area--partly corresponding to the present Beni Idder quarter--between the Rue des Siaghines and the current remnants of sixteenth-century walls along the Rue de Portugal (Zankat Portugal). (95) Correia, by contrast, in direct opposition to Dias, postulates a maximalist pre-1471 Tangier, with walls originally skirting the modern Avenue Hassan II, through the Place de France, and down the street Khalid ibn Oualid (a perimeter beyond the limit of the present study's maps). The two models are discussed as needed, in the current section and in the subsequent one, as well as in the analysis of Tangier's land-front.

Dias' argument, as formulated, seems to reflect an unspoken notion that the line Rue des Siaghines--Petit Socco--Rue de la Marine might be a commonplace "fortification palimpsest" within Tangier's urban fabric. This clashes, however, with prevalent even though ad hoc readings of Tangier's urban history since late Antiquity. The Rue des Siaghines is usually assumed to match the decumanus maximus of Roman Tingi, with the forum located somewhere around the Petit Socco. Underneath the present-day Grande Mosquee are supposed to lie either the remains of the Roman capitolium, or of a temple dedicated to Hercules. (96) The area south of the axial decumanus should thus have been situated intra muros, remaining so at least as long as the late Roman layout remained moderately defensible. How the town's fabric changed thereafter is of course an open question. Despite recent contributions by Ahmad Siraj and others, much needs to be clarified with regard to Tingi's evolution between the arrival in North Africa of Genseric's Vandals in 429 ce and the entry of Muslim Berber/Arab contingents into Visigothic Iberia (crossing the Strait of Gibraltar (Bahr al-suq St) in July 710 and in April 711 CE). (97)

Accepting Dias' proposition at face value would position the late medieval settlement core--both immediately before and after 1471--and presumably also the earlier Islamic town cores ('Umayyad through Marlnid) north of the conventional decumanus line, around the old valley of the Wadi al-Ahardan (roughly the line Place de la Fuente Nueva, Place Oued Ahardan, Rue Hadj Mohammed Torres) (see Map 1). For several reasons this is unlikely. Firstly, let us go back to the early days of Muslim rule over Tangier. Ahmad Siraj has argued persuasively, with some support from Antonio Torremocha Silva, that while the post-706 ce settlement shifted away from the port, it did so toward the south-western (not western or north-western) higher ground. (98) Such a shift is fully consistent with the location, to the south of the decumanus axis, of Tangier's congregational mosque (a mosque, then the Se Catedral of Nossa Senhora da Conceicao after 1471, and mosque once again since 1684). Early Islamic Tangier was thus most probably structured around the Su q al-D akhil, with the mosque off-centre yet close by.

Postulating a late Islamic to early Manueline south town wall along the Rue des Siaghines-Rue de la Marine line would relegate, however, the pre1471 mosque--as far as we know the main place of prayer--to a rather odd position, virtually extra muros, more like an open-air musalla than an urban masjid jami'. The eloquent Portuguese accounts of raids against Tangier in the early 1460s attest nothing of the sort, neither mosque nor musalla, outside the south wall--although the chroniclers would surely have noted the overrunning of a Muslim place of worship by Portuguese cavalry, particularly during the foray in the spring of 1461, led by D. Duarte de Meneses (by then Count of Viana) and D. Fernando, the eldest son of the second Duke of Braganca. (99)


Secondly, the area around the mosque and the later Portuguese Rua da Misericordia (see Map 4) partly exhibits the urbanistic features of an Islamic "noble quarter", unlikely to have been virtually glued to the town wall (or even partly overlapping it). The area seemingly enjoyed such status already by 1051-69 ce (i.e. the later years of the IdrIsid freedman and chamberlain Suggut al-Barghwatfs administration of Tangier and Ceuta), if not earlier. (100) The dating is suggested by a commemorative stone plaque, still extant in 1661, originally located in a patio of the Rua da Misericordia's ornate but ruined madrasa that became the Portuguese Franciscan convent (14721568), (101) passing then to the Trinitarians (Ordem da Santissima Trindade), and the Dominicans (1575), before its Santiago Chapel became the English church of Charles the Martyr after the 1662 takeover (see Maps 4 and 5). (102) The 1.5 m x 0.5 m plaque, described by Ericeira, reportedly dated the completion or restoration of the madrasa and/or of a contiguous residence (possibly an expression of H ammu did suzerainty over Tangier from c. 1016-18 onward) to 442-3 AH/1050-1 ce, or according to other authors, to 1069 ce. (103)

The difficulty is that the "translation" offered in Ericeira's Tanger is mostly fantasy, a mixture of Tangerine folklore and story-tellers' confabulations retailed (with wry amusement, one must suppose) by an unknown local informant. Dates are eyecatching in inscriptions, as well as easier to decipher, and the ones mentioned above might well be correct, but the plaque--purportedly an abridgement of a longer inscription installed in the qasba--is likely to have been made later. Its commissioning is ascribed in the Historia's "translation" to "Jacob Almanzor"--either the Almohad Abu Yusuf Ya'qub al-Mansur (580 AH/1184 CE-595 AH/1199 ce) or the Marlnid Abu Yusuf Ya'qub al-Mansur (656 AH/1258 CE-685 AH/12 (86) ce) (with the balance of likelihood tipping toward the former). (104) Dias seems to assume that this artefact was the same as a plaque described by George Phillips in 1675, mounted "at the Entrance from the Vestry of the English Protestant Church of Tangier, called CHARLES the Martyr, formerly a Moorish Convent." (105) It is possible, however, that we are dealing with two discrete items.

Firstly, Phillips meticulously reports the plaque's date as 29 RabI'a II 743 ah, i.e. 9 October 1342, as opposed to the calendrically macaronic "ultimos de Agosto" of 443 AH in Ericeira. The AH years, of course, as well as the respective day and month notations, are close enough to make it possible that 743 was misread as 443 and 29 RabI'a II cursorily miscalculated as "the end of August". On the other hand, Phillips' translation--albeit truncated--makes no obvious mention of Ya'qu b al-Mansu r. No further comparison can be made beyond this point. The Phillips text, more sober than Ericeira's, is a standard list of revenue-generating hab Os properties endowing the Rua de Misericordia madrasa. These include shops in the nearby suq, as well as "below" the madrasa (toward the Bab al-bahr (Sea Gate)), and fields, orchards, houses and wells in the town's vicinity. (106) The date matches very well the lavish madrasa-building program of Abu 'l-Hasan 'All (731 AH/1331 CE-749 ah/ 1348 ce), supported by extensive hab Os endowments--and Ibn Marzuq's Musnad indeed attests the building of madrasas in Tangier and Ceuta at this time. Ibn Marzu q's admiration for their carved wood, stucco, intricate tile designs, and polychrome marble foreshadows word for word both Ericeira and Phillips. (107)

Big, small, and the south wall puzzle

To do justice to the "small Tangier" and "big Tangier" theories, Ericeira's Historia indeed stresses that the Portuguese did not attempt to garrison the entire town at first, and that D. Afonso V, "pareciendole ... que la ciudad era grande y necesitaba de guarnicion correspondiente a su defensa, la mando disminuir". Gozalbes Busto's "Tanger medieval" accepts this version at face value. (108) Settlement in early Portuguese Tangier may thus have temporarily contracted, as Correia suggests, but in my view this would have at best occurred in a northerly direction--for the sake of the argument even to the decumanus line. If this was the case, however--problematic as the assumption might be--then the late Islamic (pre-1471) enceinte must have been more extensive than Dias allows, further supporting the present article's analysis of the masjid jamipSe Catedral area (see pp. 137-8 above), even though the true extent of the Islamic enceinte remains to be corroborated. Yet it is doubtful whether a solid full-scale pre-Manueline wall reflecting the town's temporary "retrenchment" was ever constructed along the decumanus line.

It is equally if not more doubtful whether Correia was right in speculating that a bloated pre-1471 Marinid town wall must have skirted the line Avenue Hassan II, Rue de Belgique, through the Place de France, and then down the street Khalid ibn Oualid. The essence of the argument seems to hinge on three factors: (a) D. Afonso V's planned tactical "retrenchment" (a procedure of atalho that Correia pertinently highlights in the case of other Portuguese outposts in Morocco, in particular Azemmour); (b) the "linearity" of the "new" Portuguese walls, as opposed to a "more organic Islamic typology"; and (c) the fact that Tangier's modern European ville nouvelle was initially separated from the medina by an empty/green belt (comprising e.g. the Cimetiere Bou Arraqia and the Jardins de la Mendoubia) that Correia interprets as a palimpsest of the pre-1684 Portuguese/ English defensive no-man's-land between the pre-1471 "Mareinid" and the greatly diminished post-1471 "Portuguese" walls. (109) Yet Dias' tentative inter pretation of the scope and direction of the "retrenchment" seems more plausible, despite the inherent problems, than Correia's. The "linearity" argument fails to hold up as soon as one considers for instance the very "linear" Marenid ramparts of the al-Binya "new town" (1279-85) in Algeciras. (110) As to Correia's third point, archaeology will have to have the last word. No extant sources, however, written or visual, show any hint of old walls in the appropriate area and the Portuguese chronicles bring evidence that, while inconsistent with Correia's hypothesis, matches whatever else we know of Tangier's enceinte. (111)


Let us focus on the south wall problematized by Dias. Its appearance in the earliest draught of the defences, Krigsarkivet no. 0406:07:009:001, as well as in Braun and Hogenberg's Civitates, matches in the main the post1662 English plans. (112) The Krigsarkivet draught reflects, as we have seen, conditions around 1548-64. The Civitates vista, although published in 1572, structurally predates the mid-1560s (the old qasba is not a modernized angle-bastion citadel, as yet). The absence of the tell-tale couraca between the north-western corner of the qasba and the sea--built in 1543-4--pushes the date even further back, before 1540. The view's annotations, finally, imply a date later than the reign of D. Joao II (1481-95), while supplementary evidence from IAN/TT NA 769 partially supports a date prior to 1514. (113) The general wall configuration common to both documents, the Krigsarkivet draught and the Civitates vista, is thus most probably attributable to the reign of D. Manuel I (1495-1521). At this time the south wall already followed the 1662 fortified trace, elements of which, having survived the 1684 demolition, remain embedded in the urban fabric along the Rue de Portugal.

Barring archeological test probes, the wall configuration cannot be dated more precisely and there is no conclusive proof that it followed the line of an earlier Islamic wall. The following is the available evidence, in chronological order. The otherwise invaluable 1514 "record of survey" (auto de medicao) is of little help.114 The Braun and Hogenberg vista shows a straight curtain wall between the south-western corner tower corresponding to the later Irish Battery and the cubelo the English called the Devil's Tower. It lacks the two wall insteps tactically substituting for cubelos or traveses, as well as the half-octagon postern gate that De Gomme called the "Old Gate", describing it in 1664-5 as "made up", i.e. blocked (see Maps 1 through 4, sub Porta velha/Porta de Alcacer). (115) Such ommissions in the admittedly schematic view may be factitious, but the wall, for all its archaism (note the deprecating English comment (1675) about "a high, thin, oldfashioned wall, (much like to that of Droghedah in Ireland")), (116) is no medi eval curtain with regularly spaced round cubelos--quite unlike Tangier's long and equally antiquated west land-front. This appears congruent with an early sixteenth century origin.


Krigsarkivet no. 0406:07:009:001 shows no attempt to either broaden or reinforce the south wall to match the work that was carried out, around or before the mi-1560s, along crucial sections of the west land-front. (117) The south-west corner that eventually became the Irish Battery is a curious compromise. The battery is a smaller, understated, externally attached square baluarte gun-tower, almost dwarfed by the proportions of the expanded bend of the parapet behind it. The draught either "proposes" or depicts the encapsulation of this baluarte within a simple "angle bastion" shell with miniature orillions. The lack of elevation drawings makes it difficult to visualize the structure. Along the better part of the south wall, between it and the clearly delineated counterscarp of the modernized dry ditch, runs what can only be interpreted as a barreira (fausse-braye). It is difficult to say, however, whether or not it is a remnant of the pre-1471 Islamic barreira mentioned in the chronicles discussed below. Its truncated state supports the notion, but the curvilinear segment in front of the "Old Gate" casts doubt on it. Finally, the draught confirms that the sloping segment of wall between the Devil's Tower and what the English called the East Tower, already shown in Braun and Hogenberg, was essentially a double-walled seaward couraca, with a flight of steps running the length of it, interrupted by two landings. (118)


The British Library's K.Top. 117.80 introduces unexpected complications because, while ostensibly more recent (c. 1662), it portrays a south wall that demonstrably did not exist not only in 1662, but not even when the sketch for the Braun and Hogenberg vista was made more than 150 years earlier-the wall features a tall and round gun tower at the emplacement of the square precursor of the Irish Battery, a round off-center gate tower with flanking cubelo, and two other small and distinctly archaic medieval cubelos, one between the Devil's Tower and the gate, and the other between the gate and the future battery. Either this portion of 117.80 is nothing but fantasy, or it incorporates elements of a now lost, very early, possibly preManueline, Portuguese sketch of the south wall area. Why this should be so while the rest very simply captures the post-1630 configuration of the walls remains a puzzle. (119)

What of the narrative evidence? The two standard fifteenth-century chronicle accounts of the area and of the adjacent western land-front throw additional light on some issues, but stop short of definitive answers. Relating to the years 1437 and 1461, the observations are embedded in Rui de Pina's Cronica do Rei D. Duarte and Chronica d'El-Rei D. Affonso V and in Gomes Eanes de Zurara's Cronica do Conde D. Duarte de Meneses. The first set reflects Infante D. Henrique's attempt to take Tangier by assault in 1437. The south wall is not mentioned at all, and the tactical deployment of the Portuguese forces during the assault of 20 September 1437 covers only the land-front from the Fez Gate (later Porta do campo or Catherine Gate) along the modern Rue Kasba (Zankat al-Kasba), up to and including the qasba land-front. (120) This might of course mean that Dias was right--in 1437 the south wall (i.e. his hypothetical old Islamic wall) still ran roughly along the decumanus line--the Fez Gate could in this case have been the first, a corner one, along the land-front (a rather far-fetched idea). The other way of reading the narrative would be that no conclusion is possible because (a) the south wall may have lacked a valuable gate, (121) (b) the overstretched Portuguese were unable to mount an assault along the entire perimeter, and (c) given the shortage of ladders and bombards the Portuguese had to confine operations to the tactically much more important upper part of the town.

The second narrative, dealing with the south wall area explicitly, details a 1461 raid by D. Duarte de Meneses and D. Afonso de Vasconcelos (later Conde de Penela). After forcing the Wadi al-Melaleh crossing near Tanja al-Bali (Old Tangier), the Portugese vanguard pushed forward impulsively and chased retreating Moroccan militiamen along the shore of Tangier Bay, toward and past the naval yard (taracenas, arsenal). The pursuit was so hot that some militiamen could not make for the gates and were forced to use ladders to seek the safety of walls. Whether the walls in question were those of Tangier proper or of the fortified naval yard is unclear. In any case, however, the passage implies that the yard lay outside the south wall, yet close by.

Having reached the town, the Portuguese riders had a good view of both the land-front and of the seaward curtain wall, on top of which only a few women were seen, throwing stones at the assailants. The base of the curtain was shielded by a fausse-braye (barreira) (possibly the same as, or a precursor of, the one shown in Krigsarkivet no. 0406:07:009:001). (123) Otherwise, the entire account foreshadows very closely the topography of Hollar's engravings, as well as (even more significantly) the Civitates' very prominent and striking extra muros location of the naval yard ("arcionale in quo naves conficiuntur"). (124) The latter concordance--between the 1461 and c. 1500 configurations--seriously undermines any notion of a "large" pre-1471 Tangier reaching in this particular sector as far south as the modern street Khalid ibn Oualid, the hypothetical south wall line in Correia's model. (125)

This does not mean that a drastic urban retrenchment evoking a Diaslike "pre-Manueline" layout was never considered. It indeed was, briefly, in the early seventeenth century--yet significantly enough not in the context of undoing any late Manueline or Joanine (Joao III, 1521-57) southward expansion of the walls. The proposal to shrink the town's area--for the first time within recorded memory, as Ericeira stresses--was part of a controversial plan for garrison reduction. The notion of erecting new defences along the Rue des Siaghines--Petit Socco--Rue de la Marine street line and razing everything to the south (thus a classic atalho "retrenchment" of the kind discussed by Correia in other contexts) elicited the reaction that if "the kings of Portugal, being lesser [in prestige], had not done this, such an upset would redound greatly to the discredit of such a great monarch [Felipe III (r 1598-1621)]." (126)

The stillborn project was promoted by general Antonio Pereira Lopes, former governor of Tangier (22 August 1599-22 September 1605), sent to North Africa during the governorship of D. Afonso de Noronha (1610-14) to achieve savings and root out administrative abuse. (127) The setting was one of penny-pinching reformas worming their way through the Conselho da Fazenda in 1611-13, in the context of the Madrid government's preoccupation with treasury control and with new expenditures reflecting the Spanish acquisition of the small but strategic Moroccan port of al-'Araish (Larache) (1610), and its fortification by the Italian military engineer Giovanni Battista Antonelli. (128)

The Castelo novo and the sea-front

The Castelo novo (York Castle). From the late fifteenth century to the English evacuation, the Castelo novo remained the dominant feature of Tangier's waterfront. The Civitates vista attributes its construction to the reign of D. Joao II (1481-95) ("arx sdificata a D. Ioanne Lusitania Rege, eius nominis II"), and the main works integrating the Castelo into the defences of the Old Port ("Vieux port des Portugais" in BNF Ge DD 2987 (8064)) are likely to be roughly contemporary. Minor ad hoc improvements aimed at modernizing the fifteenth-century structure spanned the 1500s. The antiquated Castelo, deprecated by the English in terms of military value, was partly blown up on 4 February 1684, according to the log of HMS Grafton, and the last demolition charges probably detonated on 6 February. (129) The general discussion of the structure offered in Dias' Arquitectura needs no reiterating. Thus far, however, research has not considered in suitable detail either the Castelo's location or its exact layout (beyond what can be deduced, not always reliably, from confronting the Civitates vista with Hollar's engravings). (130)

The Castelo novo ranks among Tangier's most extensively documented structures (in both plan and elevation). Georeferenced correlation of the relevant military draughts with modern topography suggests (with minor caveats) that the Castelo and its outer defences occupied the north-westernmost corner of the modern medina's built-up area, between the later Dar el-Baroud fortifications and a boundary c. 20 m north-east of and parallel to a virtual line connecting the well-known old Hotel Continental (131) and the middle of the Place de l'Arsenal. The only part of the Castelo extending prominently into the later Dar el-Baroud proper was a couraca thrust northeast along the crest of a rocky spur that ran offshore as a reef starting just shy of the modern Bastion el-Baroud. An irregular pentagon c. 29 x 38 x 36 x 25 x 30 m according to the rectified English draughts (c. 33 x 33 x 33 x 22 x 19.8 m according to Krigsarkivet no. 0406:07:009:001), the Castelo was bounded along its right-angle land-front (south and west) by an L-shaped dry ditch c. 10 m wide (4 bracas in Krigsarkivet no. 0406:07:009: 001). The main access was from the south, across an arched stone bridge equipped with a drawbridge section--at least one arch, best discernible using digital scan enhancement, appears in Hollar's "West side of Yorke Castle"). The bridgehead was shielded by a low baluarte barbican which some draughts render as a hexagon and others as a half-decagon or halfoctagon. The barbican's entrance was from the south-east, opening into a kill-zone between the torre de menagem and a cubelo north-east of the modern Hotel Continental. (132)

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Title Annotation:parte 1; texto en ingles
Author:Elbl, Martin Malcolm
Publication:Portuguese Studies Review
Article Type:Ensayo
Date:Jan 1, 2007
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