Azemmur ⴰⵣⴻⵎⵎⵓⵔ أزمور
Azamor / Azemmour
Azemmour old city.
|• Total||approx. 40,000|
Azemmour or Azamor (Arabic: أزمور; from Berber: Azemmur, ⴰⵣⴻⵎⵎⵓⵔ, i.e. "The Olives"; Portuguese: Azamor) is a Moroccan city, on the left bank of the Oum Er-Rbia River, 75 km southwest of Casablanca. Although it was a dependency of the King of Fez, Azemmour had great autonomy. In 1486 its inhabitants became vassals and tributaries of João II of Portugal. Manuel I of Portugal confirmed the treaty in 1497 and the city paid 10 000 savéis every year. When resistance began to grow against paying tribute, Manuel in 1508 sent a small fleet commanded by João de Meneses to conquer the city.
In 1513 Azemmour's governor Moulay Zayam refused to pay the tribute and mustered a powerful, well-equipped army. Manuel responded to this challenge by sending a massive fleet of 500 ships and 15 thousand soldiers (Bergreen, 19). James, Duke of Braganza led this army and on 1 September he conquered the city with no resistance from its inhabitants. Ferdinand Magellan, the man famed for leading the first-ever circumnavigation of the earth, was among the Portuguese soldiers there; he lost his horse in skirmishes outside the city. Portuguese control of the city lasted only for a short period; it was abandoned by João III of Portugal in 1541 due to his court's economic difficulties.
The Azemmour Festival is held annually on July.
The Old City's walls are decorated by several local artists.
Notable natives or residents
- Estevanico, also known as Esteban the Moor, who was enslaved and traveled with a Spanish expedition to North America in 1527. He is the first African to travel with explorers in North America and was one of four men out of several hundred to survive shipwrecks on the Florida and Texas coasts, Native American slavery and attacks, and other setbacks over a six-year period before he and his party reached safety in a Spanish colonial town.
- Laurence Bergreen - Over the Edge of the World. (New York: Perennial, 2003)
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