Queen Elizabeth I through Moroccan eyes

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This article examines the image of Queen Elizabeth I (reg. 1558-1603) in Moroccan writings, focusing specifically on the period between 1588, the English victory over the Spanish Armada, and 1596, the English attack (with Moroccan logistical assistance) on Cadiz. Contrary to what some historians have claimed about Arab-Islamic ignorance of, and indifference to, Western Europe in the early modern period, the writings of Abd al-Aziz al-Fishtali (1549-1621), the Moroccan scribe in the royal court of Marrakesh during the reign of Mulay Ahmad al-Mansur (reg. 1578-1603), provide valuable information about English political and naval activity in the last decade of the 16th century. The letters of al-Fishtali include the only contemporary description of the English Queen by a non-European writer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-76
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Early Modern History
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
1 Research for this paper was made possible by a grant from the British Academy, which sponsored my fellowship at the Public Record Office, London, in March 2006. I am grateful to Professor Paul Hammond of Leeds University for supporting my application to the Academy. Thanks are due to Dr. Angela Tenga at the Center for Communication Excellence at Florida Tech for overseeing the final draft of this paper. 2 Elizabeth W. Pomeroy, Reading the Portraits of Queen Elizabeth I (Hamden, Connect-icutt, 1989), 64.


  • Abd al-Aziz al-Fishtali
  • Anglo-Moroccan relations
  • Mulay Ahmad al-Mansur
  • Philip II of Spain
  • Queen Elizabeth I


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