About the American Legation

The American Legation is the United States’ only National Historic Landmark outside of its borders, as it was the first property the nation acquired abroad. The building complex is located in Tangier, Morocco. Situated at the northernmost part of Africa and overlooking the Straight of Gibraltar, Tangier is a crossroads of people and influences. The city is a conglomeration of Spanish/Moorish, Islamic, and African designs. The mix of these styles with American influences truly represents a city famous for cohabitation, tolerance, and diversity. 


5th-Century BCE

Tangier area colonized by the Carthaginians.

1st-Century BCE

Roman rule begins.

5th-Century CE

City of Tangier conquered by the Vandals.

534 CE

The Roman Empire gains control again of the city.

534 CE

The Roman Empire gains control again of the city.

702 CE

Umayyad dynasty begins continuous seven centuries of Arab rule.

1471 CE

Portuguese conquer Tangier after numerous previous attempts.

1778 CE

Benjamin Franklin authorized to negotiate a treaty with Morocco.

Sultan Sidi Mohamed grants access to American vessels in Moroccan ports.

1783 CE

The sultan takes control of an American ship in hopes to force the United States to finish the treaty.

1785 CE

Thomas Barclay sent by Thomas Jefferson to create a treaty with Mohamed Ben Abdelkack, the Emperor of Morocco.

1786 CE

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson receive a signed treaty on October 2, 1786.

Thomas Barclay describes Tangier as being composed of 800 houses.

1795 CE

Hans Heissel appointed as the successor to Thomas Barclay as Consul to Morocco.

1810 CE

Tangier has become a small port city that served as a primary diplomatic and foreign trade center.

1820 CE

John Mullowny takes over the position as the American representative in Morocco.

1821 CE

Mullowny takes possession of a small house that had been presented rent free by the sultan. This includes two separate buildings on opposing sides of the street.

1838 CE

Thomas N. Carr provided an inventory of the Legation Building. This inventory included a saloon, hall, dining room, Consular office, ante room, pantry, and bedroom.

1848 CE

American Legation Building was rebuilt since little of the original materials were in good condition.

Second Story was added to the plan of the building. This second story included five major rooms, 4 bedrooms and the large drawing room.

1891 CE

The United States were given the title to the American Legation property from the Moroccan government.

1918 CE

Maxwell Blake designated as Consul in Tangier.

1921 CE

Maxwell Blake submitted initial plans for the repair and addition of new sections to the American Legation Building. These plans consisted of converting space into offices, including a dining room connected with the reception room.

1927 CE

The Theatre Parcel was donated to the United States government by Abd-El-Kader and Abdselam.

1928 CE

Completed renovations based on the rest of Maxwell Blake’s 1921 description, including renovating the Theatre Parcel with a courtyard, ground floor offices, roof terraces, and an alcove.

1930 CE

Pavilion Arabe proposed by Maxwell Blake and approved by U.S. Department of State.

1947 CE

The Legation Building is overcrowded with a reported thirty people working within its walls.

1953 CE

New building proposed for the Tangier Legation, although no location has yet been selected.

1941 CE

Secretary of State approves the purchase of a nearby house to transform into the present-day research library.

1953 CE

New building proposed for the Tangier Legation, although no location has yet been selected.

1956 CE

The United States establishes a new embassy in Rabat. Morocco regains independence from France.

1961-1973 CE

State department and Peace Corps use the building as a language school.

1976 CE

The building is leased to the Tangier American Legation Museum Society and opens to the public as a museum.


1981 CE

The American Legation Building is registered on the National Register of Historic Places.

1982 CE

The American Legation Building is recognized as a National Historic Landmark.


1999 CE

Minzah Room added as a rooftop room to the uppermost terrace of the American Legation Building.