The phrase “Moorish American” was used in 1893 by Sir Charles Euan Smith

Charles Bean Smith (he added Euan to his surname later) was the son of Dr Euan McLaurin Smith, of Georgetown, British Guiana, and his wife Elisa Bean. In 1887 he was appointed Her Majesty’s Agent and Consul-General for the Dominions of the Sultan of Zanzibar. In February 1890 the Sultan died and Euan-Smith took advantage of the situation to persuade the new Sultan, Ali bin Said, that Zanzibar should be a British protectorate. This resulted in the so-called Heligoland–Zanzibar Treaty of July 1890 in which Germany and the United Kingdom agreed on territorial interests in East Africa. In 1891 he was appointed “Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Emperor of Morocco“, based in Tangier. In 1892 he travelled to Fez, the capital, in the hope of concluding a commercial treaty, and an agreement to end slavery. After disagreements with the Sultan, the mission failed and no treaty or agreement was signed. Euan-Smith was relieved of his post in 1893.  Stephon Bonsal published the following accounting of Smith’s experience in Morocco. 

“The Moors are ardent sportsmen. While it is nowhere set down in the Koran that such will be the case, I am told that preachers in the mosques never hesitate to promise the faithful plenty of boar hunting in Paradise. During luncheon, the Khalifa proposed the loyal toast of the “Star-Spangled Banner.” Imagine my surprise when, the toast hardly out of his mouth, the hunters and the beaters, to the number of some fifty or sixty, who were sitting about us waiting hungrily for the bones which we were picking extremely bare, sprang to their feet, and shouted “Hip, hip, hooray! The Moorish accent of their words made it all the more amusing. When I expressed my surprise to the Khalifa he laughed, and said, “Why shouldn’t they shout for the stars and stripes? They are good Americans, as their fathers were before them. We are all American citizens here. Let’s hold a political meeting.” The Khalifa went on to narrate, how sixty years before, the village had been taken under American protection for some reason by the consul of that day, and that it had remained under American protection ever since. This practice was but another abuse of the protege system, but still, it certainly had its good usages. The men of this village, the name of which I forget, were faithful and efficient servants of the Legation and of Americans because they could look forward with equanimity to the frequent changes that new administrations bring about in our consular corps.” See Page 266

“The English Legation also is guilty of a similar irregularity. They protect the village of Swani, which is much nearer Tangier. The Swani men proved very faithful in guarding Sir John Hay some forty years ago, when ain guarding Sir John Hay some forty years ago, when a body of Ibdow a horsemen set upon him, and would probably have done him bodily injury, because a horse of his breeding had proved superior in a race on the beach to their champion. The swani men and the Moorish Americans, I regret to say, get along very badly with one another. They are continually at strife and fighting as to whether England or America was the most powerful nation of the earth.” See Page 266

“His face, however, was radiant with delight, this strange Moorish American companion of mine. “You missed,” he shouted at last, no longer being able to suppress his merriment. “That miss will cost you four dollar foreit to be distributed among the villagers.” I thought my Moorish friend a very deep and dis with the agreeable fellow indeed.” See Page 269

“But my money is money after all, and my companion this time was a Moorish American. Our English tent was not nearly as comfortable as the Moorish one of camel’s hair that the men had brought as a kitchen.” See Page 270

Source: Morocco as it is: With an Account of Sir Charles Euan Smith’s Recent Mission By Stephen Bonsal

15th Century Moorish-English Relations


Laamiri contends that for Rogers, the first official contact between Great Britain and The Empire of Morocco goes back to 1213 when King John of England dispatched an Embassy to sultan Mohamed Ennassir, Morocco’s fourth Almohad ruler (1199-1213), asking for an alliance against France and support against his enemies within Britain with the promise that he would embrace Islam. The details of this embassy, according to Rogers, were recorded by Mathew Paris and later published and kept at Saint Alban Abbey.  Rogers made of this mission the subject of the whole first chapter of his History and gave many details of the encounter between Ennassir and King John’s two envoys [Thomas Hardington and Mathew Fitz-Nicholas] to the court of Morocco. The first Moroccan Ambassador to London, Kaid  Jaudar ben Abdallah, was sent by Mohamed Ech-Cheikh to King Charles I with a message of peace and friendship in 1637.  It appears Abdallah left a good impression in London.See  P. G. Rogers, A History of Anglo-Moroccan Relations to 1900, pp.1-5. Citing Moroccan British Relations A Survey by Mohammed Laamiri  

“The King published an account of him shortly after his reception describing him (Abdallah) as having “an innate inclination to anything that is noble”, and also as “courteous, bountiful (sic), charitable, valiant, “and for “humanity, morality and generosity hee (sic) is a most accomplish’d gentleman” [quoted by Rogers op.cit; pp34-35] In 1661, the King of Portugal gave Tangier to King Charles II of England as part of a marriage dowry. On 29 January 1662, 3000 English soldiers arrived in Tangier Bay under the Earl of Peterborough; British-Moroccan relations lived a period of tensions during the English occupation of Tangier from 1662 to 1684. When Moulay Ismail became Sultan, Tangier had been a British colony for 10 years and the Moroccan-British relations were already marred by the thorny question of British captives in Morocco. This period knew a dynamic and sometimes tense diplomatic activity between the two countries. Moroccan forces under Moulay Ismail made life so difficult for the garrison that the English decided to abandon Tangier in 1684.” Citing Moroccan British Relations A Survey by Mohammed Laamiri  

“Kaid Mohamed ben Haddu Ottur [El-Attar], Moulay Ismail’s famous emissary and Morocco’s second ambassador to England arrived to London in December 1681 and was received by King Charles II on 11 January 1682.  Ben Haddu impressed Londoners by his exotic dress and his horsemanship; this event was immortalized by a famous painting of the Moroccan Ambassador on his horse in Hyde Park by Sir Godfrey Kneller. In fact, the first publication in a European language fully devoted to Morocco was Leo Africanus’ Description of Africa published in Latin in 1526 and translated into English in 1600 See Leo Africanus, A geographical historie of Africa… Translated From Latin by John Pory, London, Georg Bishop, 1600. The text became a classic and the main reference for British travelers to Morocco for the following three centuries.” Source: Moroccan British Relations A Survey by Mohammed Laamiri  

Certainly, there were periods of tension but there were much of the time long periods of mutual respect, friendship, alliances, and cooperation. Despite occasional disagreements and misunderstandings, mutual interests and alliances against their common enemies brought the two countries to close cooperation and the signing of many peace and trade treaties. Throughout the shared history between Morocco and Britain, many peace treaties were signed and British ambassadors encouraged the Moroccan Makhzen to make deep reforms to its old territory administration and trade policies especially by opening its frontiers to European commercial exchange and by the modernizing of its governance methods. (Ambassadors Kirby Green and Charles Ewan Smith worked hard to that effect.)

Source: Moroccan British Relations A Survey by Mohammed Laamiri