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Agadir and the deep South

Santa Cruz do Cabo de Gué

1505 - 12 Mar 1541          Portuguese rule at Santa Cruz do Cabo de Gué (Agadir).

1505 - 1512                 João Lopes de Sequeira 
                              (holder of the factory)
1512 - 1521                 Francisco de Castro
1521 - 1523                 Simão Gonçalves da Costa (1st time)
1523 - 1525                 António Leitão de Gamboa (1st time)
1525 - 1528                 Luis Sacoto
1528 - 1529                 António Leitão de Gamboa (2nd time)
1529                        António Rodrigues de Parada 
1529 - 1533                 Simão Gonçalves da Costa (2nd time)
1533 - 1534                 Guterre de Monroy (1st time)
1534 - 1538                 Luís de Loureiro
1538 - 12 Mar 1541          Guterre de Monroy (2nd time


Originally known as Santa Cruz de Cap de Guè, Agadir took its actual name in 1541 when Sultan Mohamed ech Cheick conquered it back from the Portuguese. The sole trace left of the old city is the ancient Kasbah on the summit of Cap Ghir hill, which was built in 1540 to siege the Portuguese fort and then used for defence purposes. All that is left is the surrounding walls and the monumental entrance In 1760 the port of Agadir was closed down in favour of that of Essouira. This marked the beginning of a long era of depression.

the Portugese were at the height of their presence in Morocco, controlling much of the Mediterranean and Atlantic Coast. On the Atlantic, Agadir (known as Santa Cruz de Aguer- probably a derivative of the Berber word Agadir, meaning community barn, a building where all members of a given village used to store grains) was one of the furthest South "frontieras" (Portuguese enclave) and had been built by a Portuguese nobleman, Joao Lopez de Sequeira, who personally paid for all expenses. This fortified port was attached to the more official Portuguese presence at Massa, established in 1497.
     The internal conflicts tearing Morocco apart made it difficult for any sovereign to take these ports away from the Portuguese When writing about Agadir, Leo mentions a failed attempt by the local ruler to re-conquer the fortress. In 1511, the Moroccans laid siege to the fortified place, and lost many men in battle, but returned home, vanquished. Leo writes that despite this defeat, the nearby populations did not abandon the hope of recuperating these lands someday. Led by the man who would later become the first Sultan of the Saadien dynasty, they waited patiently, gathering men and forces for upcoming battles:
When I left the Cherif's court ( Cherif is a name given to any descendant of the Prophet, Muhammad), he had gathered more than 3000 horsemen and a great many footmen, along with huge quantities of war materials." (92)

Leo's words seem to presage the victories that awaited the Moroccans only a few years later. Had the Portuguese read his words when they were written in the 1520s, they may have better anticipated the change in fortune...
    At the height of their North African power, the Portuguese controlled all but 2 of Morocco's main ports (Sale, the port closest to Rabat, was one of these exceptions). However, starting 1540, the rise of a unified Morocco under Saadien power spelled the end of Portuguese coastal dominance. Agadir was re-conquered by Moroccan troops in 1541, 15 years after Leo finished writing his book.



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