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Spanish Imperialism in North Africa, 1912-56 (HI2D6): Bibliography

See Talis for readings posted online


Spanish North Africa

  • Susan Gilson Miller, A History of Modern Morocco: 1830-2000 (Cambridge, 2013).
  • Jonathan Wyrtzen, Making Morocco: Colonial Intervention and the Politics of Identity (Cornell, 2015).

Modern Spain

  • Raymond Carr, Modern Spain, 1875-1980 (Oxford, 2000).
  • Francisco Romero Salvado, Twentieth Century Spain: Politics and Society in Spain, 1898-1998 (New York, 1999).
  • Mary Vincent, Spain, 1833-2002 (Oxford, 2007).

Weekly Seminar Reading

1. Introduction

This seminar will give you an overview of the history of the Spanish Protectorate of Morocco from 1912 through to 1956, situating it within Spain's larger history of shared entanglements with North Africa. It will make explicit the kind of political history we will read and write in this module, and it will introduce you to the themes that we will encounter over the course of the year.

  • David Stenner, “Mediterranean Crossroads: Spanish-Moroccan Relations in Past and Present,” Journal of North African Studies (2018), pp. 1-10.
  • Susan Gilson Miller, A History of Modern Morocco: 1830-2000 (Cambridge, 2013), pp. 88-161.


1. Divide the history of the Spanish Protectorate of Morocco (1912-56) into what you see as its different political phases.

2. Brainstorm the larger contexts which we might want to keep in mind when setting about studying the Spanish Protectorate of Morocco.

2. Africanism

This seminar explores Africanism (Africanismo), a term which denotes the enthusiasm for and multifarious interpretations of Africa made by Spaniards at the end of the nineteenth century and into the period of formal empire between 1912-56. Africanism was not homogenous. Nor was it a simple phenomenon. We will tease it apart by discussing notions of the Andalusi past, reconquest (Reconquista), and the formation of Spanish national identity. It will also involve a consideration of the developing concept of Hispanidad. In discussing all these various notions, we will keep careful watch for religious othering and racial othering.

Primary Sources:

  • Flick through the visual sources in V. Morales Lezcano, Africanismo y Orientalismo español en el siglo XIX (Madrid, 1988)

Secondary Sources:

  • Susan Martin-Márquez, Disorientations: Spanish Colonialism in Africa and the Performance of Identity (New Haven, 2014), pp. 1-63.


1. What was the Andalusi past many Spaniards referred to in the latter nineteenth century?

2. In what ways was this a real phenomenon and in what ways was it an invented tradition?

3. What role did religious and racial othering play in the history of Africanism?

4. How did the notion of Africanism relate to that of Hispanidad?

3. Treaty of Fez

The Spanish Protectorate of Morocco was legalised through the Treaty of Fez. In this seminar, we will look at this primary source in detail, as well as the international environment in which it came about.

Primary Sources:

  • Treaty of Fez: ‘Treaty between France and Spain Regarding Morocco’, American Journal of International Law 7(1913), pp. 81-99.

Secondary Sources:

  • Sebastian Balfour, ‘Spain and the great powers in the aftermath of the disaster of 1898’, in Spain and the Great Powers in the Twentieth Century, ed. by Sebastian Balfour and Paul Preston (London, 1999), pp. 13-31.


1. Why was Spain interested in establishing a protectorate in Morocco in the years between 1898 and 1912?

2. Which parts of society were for it and which were against it?

3. How did the European great powers feel about a Spanish protectorate?

4. What type of colonial rule did the French and Spanish establish in Morocco?

4. Protectorate Formation in Morocco, 1912-34

This seminar explores the domestic political landscape over which the Spanish attempted to exert their control, and in which they interacted. We will think about the notion of the 'colonial political field', especially as the Spanish interacted with political structures and conventions that existed for hundreds of years before the creation of the protectorate. We will put our metaphorical finger on important terms such as state-building, makhzan, and total passification.

Primary Sources:

  • Señor Don Tomas Baldasano, 'SPANISH MOROCCO', Journal of the Royal Society of Arts 75 (1927), pp. 792-809.

Secondary Sources:

  • Jonathan Wyrtzen, Making Morocco: Colonial Intervention and the Politics of Identity (Cornell, 2015), pp. 1-61.


1. What does Wyrtzen mean by the term 'colonial political field'?

2. What are the benefits of an interactional historical approach?

3. What does the Arabic term makhzan refer to? Give an example.

4. When and how did the Spanish bring about total passification in Morocco?

5. The Art of Arguing: Jihad in Historical Perspective

This seminar will be slightly diffferent to usual seminars. Rather than directing our energy towards understanding new concepts and historical details, we will step back and think about how historians develop convincing arguments. In otherwords, you will be pushed to think about your storehouse of rhetoric tools and add new riches to it. By the end of the seminar, you should be more confident and able to make arguments: in your history seminars (for this module and others); when in conversation with your history professors; and with other students when you draw on history in public debate.

  • Michael David Bonner, Jihad in Islamic History: Doctrines and Practice (Princeton, 2006), pp. XXXX.

7. Tetouan

In this seminar, we zoom in to get to know the busstling city of Tetouan, the capital of the Spanish Protectorate. Tetouan provided formative experiences for the Spanish military personnel who were based in the protectorate and came to administer protectorate affairs. And the Spanish presence there resulted in several projects to augment the physical shape of the city, raising a number of questions about the intersection between politics and the urban.

Primary Sources:

  • We will view a series of postcards together in class to help you see the different aspects of the city.

Secondary Sources:

  • UNESCO site on the Tetouan medina:
  • Susan Gilson Miller, ‘Introduction’, in The Architecture and Memory of the Minority Quarter of the Muslim Mediterranean City, ed. by Susan Gilson Miller and Mauro Bertagnin (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010), pp. 10-34.
  • Susan Gilson Miller, Ilham Khuri-Makdisi, and Mauro Bertagnin, 'The Mellah: The Third City of Fez', in The Architecture and Memory of the Minority Quarter of the Muslim Mediterranean City, ed. by Susan Gilson Miller and Mauro Bertagnin (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010), pp. 80-109.
  • Tetuán: El Ensanche. Guía de arquitectura, 1913-1956 (Sevilla, 1996).


1. What is a medina?

2. What is a mallah?

3. What is an ensanche?

4. Where did Spanish officials mainly live and work between 1912-56?

8. The Art of Analysis: Judaism and Jews in the Protectorate

This seminar will be different to normal seminars in that we will analyse one primary source at length in our time together. We will stray into the field of philology, absorbing skills of contextualisation, deduction of meaning, logical extrapolation, and making sophisticated conclusions. In other words, this sister discipline, broadly conceived, will help us to give a big dose of nuance to our written and verbal analyses.

  • Leland Bowie, 'An Aspect of Muslim-Jewish Relations in Late Nineteenth-Century Morocco: A European Diplomatic View', International Journal of Middle East Studies 7 (1976), pp. 3-19.
  • Eric Calderwood, 'Moroccan Jews and the Spanish colonial imaginary, 1903–1951', The Journal of North African Studies (2018), pp. XXXX.
  • Isabelle Rohr, The Spanish Right and the Jews, 1898-1945: Antisemitism and Opportunism (2007).

9. The Art of Analysis: Islam and Muslims in the Protectorate

In this seminar we will once again stray into philology to strengthen our skills of analysis.

  • Jonathan Wyrtzen, 'Colonial State-Building and the Negotiation of Arab and Berber Identity in Protectorate Morocco', Middle East Studies 43 (2011), 227–249.
  • David Motadel, 'Introduction', in Islam and the European Empires, edited by David Motadel (Oxford, 2014), pp. 1-34.

10. Early Anti-Colonialism

This seminar considers the nature and concentration of anti-colonial activitism in Morocco (both French and Spanish Morocco) before WWII. It considers the various persons involved in anti-colonial agitation, their differing agendas, and the urban centres of nationalist ferment in Morocco. We will also consider the internationalisation of the Moroccan question.  

  • Susan Gilson Miller, A History of Modern Morocco: 1830-2000 (Cambridge, 2013), pp. 120-138.
  • David Stenner, ‘Centring the periphery: northern Morocco as a hub of transnational anti-colonial activism, 1930–43’, Journal of Global History (2016), 430-50.
  • Umar Ryad, 'Anti-Imperialism and the Pan-Islamic Movement', in Islam and the European Empires, edited by David Motadel (Oxford, 2014), pp. 131-149.


1. Where and why did anti-colonial agitation emerge?

2. What was the nature of this agitation?

3. How did nationalist propaganda move through Morocco and beyond Morocco?

4. What was the relationship of Moroccan anti-colonial agitation to larger international movements?

1. The Many Worlds of Juan Beigbeder

This seminar turns to perhaps one of the most interesting and certainly the most intelligent High Commissioners installed in Tetouan during the life of the Spanish Protectorate: Juan Luis Beigbeder y Atienza. Beigbeder was a polyglot, who moved in and out of the leading European institutions for Arabic language studies in the interwar period. He also spent time in North Africa learning various Berber dialects. Beigbeder's travels were facilitated by his role in the Spanish forgein service, allowing him to see into Europe's diplomatic worlds, especially in Central Europe, before being stationed in Tetouan during the Civil War. Here his language abilities were put to work to help recruit Moroccans for Franco's invasion, but more interestingly in service of building bridges with Arab states beyond Morocco.

Primary Sources:

  • XXXX

Secondary Sources:

  • C. R. Halstead, ‘A Somewhat Machiavellian’ Face: Colonel Juan Beigbeder as High Commissioner in Spanish Morocco, 1937-1939,’ Historian 37(1974): 46-66.
  • XXXX
  • Shannon E. Flemming, 'Spanish Morocco and the Alzamiento Nacional, 1936-1939: The Military, Economic and Political Mobilization of a Protectorate', Journal of Contemporary History 18 (1983), pp. 27-42.


1. Who was Juan Luis Beigbeder y Atienza?

2. Describe one world he gives insight into.

3. How did he view the Spanish Protectorate of Morocco?

4. What might he have learnt from his time on the ground in Tetouan that could have challenged his ideas of Moroccans/Morocco? What kinds of sources would you look for to discover this?

2. The Art of Source Selection: The German Legation in Spanish-Occupied Tangier (PART 1)

This seminar will be different to regular seminars. In the readings, you have three secondary sources to help contextualise Spanish-German relations, focused on the question of North Africa in the Second World War. But in class you will be given a whole bundle of primary sources related to the German Legation building in Tangier (one of two hubs of National Socialist propaganda dissemination across North Africa), which the Germans asked the Spanish to return to them in 1940 and which they were later forced to abandon in 1944. This bundle of primary sources is like a jigsaw. It is what you would find after trips to the archives in Spain, Morocco, Germany, Britain (Kew), and the United States (National Archives) in search of information on the legation and international attitudes towards the Spanish returning it to the Germans. Your task in the seminar will be to select a number of sources on the legation to illuminate larger themes related to the course (and to justify your choices).

  • Norman J.W. Goda, ‘Franco's bid for empire: Spain, Germany, and the western Mediterranean in World War II’, Mediterranean Historical Review 13 (1998), pp. 168-194.
  • Claire Spencer, ‘The Spanish Protectorate and the occupation of Tangier in 1940’, in North Africa: Nation, State, and Region, ed. by George Joffé (London and New York: Routledge, 1993), pp. 91-110.
  • Anna Baldinetti, 'Fascist Propaganda in the Maghrib', Geschichte und Gesellschaft 37(2011), pp. 408-436.


1. Draw a tiimeline for yourself of German-Spanish relations during WWII.

2. Why did the Spanish want to occupy Tangier?

3. Why did the Germans ask the Spanish to return their legation building in Spanish-occupied Tangier? What problems did it cause?

4. Describe Fascist propaganda in the Maghrib.

3. The Art of Source Selection: The German Legation in Spanish-Occupied Tangier (PART 2)

4. Moroccan Nationalism

In this seminar we explore the development of Moroccan nationalism. Emphasis will be placed on the post-WWII chapter to this story, rectifying previous assumptions about the linear nature of this phenomenon. Likewise, we will explore the international dimensions (and limits) to Moroccan nationalism to show its complexities and consequences after independence.

  • Daniel Zisenwine, The Emergence of Nationalist Politics in Morocco: The Rise of the Independence Party and the Struggle against Colonialism after WWII (London, 2010).
  • David Stenner, 'Did Amrika promise Morocco's independence? The nationalist movement, the Sultan, and the making of the ‘Roosevelt Myth’, The Journal of North African Studies 19 (2014), pp. 524-539.
  • David Stenner, ‘Bitterness Towards Egypt’ – The Moroccan Nationalist Movement, Revolutionary Cairo and the Limits of Anti-Colonial Solidarity', Cold War History 16 (2015), pp. 159-175.


1. Why might historians be interesting in re-evaluating Moroccan nationalism after WWII?

2. How important were international powers for the Moroccan nationalist movement in WWII?

3. What limits were there to international networks?

4. How might our awareness of a variously networked (or even attempts to create international anti-colonial networks) on the part of the Moroccan nationalists help to create a new way of framing the coloniser-colonised story we often tell about Spanish colonialism?

5. Spanish Peripheral Nationalisms and the Empire, 1890-56

This seminar offers a brief introduction to Spanish peripheral nationalisms (particularly of the Basque and Catalan nationalist movements) and their relationship with the Spanish empire. We will analyse the formation and the evolution of these movements from the late nineteenth-century until Spain lost its Moroccan holdings in 1956. We will also explore the networks that Spanish peripheral nationalists attempted to establish with Moroccan nationalists throughout the period studied.

  • Daniele Conversi, The Basques, the Catalans, and Spain (London, 2000). Read either pp.11-44 on Catalan nationalism or pp.44-80 on Basque nationalism.
  • Xosé-Manuel Núñez, ‘Nation-Building and Regional Integration: The Case of the Spanish Empire, 1700-1914’, in Nationalizing Empires, ed. By Stefan Berger & Alexei Miller (Budapest; New York, 2015), pp. 195-245 (library has an ebook). Worth reading it all for context. However, we will be focusing specifically on pp. 195-200; pp. 229-237; pp. 244-245.

1. Describe briefly the emergence of either Catalan or Basque nationalism. What were their main differences?

2. What are the main similarities between the Basque, Catalan and Moroccan nationalist movements?

3. ‘It has been ignored to an extent where political tensions between metropolitan Spain and the colonies were translated into the political cleavages arising between the capital (Madrid) and the regions where territorial claims for home rule, and later on ethnonationalism, emerged and developed’ (Nationalizing Empires, p. 198). Discuss.

7. Spain and the Arab World

This seminar takes us into Spain's post-WWII isolation, levelled by the United Nations. During this period, Franco and the High Commissioners in Tetouan made cultural overtures to emerging Arab nations as a means of regaining international prestige. We will look at two types of tours, the first, the Hajj, and the second, Spanish diplomatic tours which sought to promote Spain as sympathetic to Arab affairs by virtue of its work in Morocco.

  • Josep Lluís Mateo Dieste, 'The Franco North African Pilgrims after WWII: The Hajj through the Eyes of a Spanish Colonial Officer (1949)', in The Hajj and Europe in the Age of Empire, ed. by Umar Ryad (Brill, 2007), pp. 240-264.
  • Raanan Rein, ‘In Pursuit of Votes and Economic Treaties: Francoist Spain and the Arab World, 1945-56’, Mediterranean Historical Review (1998), pp. 195-215.


1. What does the term Hajj mean?

2. What do we gain from seeing the Hajj through the eyes of a Spanish Colonial Officer?

3. What tours and treaties did Spanish officials undertake with the Arab world after WWII?

4. What did this reflect about the understandings of Spain's political elite about Spain's place in the world?

8. Decolonisation

This seminar explores the process of decolonisation. This includes the strategies of moroccan nationalists to capture international attention in their campaigns against the French and the Spanish. It assesses the impact of this work for post-colonial politics and prompts you to think about what legacies the colonial period had for the independent Moroccan state. It also follows a second line of investigation, that is, Franco's wider attempts to hold on to other areas of empire in North Africa as long as he could, mimiking the Portuguese.

Primary Sources:

  • XXXX

Secondary Sources:

  • David Stenner, 'Networking for independence: the Moroccan nationalist movement and its global campaign against French colonialism', The Journal of North African Studies 17 (2012), pp. 573-594.
  • A. Stucki, ‘The hard side of soft power: Spanish rhetorics of empire from the 1950s to the 1970s’, in M. Thomas & R. Toye (Eds.), Rhetorics of Empire. Languages of Colonial Conflict After 1900 (Manchester, 2017), pp. 142-160.






9. Exam Preparation

This seminar is designed to help you order your thoughts and notes in preparation for the exams. Further revision sessions will be given next term but the idea here is to get you started before the Easter break.

10. Continued Movement Across the Strait of Gibraltar

This seminar looks at Spanish-Maghribi relations in general, and specifically, the continued movement of persons from Spain to Morocco and visa versa since independence. It explores the ways in which migration has become a touchstone of contemporary politics in both states, as well as in the European Union, and the ways in which the colonial history continues to impact upon the framing of this process.

Primary Sources:

  • Ng'endo Mukii, 'This Migrant Business' (2016). See
  • 'Walls of Shame: The Spanish-Moroccan Border' (2007). See

Secondary Sources:

  • Elena Arigita, 'Narratives on the margins of history: memory and the commemoration of the Moriscos', The Journal of North African Studies (2018), pp. XXXX.
  • Isabella Alexander, 'Waiting to burn: Spanish-Maghribi relations and the making of a new migrant class', The Journal of North African Studies (2018), pp. XXXX.


1. What is the argument against seeing Spanish-Maghribi relations as exceptional?

2. In what ways does memory continue to influence Spanish-Moroccan relations today?

3. In what ways does forgetting influence Spanish-Moroccan relations today?

4. How would you as a historian advise the EU on the question of illegal migration across the Moroccan-Spanish border.

Further Primary Sources (English and Spanish)

Further Secondary Sources (English)

  • Empire's End: Transnational Connections in the Hispanic World (Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2016)
  • Sebastian Balfour, The End of the Spanish Empire (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997)
  • Sebastian Balfour, Deadly Embrace: Morocco and the road to the Spanish Civil War (Oxford, 2002)
  • Helen Rawlings, The Debate on the Decline of Spain (Manchester, 2012)
  • Paul Preston, The Spanish Civil War: Reaction, Revolution, and Revenge (London, 2006)
  • Gonzalo Fernández Parrilla & Carlos Cañete, 'Spanish-Maghribi (Moroccan) relations beyond exceptionalism: a postcolonial perspective', The Journal of North African Studies (2018), pp. XXXX.