1902 Encyclopedia >El-Araish, Morocco


EL-ARAISH, L'ARAISH EL-ARAISH, or in French LARACHE, a town of Morocco en the Atlantic coast, about 45 miles S. of Tangier, is picturesquely situated on a rocky height to the south of the embouclmre of the Wady Loukhus or Lixus. It is the seat of a military governor, and has a number of well-kept though practically useless defences. The impress of Spanish occupation is still evident, and all the main points described in the 17t11 century by Pidon de Saint Olon can easily be distinguished - such as the church, the fort of St Jacques, the castle of St Etienne with its four cupolas, the Jew's Tower, and the castle of Notre Dame d'Europe, now the Kasha or citadel. The market-place is surrounded with arcades of monolithic sandstone pillars. In spite of the bar at the entrance of the river preventing the passage of all vessels of more than 150 tons, the port is one of the most frequented on that part of the coast. The exports, gradually increasing in value, consist mainly of millet, drh., and other cereals, canary-seed, beans, pease, cork, and wool. In 1875, 136 vessels entered and cleared, 26 being British and 58 Spanish. The population of the town at the same date was estimated at 5000, of whom nearly 4000 were Mahometans, about 1000 Spanish-speaking Jews, and 60 Christians.

Though the name of El-Araish is comparatively modern, and is mentioned neither by El-Bikri nor by Edrisi, it seems not improbable from a passage in Seylax that the site of the town was occupied by a Libyan settlement at an early date; and about 31 miles up the river there still exist on the bill of Tchenuish very considerable ruins of the Punico-Roman city of Lixus. The modern town was finally taken from the Portuguese in 1689 by 11Inlei Ismael after a five months' siege ; in 1785 it was attacked by the French, and in 1829 saw the destruction of the Morocco fleet by the Anstrians. A convent in connection with the Spanish mission was maintained till 1822.

See Barth, Wanderungen durch die Kustenländer des Mittelmeeres, 1845; Rohlrs Adventures in Morocco, 1874; Tissot. " Itinéraire de Tanger h In*" in Bull. de la Soc. de Geogr., 1876.

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