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On 30th December
1676, Charles ordered a survey of the city and garrison of Tangier,
which was costing about £140,000 a year to maintain. This
was a considerable drain on the King's private purse, since Parliament
refused to make any provision for Tangier's defence. The survey
showed that the total inhabitants numbered 2,225, of whom 50 were
army officers, 1,231 other ranks, with 302 army wives and children.
Foreigners numbered 130; there were 156 mole workers; 200 wives
and children of citizens; 70 widows and single women; and the
remainder were priests, servants and a number of slaves in His
Majesty's bagnio (a sort of prisoner-of-war camp where the 'slaves'
were employed on building the mole or ransomed, according to the
practice of the Barbary pirates). Amongst the buildings was a
hospital and an army school, in which the King thought fit to
employ Richard Reynolds, Master of Arts and Fellow of Sidney Sussex
College (Cambridge) in his service as a schoolmaster.
were strongly marked: the governor and principle officers of the
garrison and their families formed the upper circle, followed
by municipal dignitaries, merchants, ministers, doctor and schoolmaster.
The attractive climate and short two-week journey from Falmouth
made Tangier a pleasant place for courtiers and their ladies to
visit. There were balls and banquets, cards and music, pretty
walks and gardens, and a popular resort called White Hall, "where
the ladies, officers and the better sort of people do refresh
and divert themselves".
On a fine
spring afternoon on the mole, officers in their loose grey (probably
a concession to the climate) or red coats, breeches and hose to
match, could be seen strolling in the company of English ladies
dressed in flowing gowns of French or Italian silk, one or two
with feathered hats and perfumed gloves from Madrid. Riding by
would be troopers from the Tangier Horse in their black helmets
and cuirasses (with no tropical dress concessions), worn over
red coats and black thigh-length boots.
to time business or curiosity brought out some great personage
from England, with money in his pocket and a few court gallants
and ladies in his train. Tangier society would then throw itself
into the enjoyment of dances and entertainment with such wholehearted
frivolity that the Moors remarked, "if you give the officers a
ball and the common soldiers a bottle of wine, you may do what
you will with an Englishman".
& Discipline | Tangier Social Life | Raising
a Regiment |
of Blenheim 1704 | Storming
of Schellenberg 1704 | War
of the Spanish Succession 1701-14
1670s | Gallery 1680s
1690s | Gallery
© N. Kipar 2003.
Contents Copyright © Ben Levick 1998. With permission by the