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The Deepest BorderThe Strait of Gibraltar and the Making of the Modern Hispano-African Borderland$
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Sasha D. Pack

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781503606678

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9781503606678.001.0001

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Crisis in the Western Channel, 1855–1864

Crisis in the Western Channel, 1855–1864

Chapter:
(p.41) 2 Crisis in the Western Channel, 1855–1864
Source:
The Deepest Border
Author(s):

Sasha D. Pack

Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9781503606678.003.0003

This chapter reassesses the origins and consequences of the Hispano-Moroccan War of 1859–1860, conventionally seen as a war driven by domestic Spanish politics. Examining military correspondence pertaining to navigation around Melilla and the Alboran Sea, this chapter argues that the invasion was a defensive response to growing concern that France and Britain were granting legal protection to Moroccan tribes that were hostile to Spain. Because the Spanish prime minister Leopoldo O’Donnell could not declare war against either of those European powers, he launched an invasion against the Moroccan sultan. The goal was not to gain territory but to gain influence in the sultan’s court and legal rights to patrol navigation on the eastern Riffian coast. By this measure, the war was more significant and successful than generally believed.

Keywords:   Hispano-Moroccan War (1859–1860), Leopoldo O’Donnell, Francisco Merry y Colom, Muhammad IV of Morocco, Mulai Abbas, Melilla, Manuel Buceta

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