National Historic Landmark: Shining the Legation’s Plaque

TALIM National Historic Landmark Number of US National Historic Landmarks: fewer than 2,500

Number located outside the United States: 1

Location: Tangier, Morocco

Name: American Legation (TALIM)

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We are proud of our designation as the only US National Historic Landmark located outside the United States.  So it was only natural that we restore the shine to the plaque that commemorates the Tangier American Legation's addition to the list in 1983.

For those readers unfamiliar with the NHL designation, I suggest a visit to the National Park Service (NPS) website, which provides a list.  As it explains, 

National Historic Landmarks are nationally significant historic places designated by the Secretary of the Interior because they possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States.

The American Legation in Tangier is in a club with such instantly recognizable buildings as George Washington's Mount Vernon and Thomas Jefferson's Monticello.  See our website's historical sketch of how our building – the oldest continuously occupied American diplomatic property – was given to the United States by the Sultan of Morocco in 1821.

Since we're also sensitive to threats to historic landmarks, we were relieved to TALIM USS Olympia Herald of Empire see that the USS Olympia, the only surviving ship from the Spanish-American War, is going to stay moored in Philadelphia, where it serves as a museum.  The historic ship was threatened with the scrapyard, but its fate became the focus of a coalition dedicated to its preservation.

Why do we care about the USS Olympia?  Well, because it sailed into Tangier, part of a "show of great naval force" in President Theodore Roosevelt's successful bid to free an American citizen, Ion Perdicaris, kidnapped in 1904 by the bandit Raisuli.  "Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead!" became the battle cry, and the Great White Fleet with the Olympia changed course for Morocco.

The Olympia's sailing days are over, unfortunately, so we can't expect a visit by this ship to help inaugurate Tangier's new harbor.  But maybe some nice donor will help us obtain the USS Olympia model for a display on Roosevelt and Perdicaris.  It's only $1,550…

Gerald Loftus

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