Tangier tănjēr´ [key], ancient Tingis, city (1994 pop. 497,147), N Morocco, on the Strait of Gibraltar. The city has a busy port and building, fishing, and textiles industries. Tourism is also important. The walled Moorish town adjoins a European suburb. Tangier was probably founded by the Phoenicians. It was a free city under the Romans and the chief port and commercial center of Morocco until the founding (808) of Fès. It was captured from the Moors by the Portuguese in 1471 and was transferred to England as part of the dowry that Catherine of Braganza brought to Charles II. The English abandoned the city to the Moroccans in 1684. By the mid-19th cent. it had become the diplomatic center of Morocco. When the rest of the country was divided between Spanish and French protectorates in 1912, the status of Tangier remained vague. Finally, in 1923–24, an international zone administered by France, Spain, and Britain (Italy joined in 1928), was set up. The city was included in the zone as a duty-free port. During World War II, Spain controlled the zone. In 1945 it was returned to international control by agreement of Britain, France, the United States, and the USSR. Tangier remained under international control until 1956 when it was returned to Morocco.
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