The Barbary Company or Marocco Company 1585

The Barbary Company or Marocco Company 1585

“The Barbary Company or Marocco Company was a trading company established by Queen Elizabeth I of England in 1585 through a patent granted to the Earls of Warwick and Leicester, as well as forty others for an exclusive trade period of 12 years See Cawston, p.226  “The Barbary Company was separate from the Turkey Company and the Venice Company (1583), who also operated in the Mediterranean and later merged into the Levant Company in 1592, was established with many of the same merchant investors, with a focus on trade along the Atlantic coast of Morocco. Many of its members were naturally also trading for the dominant Levant Company, whose success perhaps implied the commercial defeat of the Barbary Company.” 

Source: Shakespeare Survey With Index 1-10

“Morocco was at that point the main source of sugar for the English market, prior of course to the development of the West Indies plantations in the 1600s. After the settlement of the Essex affair, Elizabeth wrote Muley Hamet of such matters as the release of prisoners and the difficulties of some English merchants in Morocco. An Act of the Privy Council had arranged the deporting of “negars and blackamoores“, who great numbers in England irritated Spain, and fostered trouble against her. Elizabeth’s release of Moorish captives later had the double advantage of both Spain and Barbary.” 

Source: Shakespeare Survey With Index 1-10

“Diplomatic relations between England and Barbary had always been a compromise, in a sense compromising. The questionable alliance was put in terms of the advice offered Elizabeth in 1586, that “Her Majesty in using the King of Fez, doth not arm a barbarian against a Christian, but a barbarian against a heretic”. But the heathen hand, though welcomed against Spain, was rarely taken in public. The military prowess of the Moors, typified in the Battle of Alcazar, coloured the drama of the day. But the diplomatic exchange waited upon emergencies. The Armada brought a Moroccan emissary to England, and Essex’s raid on Cadiz in 1597 inspired eventually the embassy of 1600. For two years later, emboldened by England’s success, and hopeful of her active support, Muley Hamet, King of Barbary, proposed the grand design of the total conquest of Spain.” 

Source: Shakespeare Survey With Index 1-10

“Queen Elizabeth sent Minister Roberts who remained in Morocco for three years, and obtained some privileges for the English, particularly that in future none of the English should be made slaves in his dominions. By the treaty signed at Mequinez in 1728, these privileges were extended, it being stipulated that British subjects taken on board of foreign ships by the Maroccans should be immediately released and sent to Gibraltar: that provisions and other supplies for his Britannic Majesty’s fleets and for Gibraltar might freely be bought at the market prices in any of the Moroccan seaports; and that Moors, Jews, and other natives of in the service of British subjects there should be exempt from taxes of all kinds. Thus considerable benefits accrued to the nation through this chartered company, whose exclusive trade does not appear to have been long maintained.” 

Source: The Early Chartered Companies (A.D. 1296-1858) By George Cawston, Augustus Henry Keane

The Tomson brothers, Richard, George, and Arnold, with their kinsman Jasper, were merchant adventurers. Richard, a servant of Cecil and holder of monopolies in almonds, dates, capers, and molasses had been accused of bringing into the trade as many interlopers as there were members of the Barbary Company. Doubtless, the Tomsons’ service to Cecil gave them safety at home and gun-running made them popular with the Moors.

Source: Shakespeare Survey With Index 1-10

“Elizabeth’s death in 1603, and a civil war in Morocco that same year, ended the period of British co-operation with the Moroccan monarchy. James I intervened more directly into the affairs of trading companies, adopting the Spanish government’s model of intervention in commerce. King Charles I was unable, or unwilling, to protect British commerce–and even British coastal communities such as Bristol and Plymouth–from the ravages of Barbary corsairs; this was one reason British merchants drove him from the throne. Some in Parliament called for war against Turkey, and, during the reign of Cromwell, Turkish ships supplied royalist forces in Ireland.” 

Source: The Barbary Origins of the British Empire

“Charles II, in addition to receiving the Portuguese garrison as a wedding gift from the family of his bride, Catherine of Braganza, sent the British fleet against Algiers and so gained control over the western Mediterranean. Though Britain’s possession of Tangier was brief, it was regarded as the beginning of a British empire in Africa. During the two decades of occupation, the British colony there replicated British life, trying to create a miniature London impervious to the Moorish world around it. Unlike the imperial ventures in America or in Ireland, in North Africa the British encountered powerful and well-organized societies which could not be simply conquered. Tangier was a middle ground for the British imperial idea, between the trading companies which brought the British into Asia, and the occupation and conquest of British America.” 

Source: The Barbary Origins of the British Empire

“While European and American literature are full of stories of captives held in the Barbary states, there are no first-person accounts of Moors held as captives in Europe. And yet there were thousands of Moors taken captive by the European powers. According to Matar, their stories do not survive because very few of them returned to their native lands. In his fourth chapter, “Moors in British Captivity,” Matar recovers what he can of the stories of Moorish captives. He also notes the different kinds of captivity in Barbary. A slave (‘abd) was purchased, while a captive (aseer) was held for ransom. Slavery (‘ubadiyya) and captivity (asr) were different institutions. All of the North African states were engaged in the trans-Saharan slave trade, as well as trade in gold and other goods. The capture of European sailors was a different facet of the economy (pp. 114-115). For Matar, though, the real focus of this chapter is on the European enslavement of Moors. Europeans did not differentiate between the status of their captives; raids by European powers in retaliation for the piracy of Morocco or Algiers and the bombardment of the North African cities were among the factors, he argues, in the economic and political decline of these polities in the eighteenth century (pp. 131-132).” 

Source: The Barbary Origins of the British Empire

“The Levant Company formed, in 1592, as the result of what could be called a “merger” between two earlier merchant corporations, the Venice Company and the Turkey Company, themselves both Elizabethan foundations. Attempts to explain the merger as reflecting a “regionalist” approach to Mediterranean trade are vexed by the long career of the Barbary Company, which, despite significant overlap between its membership rolls and those of the Levant Company, was to continue trading independently with the littoral states of North Africa well into the 18th century.”

Source:  The Levant Company Between Trade and Politics: or, the Colony That Wasn’t Martin Devecka

“The formal beginning of Anglo-Ottoman relations dates from the correspondence between Elizabeth I and Murad III in 15791  which led in May 1580 to an Ottoman pledge of safeconduct (ahidname) for English merchants in Ottoman-controlled seas and ports in the eastern Mediterranean (the Levant) and along the Barbary coast of North Africa This document is usually considered equivalent to a grant of trading privileges to the English.” 

Source: ENGLAND, THE OTTOMANS AND THE BARBARY COAST IN THE LATE SIXTEENTH CENTURY Dr Christine Woodhead, University of Durham

“Brotton traces how the anxieties, suspicions and xenophobia of Elizabethan Anglo-Islamic relations emerged in tension with the establishment of such trading enterprises as the Barbary Company, the Levant Company and the Turkey Company, whose activities brought riches, tastes and fashions home from an international trade in fabrics, food and munitions with Muslim countries.”

Source: Gloriana and the Sultan — England’s unlikely alliance Jerry Brotton’s study of how Queen Elizabeth I allied herself with Islam against the arch-enemy Spain makes for fascinating reading Marcus Nevitt

El Aemer El Mujaddid

American born Moor, Author, History Researcher, Modernist, 720 Entrepreneur/ Corporate Mogul in the making; who observes & analyzes human nature for data mining purposes. Knowing is Half the Battle, Wisdom is needed for appropriate application of knowledge and right reasoning.

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