Mohammed ben Abdallah

Mohammed Ben Abdellah al-Khatib (c. 1710 – 9 April 1790) (Arabic: محمد الثالث بن عبد الله الخطيب) was Sultan of Morocco from 1757 to 1790 under the Alaouite dynasty. He was the governor of Marrakech around 1750. He was also briefly sultan in 1748. He rebuilt many cities after the earthquake of 1755, including Mogador, Casablanca, and Rabat, and Abdallah Laroui described him as "the architect of modern Morocco."[1][2] He is notable for having been the leader of one of the first nations to recognize American independence[3][4] in his alliance with Luis de Unzaga 'le Conciliateur' through correspondence and Unzaga's secret intelligence service and led by his brothers-in-law Antonio and Matías de Gálvez from the Canary Islands.

Mohammed III of Morocco
Sultan of Morocco
Reign1748, 1757 – 1790
PredecessorAbdallah IV
Bornc. 1710
Fes, Morocco
Died9 April 1790(1790-04-09) (aged 79–80)
Aïn Attig, Morocco
  • Lalla Fatima bint Sulaiman of Morocco
  • Lalla Sargetta, an English or Irish lady
  • a daughter of 'Abdu'llah Rahamani
  • Lalla Zahra
  • a Howariyya lady from Sais
  • a lady of the Ahlaf tribe
  • another lady of the Ahlaf tribe
  • a lady from Rabat
  • a third lady of the Ahlaf tribe
  • a Beni Husain lady
  • Helen Gloag
HouseHouse of Alaoui


Mohammed ben Abdallah employed the French architect Théodore Cornut to build the model city of Essaouira.
Coins of Sidi Mohammed ben Abdallah, 1760–67 (Hijra 1182–1189), minted in Essaouira.

He was the son of Sultan Abdallah IV who reigned 1745–1757. A more open-minded ruler than many of his forebears, he signed numerous peace treaties with the European powers, and curtailed the power of the Barbary corsairs. He revived the city of Essaouira and invited Jews and the English to trade there. He also built the old medina of Casablanca (Derb Tazi) and renovated the kasbah of Marrakesh. Mohammed III used numerous European technicians and architects for his projects, such as Théodore Cornut and the Englishman Ahmed el Inglizi.

Mohammed ben Abdallah also took steps to remove the foreign presence on Moroccan coasts. He repulsed the French in the 1765 Larache expedition. In 1769, the Portuguese prime Minister Marques Pombal decided to abandon their last outpost in Morocco Mazagan. The Portuguese evacuated the residents of Mazagan to South Brazil and returned the outpost to Morocco. Allowing for establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries for first time. However, the Siege of Melilla (1774) against the Spanish ended in defeat in 1775 when British aid failed to materialize.

Letter of George Washington to Mohammed ben Abdallah in appreciation of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship, signed in Marrakech in 1787.
Commercial treaty signed by Mohammed ben Abdallah with France in 1767.

In 1777, under the rule of Mohammed ben Abdallah, the Sultanate of Morocco became the first nation to recognize the United States of America as an independent nation.[5]

Mohammed ben Abdallah died on 9 April 1790 in Aïn Attig near Rabat,[6] and was buried there.

See also


  1. LAROUI, ABDALLAH; Manheim, Ralph (1977). The History of the Maghrib: An Interpretive Essay. Princeton University Press. p. 276. JSTOR j.ctt13x12zg.
  2. Blondeau, Mathilde; Ouzzani, Kenza Joundy (2016). Casablanca courts-circuits. ISBN 978-9954-37-750-5. OCLC 1135744090.
  3. "History of the U.S. and Morocco". U.S. Embassy & Consulate in Morocco. Retrieved 2020-04-18.
  4. News, Morocco World (2012-03-20). "Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah's Diplomatic Initiatives towards the United States 1777-1786: Direct Reasons". Morocco World News. Retrieved 2020-04-18.
  5. Capitalizing on the Morocco-US Free Trade Agreement: A Road Map for Success. ISBN 9780881325812. Retrieved September 21, 2016.
  6. Abitbol 2009, p. 278.



  • Abitbol, Michel (2009). Trente ans d'anarchie : le Maroc après la mort de Moulay Isma'il (in French). Paris: Éditions Perrin. ISBN 9782262023881.
Preceded by
Abdallah IV
Mohammed ben Abdallah
Succeeded by

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