2016-03-09

ICANN55 Break: El Badi Palace, Marrakech; Morocco in U.S. History

A break from ICANN55--2 days to go--time for a little sightseeing and history--
El Badi Palace - Bjørn Christian Tørrissen CC BY-SA 3.0  Wikimedia Commons
Google Earth map link showing location of El Badi Palace, above (Arabic: قصر البديع‎ - meaning The incomparable palace), a ruined palace located in Marrakesh, Morocco. Commissioned by the Arab Saadian sultan Ahmad al-Mansur, sometime shortly after his accession in 1578, its construction was funded by a substantial ransom paid by the Portuguese after the Battle of the Three Kings. The palace is today a well known tourist attraction. See also Google 360 photo.

Morocco in U.S. History:
Morocco was the first nation to recognize the United States of America as an independent nation in 1777. In the beginning of the American Revolution, American merchant ships in the Atlantic Ocean were subject to attack by the Barbary pirates. On 20 December 1777, Morocco's Sultan Mohammed III declared that American merchant ships would be under the protection of the sultanate and could thus enjoy safe passage. The Moroccan–American Treaty of Friendship, signed in 1786, stands as the U.S.'s oldest non-broken friendship treaty. In 1943, the Istiqlal Party (Independence Party) was founded to press for independence, and had discreet U.S. support. That party subsequently provided most of the leadership for the nationalist movement ... in March 1956 the French protectorate was ended and Morocco regained its independence from France as the "Kingdom of Morocco". [source: Wikipedia]

Morocco in World War II:
Above: "Operation Torch - message from the President of United States to the citizens of Casablanca"
(pamplet dropped in Casablanca in 1942) (Public Domain via Commons.)
Operation Torch was the British-American invasion of French North Africa during the North African Campaign of the Second World War which started on 8 November 1942. The Soviet Union had pressed the United States and United Kingdom to open a second front to reduce the pressure of German forces on the Red Army. The American Western Task Force landed before daybreak on 8 November 1942, at three points in Morocco: Safi (Operation Blackstone), Fedala (Operation Brushwood, the largest landing with 19,000 men), and Mehdiya-Port Lyautey (Operation Goalpost). Because it was hoped that the French would not resist, there were no preliminary bombardments. This proved to be a costly error as French defenses took a toll of American landing forces. U.S. Army Major General George S. Patton landed at 08:00, and the beachheads were secured later in the day. The Americans surrounded the port of Casablanca by 10 November, and the city surrendered an hour before the final assault was due to take place. Casablanca was the principal French Atlantic naval base after German occupation of the European coast.

Boeing 314 Clipper flying boat operated by Pan American
Boeing 314 Clipper flying boat operated by Pan American (1939-1950) (Library of Congress, public domain)
Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first US President to fly while in office when he secretly departed from Miami on a Pan Am Boeing 314 Clipper, the Dixie (see photo above), arriving in Morocco, on January 14, 1943, for a high-level meeting in Casablanca with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill at which they planned World War II strategy, and agreed upon the demand for "unconditional surrender" of the Axis powers. Josef Stalin was also invited to the Casablanca Conference but could not attend due to a major Red Army offensive then underway. After the meeting, FDR visited with U.S. troops and did some sightseeing before retracing his same route back to the United States. He celebrated his 61st birthday while flying over Haiti. (Politico).



Above: Casablanca (1942) final scene - Casablanca (film): Although an initial release date was anticipated for spring 1943, the movie Casablanca was rushed into release to take advantage of the publicity from the Allied invasion of North Africa a few weeks earlier and premiered at the Hollywood Theater in New York City on November 26, 1942, to coincide with the Allied invasion of North Africa and the capture of Casablanca. It went into general release on January 23, 1943, to take advantage of the Casablanca Conference, between Churchill and Roosevelt. Casablanca won three Academy Awards - Best Picture, Director and Adapted Screenplay - and gradually its reputation grew. Its lead characters, memorable lines, and pervasive theme song have all become iconic and the film consistently ranks near the top of lists of the greatest films in history (source: Wikipedia).

Morocco
  • Country in Africa
  • Morocco, a North African country bordering the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, is distinguished by its Berber, Arabian and European cultural influences. Marrakesh’s walled medina, a mazelike medieval quarter, offers entertainment in its Djemaa el-Fna square and souks (marketplaces) selling traditional ceramics, jewelry and metal lanterns. The capital Rabat’s Kasbah of the Udayas is a 12th-century royal fort overlooking the water.
  • Capital: Rabat
  • Currency: Moroccan dirham
  • Continent: Africa
  • Population: 33.01 million (2013) World Bank
  • Official language: Arabic



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