From 1912 to 1956, Essaouira was known as Mogador under the French administration.
After Morocco gained its independence, the town adopted the name Essaouira as its legal name.
However, the term Mogador first appeared in 1357 on a global map by Medici and in 1367 on a map created by Pizzigani. The Portuguese named it Mogadouro, while the Spanish called it Mogadour – Mogador.
The city was renamed Souira (Souera) in 1767 by Sultan Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah, who also gave it the name Essaouira.
In ancient times, the Imazighen inhabited Morocco (known as Chleuh – an ethnic Berber group).
According to archaeological findings, people fished in Mogador Bay between the years 2000 and 3000 BC.
The enormous island of Mogador is almost completely close the Mogador Bay, providing it with a calm harbor shielded from the local area’s strong winds.
Long regarded as one of the best anchorages along the Moroccan coast, the location.
The plentiful fishing grounds and easy access to fresh water were both essential resources.
Building fortresses was made easier by the availability of timber and stones.
Further investigations at the African coast in the south and the Atlantic Ocean in the west may both be started from Mogador.
The Phoenicians established a town on the island in the sixth century BC, and they gave it the names Migdal and Migdol (“watchtower”).
On the Island, they also built a plant for the production of royal blue indigo dye (Iles Purpuraires).
Hexaplex trunculus, also referred to as Murex trunculus, was the sea snail used in this manufacture.
Other purple seashells included Murex brandaris and Purpura hemastoma.
Hanno the Navigator, also known as Hanno II of Carthage, was a Carthaginian explorer who reached Mogador around 500 BC and began iron mining at Jbel Hadid. He is most known for his naval exploration of the African coast.
The Islands of Mogador (Iles Purpuraires) gained some notoriety in the Roman Empire, and King Juba II of Mauritania (Yuba in Amazigh) dispatched a group there to revive the old Phoenician dye production method.
Islam, which the Arabs introduced to North Africa, has had a significant influence on Moroccan culture.
They started spreading their culture in the seventh century, and Morocco has been ruled by the Alaouite dynasty, which claims to be descended from the Prophet Mohammed, since 1649.
Mogador serves as a significant cultural nexus between the Chiadma Arabs and the Haha Berbers.
The location was described as a fortified town and a wintering location for riverboat captains during the Middle Ages (Oued Ksob).
The Portuguese only ruled Mogador for 19 years after D. Manuel I, their monarch, ordered the construction of the “Castelo Real de Mogador,” a castle, in 1506.
The site was then governed by locals.
Many nations attempted to take Mogador throughout the 16th century, including Spain, England, the Netherlands, and France, but in vain.
Mogador thrived in the triangular trade between Europe, Africa, and the Americas from the 17th to the 19th century due to its advantageous location in relation to the North Atlantic trade winds.
Through the caravan trade, goods and slaves from sub-Saharan Africa were transported, and from the middle ages to the 17th century, Mogador had its own export of sugar and molasses.
The Europeans brought Chinese tea and European clothing.
Essaouira reportedly continued to serve as a pirate refuge.
the 18th century
Sultan Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah allowed the construction of the Scala defenses and the port, reviving the town and fostering a thriving business and trading environment.
The Arabs, the Jews, the Amazigh, and about a thousand Europeans (British, Danish, Dutch, French, Germans, Italians, Portuguese, and Spanish), who had consulates in the Kasbah of the medina, joined together in Essaouira to form a diverse community (the old town).
Up until the middle of the 19th century, Mogador was Morocco’s most significant trading port.
Casablanca developed in the north and Agadir in the south under the French protectorate (1912–1956), and improved ports were constructed for contemporary ships.
The tujjâr al-sultân, or “sultan’s traders,” were numerous Jewish merchant families who the Sultan Sidi Ben Abdallah (1757-1790) established in Mogador in order to better utilize their business relationships with Jewish merchants in European towns including Livorno, Liverpool, and Amsterdam.
In August 1844, the French Navy forces led by Prince de Joinville bombarded the Moroccan city of Mogador, which is now known as Essaouira, as well as the island that faced the city, Mogador island.
Part of the First Franco-Moroccan War.