Founded by Carthaginian colonists in the early 5th century BCE), the settlement of Tingis came under Roman and later Byzantine rule before passing to Arab control in 702. Held by the Portuguese from 1471 and by the British from 1661, it returned to Moroccan control in 1684.
Tangier's geographical location made it a centre for European diplomatic and commercial activity in Morocco in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was here that the German Kaiser Wilhelm II's pronouncement for Morocco's continued independence triggered an international crisis in 1905.
In 1912 Morocco was effectively partitioned between France and Spain, the latter occupying the country's far north and a strip of the southern Atlantic coast. Tangier was made an international zone in 1923 under the joint administration of France, Spain, and Britain (Italy joined in 1928).
After a period of effective Spanish control in 1940-45 during World War II, Tangier was reunited with the rest of Morocco on October 29, 1956 with the signing of the Tangier Protocol following the country's independence.