The role of Jews in the British colonies of the Western Mediterranean

The British Isles and Morocco, both situated on the western edge of the old Mediterranean world, have been linked by trade since early times. Moroccans have not traditionally been ocean sailors, as their long Atlantic coastline faced miles of endless watery waste and held no attractions prior to the discovery of America. But Englishmen have been keen Atlantic sailors, and Morocco became the first non-European country with which some British people had direct contact. It was enshrined in popular imagination as an exotic and very rich country, as the legend of Dick Whittington bears out – although the story represents the percep- tions of the I6th rather than the I4th century, when the historical Whittington was thrice Lord Mayor of London.

A country of high mountains, deserts and fertile plains, cut off from close contacts with the north by the Spanish Reconquista, and from the east by the long rivalry

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