João Lopes de Sequeira (c.1480 - d.)

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Birthplace: Lisbon, Portugal
Death: (Date and location unknown)
Managed by: Lúcia Pilla
Last Updated:

About João Lopes de Sequeira

Agadir-Ighir is a Moroccan town situated at the junction of the Moroccan High Atlas with the plain of Sūs, on the Atlantic coast. The town stands at the northern end of a large bay, at the foot of a hill some 800-900 feet high which is surmounted by a fort. The population numbers 30,111, of whom 1,518 are Jews and 6,062 Europeans (1952 census).

It is not clear whether a settlement existed there before the arrival of the Portuguese, although a letter from the inhabitants of Māssa to Emmanuel I of Portugal, dated 6 July, 1510 (Sources inédites de l’Histoire du Maroc, Portugal, i, 243) speaks of an agādīr al-arbaʿā at that site. This suggests that an agādīr existed there near which a travelling market was held every Wednesday. At all events, it was of no great importance. Leo Africanus mentions the ¶ same settlement under the name Gartguessem ("Cape Ksīma" named after a Berber tribe living round about the town).

In the second half of 1505, a Portuguese nobleman João Lopes de Sequeira, built a wooden castle there, perhaps to protect a fishing fleet, perhaps also, with the approval of his sovereign, to thwart the Spaniards in the Canary Islands who had designs of the southern coast of Morocco. The castle was situated near a spring, at the foot of the hill commanding the roadstead. This site still bears the name of Funti, although its official designation seems from the first to have been Santa Cruz del Cabo de Aguar, by reason of its relative proximity to Cape Ghir. This castle was purchased by the King of Portugal on 25 January 1513.

The establishment of the Portuguese at Santa Cruz caused a strong reaction among the Berber tribes of the Sūs. The members of the Ḏj̲azūliyya order, which had established itself in the Sūs 50 years previously, were able to exploit this antipathy for the purpose of a holy war, and some of them promoted the rise of the Saʿdids (Banū Saʿd), a family of s̲h̲urafāʾ coming from the Darʿa (Draʿ). The chief of this family, Muḥammad, later entitled al-Ḳāʾim bi-Amr Allāh, was proclaimed war leader about the year 1510.

From that date the Portuguese fortress was subjected to an intermittent, but nevertheless irksome, military and economic blockade, and to attacks which grew in severity as the power of the Saʿdids increased. In September 1540, the Saʿdid king of the Sūs, Muḥammad al-S̲h̲ayk̲h̲, son of al-Ḳāʾim, captured the hill which dominated Santa Cruz and concentrated there a strong force of artillery. The siege began on 16 February 1541 and ended, on 12 March, with the surrender of the Governor, D. Guttere de Monroy, and the survivors of the garrison. A very detailed and lively account of these events can be found in the Chronique de Santa Cruz, the work of one of the besieged who, after 5 years’ captivity at Tarūdant and elsewhere, wrote this account of his adventures.

For many years Santa Cruz-Agadir was left deserted until the Saʿdid sultan ʿAbd Allāh al-G̲h̲ālib biʿllāh (1557-74) built a fort on the top of Agadir hill to protect the anchorage from the Christian fleets. From then onwards Agadir was one of the points at which European traders regularly called, principally to take on cargoes of sugar (see especially Sources inédites de l’Histoire du Maroc, 1ère série, France, iii, 361). Agadir retained its role of trading port up to the founding of the Muslim town of Mogador [q.v.] in 1773. Since that date, Agadir harbour has been little used.

The settlement achieved momentary renown in 1911 when the German gunboat "Panther" cast anchor in the roads to assert German claims there at a time when General Moinier’s column had just occupied Fez (1 July 1911). After the signing of the Protectorate agreement, Agadir was occupied by French troops in 1913. Its population was then less than 1,000.

Since then, the town has developed greatly. It has become the chief town of one of the administrative regions of Morocco which comprises nearly 700,000 inhabitants. It owes its growth chiefly to the development of its agriculture and fisheries, and to the exploitation of its mineral wealth. The port of Agadir, constructed since 1914, has recently been enlarged.

(R. Le Tourneau)

Bibliography

Leo Africanus, Description de l’Afrique, (Schefer), i, 176 (Guarguessem)

Chronique ¶ de Santa Cruz du Cap de Gué (Agadir), ed. and tr. P. de Cenival, Paris 1934

Marmol, L’Afrique, tr. Perrot d’Ablancourt, Paris 1667, ii, 34-9

J. Figanier, Historia de Santa Cruz de Cabo de Gué (Agadīr), 1505-1541, Lisbon 1945 (cf. Hesp., 1946, 93 ff.)

these works deal primarily with the Portuguese period

H. de Castries, Une description du Maroc sous le règne de Moulay Ahmed el-Mansour (1596), Paris 1909, 110

Ch. de Foucauld, Reconnaissance au Maroc, new edition, Paris 1934, 184-5

J. Erekmann, Le Maroc moderne, Paris 1885, 50-1 (with a map)

Castellanos, Historia de Marruecos, Tangier 1898, 203-17

Budge Meakin, The land of the Moors, London 1901, 378-82

H. Hauser, Histoire diplomatique de l’Europe (1871-1914), Paris 1929, vol. ii, 6th part, ch. iii: P. Renouvin, La crise d’Agadir

P. Gruffaz, La port d’Agadir, in Bull. Ec. et Soc. du Maroc, 1951, 297-301

G. Guide, Agadir in Les Cahiers d’Outremer, 1952.

Citation Tourneau, R. le. " Agadir-Ighir." Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Brill Online , 2012. Reference. Jim Harlow. 11 December 2012 <http://referenceworks.brillonline.com/entries/encyclopaedia-of-islam-2/agadir-ighir-SIM_0358>

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