Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

pean bankers, the amount of loans contracted in 1904 and 1910, and in addition 120 million francs, the amount of certain French and Spanish war indemnities. As a guarantee for the interest of these loans, amounting to 15 million francs annually, the Sultan had been obliged to pledge to the bankers the entire customs revenue, the revenues from government monopolies and lands and his principal revenues from the open ports, all of which were collected by agents of the bankers. The revenues remaining to him were for the most part uncollectible and he was reduced, in order to maintain his dwindling authority, to levying heavier and heavier taxes upon the few tribes whose territories lay near his capital and who were unable to make any effective resistance. These revenues however were entirely insufficient and except in the neighborhood of Fez his authority was scarcely recognized and the country was becoming more and more a prey to the incessant and devastating conflicts of the more warlike tribes.

Since the French occupation and the re-establishment of order, the old taxes have not been changed but they have been regularly collected under French supervision. The result has proved highly gratifying as it appears certain that it will be unnecessary to increase any of them but that they will be entirely sufficient to meet not only the interest on the loans but all current expenses of government. Outside financial assistance will only be required to execute the public works essential to the development of a country where at present practically none exist and this France is about to furnish through a loan of 175 million francs which is now being discussed by the French parliament. Nevertheless with only the existing revenues it has been possible with the aid of the troops to execute certain especially urgent public works. A few short roads have been made near the Atlantic ports, a few bridges have been built and narrow-gauge railways have been constructed, one from Sale almost to Meknes, which it is expected to reach next July, and another from Rabat to Casablanca and BuRechid, on the route to Marakech, some 300 kilometres in all. In eastern Morocco a narrow-gauge railway has

i

been built from the Algerian frontier at Lalla-Marnia to Taourirt and will eventually be pushed on to Taza and Fez. Telegraph lines have been established along the Atlantic coast, and to Meknes, Fez and Marakech. Elementary as these works may seem, the progress which they indicate will be apparent when it is realized that only two years ago not a mile of road or of telegraph line existed in Morocco outside the limits of a few coast towns. The most important works now required are for the improvement of the ports, now all open roadsteads where loading and unloading merchandise is impracticable during prolonged periods. Such works are projected at Rabat, Mazagan, Safi, Mogador, Kenitra, a new port since the French occupation, and Casablanca. The last works will be on a large scale and are estimated to cost 39 million francs and to be finished in 1920.

The results of the establishment of peace and security are especially seen in the extraordinary increase of European immigration and the development of foreign trade. When the Protectorate was declared in 1911, there were in the whole of the present occupied region about two or three thousand Europeans, chiefly residing at Casablanca and Rabat. Fifteen months later, in July 1913, there were fifty thousand Europeans in this region, exclusive of the military, of whom 38,000 resided in the coast towns (20,600 at Casablanca) and the remainder were scattered through the country districts and interior towns where before the occupation there were practically no Europeans. Of those residing in the towns, 25,850 were French, 6365 were Spanish, 4485 were Italian, 773 were English and 245 were German. There were practically no Americans. A large part of this European population consists of labourers and artisans, who are chiefly engaged in building and various other construction works. A majority of the remainder are small shopkeepers and business men. Some 257 have however acquired altogether about 73,054 hectares of agricultural land, especially along the Atlantic coast and Algerian frontier but also in the regions of Meknes and Marakech. The great majority of these are French and so far they have

1

principally devoted themselves to growing wheat, barley, maize, beans and market vegetables. In the future cattle raising will no doubt be an important industry as well as the growing of grapes and olives. Experiments for growing cotton have been very successful when made with Egyptian seed but have failed when made with American seed. Altogether with the large amount of fertile agricultural land at hand and the splendid climate, the agricultural development of Morocco should be rapid and far surpass that of Algeria. It may be noted however that even now in addition to the Europeans who own land, a much greater number are directly interested in agriculture through partnerships entered into with natives. In these partnerships the European generally furnishes the native with the necessary seed for sowing and the oxen for ploughing his land or with cattle for breeding, the native undertaking to give him half the crop or the offspring.

The extraordinary increase in foreign trade since the French occupation will be seen from the following figures: the total exports and imports, exclusive of all supplies for the troops, 'amounted in 1908 to 101,110,712 francs; in 1910 to 110,634,707 francs; in 1911, largely owing to the French intervention, to 159,246,838 francs; and finally in 1912, after the establishment of the protectorate, to 202,337,692 francs. During all these years imports have exceeded exports, the former during 1912 amounting to 130,242,475 francs and the latter to 72,095,217 francs. The principal imports were cotton goods, almost entirely from England, sugar from France and Germany, tea from England and Germany, candles, woolens, silks, wines and spirits, the last almost entirely from France. The principal exports were live-stock, corn, wool, almonds, hides, eggs, dried vegetables and olive oil. The value of this trade passing through the five Atlantic ports in 1912 was 175, 166,692 francs (through Casablanca 63,266,123 francs), and across the Algerian frontier 27,171,000 francs. Of the nations chiefly participating in it, France participated to the sum of 84,371,675 francs; England to that of 57,668,432 francs; Germany to that of 28,897,331 francs and Spain to that of 11,225,340 francs. The foreign commerce of Morocco has thus nearly doubled in two years and appears from the still unpublished statistics for 1913 to be maintaining this rate of increase. Doubtless the increase of trade would have been still greater had not the extremely rapid immigration brought about much unfortunate speculation in real estate and a considerable increase in the cost of living. These hindrances are but temporary however and the French authorities have already taken measures which it is hoped will do away with them.

The writer desires to express his indebtedness to MM. René Besnard and Camille Aymard from whose excellent work ("L'Oeuvre Française au Maroc,” Hachette et Cie. 1914) the statistics and certain facts in the above article have been taken.

THE DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS OF MOROCCO

[ocr errors]

By Talcott Williams, LL.D., Dean, Pulitzer School of Jour

nalism, Columbia University All diplomatic relations of any land are the joint result of its geographical and historical formula. These remain unchanged through the centuries to a degree little appreciated by those who arbitrarily divide history into periods. Morocco is an isolated tract with no entrance on the Mediterranean world save at the straits of Gibraltar For Morocco's whole life rests upon a light rain fall of not over 15 or 20 inches, over the plains and over the mountainous tracts from 5 to 10 inches more. The practical result is a sparse population in the plains but a large product of hard spring wheat, including some of the best varieties known and recently introduced into our West with great success; and a larger population in the region over an elevation of from 1200 to 1500 feet, which includes, roughly speaking, four-fifths of the area of Morocco. The mountain population is Berber or Libyan in origin, in isolated valleys preserving a rugged independence, practicing the arts of leather making, pottery, iron and copper with an unusual skill and furnishing bandicraft men for the large interior cities, all of which are at an elevation of over a thousand feet. The plains are occupied by a wandering Arab population with occasional villages of mountaineer folk who have sought the plains. The coast cities possess a mingling of all these elements. The fighting vigor of the land resides therefore in the mountains, its source of food supply principally in the plains. Whatever cultivation and settled rule exists is to be found in the cities.

The historical formula of Morocco rests upon successive migrations north of the tribes of the Atlas under one leader and another through all the last thousand years of recorded history, each dynasty coming up from the south, each losing its power in the cities of the north, the stronger in their onset carrying their power across the straits over Spain.

1

« AnteriorContinuar »