Essaouira ĕsəwēr´ə [key], city, W Morocco, on the Atlantic Ocean. Essaouira's pleasant climate and picturesque location, buildings, and ruins have made it a tourist resort. Fishing and cabinetry and wood carving are also economically important. The modern city was founded in 1760 by Sultan Muhammad ibn-Abdullah. In 1844 the French bombarded the city to force Morocco to stop supporting Abd al-Kader, leader of an Algerian resistance movement. The city declined when Agadir was opened to foreign trade in the 20th cent. The city is a center of Gnawa music, a religious music traditionally used in healing ceremonies that mixes Berber, Arabic, and African elements. Essaouira was formerly called Mogador.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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