MOROCCO’S PIRATE HISTORY- RABAT
Jade did well to skirt Rabat since the French made it their capital after WWI when they formed the Protectorate in Morocco. But even before the French occupied it, this coastal city had a colorful history of battles and piracy.
In Rabat’s case, the old Roman settlement became part of an independent Berber kingdom. Just across the river, the city of Sale grew as another Berber stronghold. The kasbah shown in the photo below, was constructed in the 12th century in Rabat as protection in the battles between these two rival city kingdoms. As can be seen in the closeup, these walls were not built of stone, but of clay brick and a crumbly mortar.
Both Rabat and Sale are probably more well-known for the pirates that harbored there beginning in the 17th century. Jade’s history lessons would have included a section on America’s dealings with the Barbary pirates from Morocco and the other Barbary (Berber) countries. These corsairs demanded tribute from nations and held sailors and ships captive until the money was paid. In fact, much of what Jade saw in Morocco was built using slaves taken as prisoner by these pirates. Thomas Jefferson saw that there could be no end to these demands for tribute. Up to that time, the United States didn’t have much of a navy, but that changed soon enough. As a girl, Jade would have learned of the courageous and daring battles that the marines fought on “the shores of Tripoli” against these pirates.
Next time: More Morocco trivia