Treaty of Wad Ras

Treaty of Wad Ras
معاهدة واد راس
Tratado de Wad-Ras
The Treaty of Wad Ras as portrayed by Joaquín Domínguez Bécquer

The Treaty of Wad Ras (Arabic: معاهدة واد راس, Spanish: Tratado de Wad-Ras) was a treaty between Morocco and Spain, signed at the end of the Tetuan War on April 26, 1860 at Wad Ras, located between Tetuan and Tangier. The conditions of the treaty exacerbated Morocco's defeat in the war, with major concessions to Spain. Morocco was forced to pay a 20 million duro (equivalent to $4 million 1861 US dollars)[1] indemnity—far greater the balance of the Makhzen's treasury; the territories of the Spanish exclaves of Ceuta and Melilla were extended further into Moroccan territory; and Sidi Ifni became a Spanish possession.[1]

Historical context

The years 1859 and 1860 saw the war between Morocco and Spain known as The War of Tetuan. The war came at a time characterized by European colonial expansion in Africa. Morocco suffered a massive military defeat against France in the Battle of Isly in 1844, and in 1856 the British pressured the sultan into a trade agreement that opened the ports and reduced the Makhzen's control over Morocco's economy.[2]

The Spanish campaign of 1859 came in response to the skirmishes led by local tribes that took place around the Spanish enclaves.[3]

After the Spain's victory over Morocco at the Battle of Tetuan and its conquest of the city in 1860, the Spanish general Leopoldo O'Donnell decided to attack Tangier. The Moroccan army, led by al-Abass Bin Abderrahman, brother of Sultan Muhammad IV, attempted to challenge the attack at Wad Ras, where he suffered a massive defeat. This defeat forced Muhammad IV to sign a peace treaty with major concessions.

Main provisions

Image of the Spanish parliament building with two lions sculpted from Moroccan canons seized in the Battle of Wad Ras in 1860
  • Paying Spain a war indemnity of 20 million duro. (Article 9)
  • Continued occupation of Tetuan and the surrounding area until the payment of the indemnity in full. (Article 9)
  • Expansion of the territory of Ceuta to the Bullones Mountains and the Anghera Rivine.[4] (Article 3)
  • Appointment of a Spanish-Moroccan committee of engineers to draw a precise map of the border. (Article 4)
  • Signing the treaty of August 24, 1859, which provided for the expansion of the borders around Melilla, Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera, and Alhucemas Islands the distance of a cannon shot. (Article 5)
  • Forcing the Sultan of Morocco to provide security forces led by a general or officer of the Makhzen to protect the Spanish areas from hostile tribes. (Article 6)
  • Relinquishing expansive territory surrounding the fort known as Santa Cruz de la Mar Pequeña (now Sidi Ifni) originally built in the period of Isabella I of Castile, located in the south of Morocco. (Article 8)
  • Creation of an Evangelist mission in Fes, and forcing Morocco to protect it in its proselytizing activities throughout Morocco. (Article 10)
  • Building a Spanish Catholic church in Tetuan after the departure of Spanish forces (Article 11).
  • Spain and its North African colonies receiving most favored nation status in trade with Morocco. (Article 13)
  • Allowing Spanish colonies in North Africa to freely buy and export lumber harvested from surrounding forests. (Article 15)
  • Freeing prisoners of war of both sides. (Article 16)


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