Legends about the word Tangier

tangier morocco

Tangier’s location made it one of the most desired cities in the world. All the big powers then and now have tried to dominate the city due to it’s strategical position.

Tangier’s history is very rich and tells a lot of stories, starting from how it was named to all the way through history to it present status of being a Moroccan city.


One of the legends about the word ‘Tangier’ is the story of Noah. It about a prophet and his followers. They built a ship as per a vision that God showed Noah in his dreams, After this big ship was ready, God sent the flood to the earth and all the creatures were perished except Noah’s ship that stayed floating and searching for a land during a along time until a dove settled in the ship’s pillars bringing hope back to Noah and his followers. When they saw the dove they yelled “Tinja” ( the word in Arabic means the soil came: they found the land). Soon later ¬†Noah’s followers saw the land and yelled “Tinja, tinja”… According to this legend, that was the origins of the name of this historical city of Tangier.

Greek myths

The legend differ from one to an other,moving from the story of Noah to the greek myths.

Tangier was first founded by “Antee” and he named the city after his wife “tinjis”. The kingdom then was starting from Ceuta to Lexus passing through the south of Spain.

As a result of a conflict that happened between ” Hercules” and “Antee”, Hercules divided the kingdom into two parts with one of his powerful strikes And cause a fjord that separate Morocco and Spain nowadays.

Phoenicians and Carthaginians

Apart from Noah’s and Hercules’s stories, Tangier did it appearance in the human history in the first millennium that precedes the birth of Jesus. This occurrence was with the Phoenicians That used to cruised the seas in order to reach new markets for trade, they used to use the port for trade exchange with the neighboring nations. They settled in Tangier in a place called “Tanja balia”. The Phoenicians era ended when the Carthaginians made their appearance in Tangier with their famous leader “Hanoun” and 30 thousands of immigrants and they choose to take the city as a place of settlement for the same purpose as the Phoenicians.


Three centuries before Jesus birth, Tangier was one of the most important cities of Mauritania and had the same borders as currently. In 429 the Carthaginians fell against the Roman empire and as a result Tangier enjoyed a peaceful century without conflicts.

With the extinction of the Vandals Tangier stopped it correlation with the powerful nations, even-thought the Byzantines were a new regional power in the 16Th century it was never proved if they had indeed conquered Tangier or not.

Goths and the prophet Muhammad

When the Prophet Muhammad appeared in Mecca. Tangier was than governed by the Goths. Tangier did not last long in the hands of Goths. as it was lately conquered by the new Islamic regional power led by Mussa Bno Nocayr in the early 18Th century.

From Tarik Bno Ziad to the Alawites

In 707 Tangier was governed by Tarik Bno Ziad. The city espoused Islam as religion. Later Tangier was considered a very important city with the arrival of the idrisi state in 788, also with the Marabouts in 1077, Unitarian in 1148, the Meridinide in 1274 and Portugal in 1741.

Portugal controlled Tangier for about a century, but in 1581, Spain will extract Tangier from the Portuguese. Soon later Portugal got it independence and won back the city in 1684. As a result of the marriage of Charles two and the princess of Portugal Catherine, Tangier were conquered by England in 1662.

This period of “the English Tangier” did not last more than 22 years. Then this strategically important city returned to be under the flag of Islam again but this time with Alawites ruled by Moulay Ismail. However and even thought this city maintained it loyalty to the Alawite state, in 1923 Tangier was forced to become an international city and remained so until 1940 when Spain took the opportunity as the world most powerful nations were engaged in the world war to conquer Tangier again, and it became one of the Spain’s colonies until the world war ended in 1945.

Tangier than went back to be an International city. In 1956 tangier returned to be part of Morocco under the ruling of the Alawites 1 year after the independence of Morocco 1955.

This is bravely what happened in the historical Tangier with the succession of eras that indicate the importance of Tangier and it situation that interested all the nations along the time. From this we can conclude that Tangier is the land of the world and not only for a specific gender.

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