Moroccan–American Treaty of Friendship

In December 1777, the Moroccan Sultan Mohammed III included the United States in a list of countries to which Morocco's ports were open. Morocco thus became the first country whose head of state publicly recognized the newly-independent United States.[1][2]

Moroccan–American Treaty of Friendship
Moroccan–American Treaty of Friendship (Treaty of Marrakesh), 1786–1787
Signed28 June 1786 (1786-06-28), 15 July 1786 (1786-07-15)
LocationMarrakesh, Morocco

Relations were formalized with the Moroccan–American Treaty of Friendship,[3] which was negotiated by Thomas Barclay in Marrakesh and signed by American diplomats in Europe, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams with Sultan Mohammed III in 1786.[4][5]

Scan of the complete Arabic text of the Moroccan-American Treaty of Friendship, executed in a Maghrebi script. June 22, 1786 or Sho'ban 25, 1200 hijri

Muhammad III, or Sidi Muhammad bin Abdallah, came to power in 1757 and ruled until his death in 1790. Prior to his reign, Morocco had experienced 30 years of internecine battles, instability and turmoil. Sidi Muhammad transformed politics, the economy and society by prioritizing development of international trade and restoring power to the sultanate, which improved Morocco's standing internationally.[6] Central to his pursuit of international trade was the negotiation of agreements with foreign commercial powers. He began seeking one with the United States before the war with Great Britain had ended in 1783, and he welcomed Thomas Barclay's arrival to negotiate in 1786. The treaty signed by Barclay and the sultan and then by Jefferson and Adams was ratified by the Confederation Congress in July 1787.[7] It was reaffirmed by the sultan in 1803, when the USS Constitution, Nautilus, New York, and Adams engaged in gunboat diplomacy as part of the First Barbary War. At the time, independent corsairs and pirates were using Morocco's ports as safe harbors between raids on American and European shipping. The treaty has withstood transatlantic stresses and strains for more than 234 years, which makes it the longest unbroken treaty relationship in United States history.[8]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Roberts, Priscilla H.; Tull, James N. (June 1999). "Moroccan Sultan Sidi Muhammad Ibn Abdallah's Diplomatic Initiatives toward the United States, 1777–1786". Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society. 143 (2): 233–265. JSTOR 3181936.
  2. ^ "History of the U.S. and Morocco". U.S. Embassy & Consulate in Morocco. Retrieved November 19, 2020.
  3. ^ "History of the U.S. and Morocco". U.S. Embassy & Consulate in Morocco. Retrieved November 19, 2020.
  4. ^ Roberts, Priscilla H. and Richard S. Roberts, Thomas Barclay (1728–1793): Consul in France, Diplomat in Barbary. Lehigh University Press. 2008, pp. 158–223. ISBN 978-0-934223-98-0.
  5. ^ "US-Morocco: Longstanding Ties (Remarks by President Bush and King Hassan II); U.S. Department of State Dispatch". January 24, 2007.
  6. ^ B.A. Ogot, General History of Africa, Vol. V: Africa from the 16th to the 18th Century. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992. pp. 231–232.
  7. ^ Roberts, Thomas Barclay (1728–1793)..., pp. 195–223
  8. ^ Ogot, General History of Africa, pp. 231–232.

External linksEdit

  This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Department of State.