American Legation, Tangier

The Tangier American Legation (Arabic: المفوضية الأميركية في طنجة; French: Légation américaine de Tanger), officially the Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies (TALIMS),[3] is a building in the medina of Tangier, Morocco. Formerly the chancery of the United States diplomatic mission to Morocco, it was the first American public property abroad and is the only U.S. National Historic Landmark located in a foreign country.[note 1]

American Legation
Courtyard of the Legation
LocationTangier, Morocco
Coordinates35°47′02″N 5°48′38″W
Architectural styleMoorish architecture
NRHP reference No.81000703
Significant dates
Added to NRHPJanuary 8, 1981[1]
Designated NHLDecember 17, 1982[2]

The legation was established on May 17, 1821. Sultan Mohammed ben Abdallah issued a proclamation recognizing U.S. independence from Great Britain on December 20, 1777, making his nation the first to do so.[4] The building was gifted by the sultan to the U.S. government to serve as a diplomatic post, for which it served for the next 140 years. After Morocco's diplomatic capital moved to Rabat in 1956, the building served a variety of government functions, before gradually falling into neglect and disrepair. In 1976, former U.S. diplomats established the nonprofit Tangier American Legation Museum Society to restore and preserve the structure;[5] the site has since served as a cultural center, museum, and research library, concentrating on Arabic language studies.

The Tangier American Legation is considered a symbol of the historic cultural and diplomatic relations between the U.S. and the Kingdom of Morocco,[6] and of long-running American engagement with the wider Islamic world.[7] In recognition of its historic and cultural importance, the site was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1981 and designated a National Historic Landmark the following year; it is one of 39 properties owned by the U.S. Department of State listed in the Register of Culturally Significant Property.

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