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The Tangier American Legation Museum reflects the evolution of Moroccan–American relations over two centuries. Morocco, the first country to recognize the independence of the United States (1777), became the site of the first overseas American diplomatic mission in 1821 when the sultan gave the US government title to the museum’s current home—8 rue d’Amérique (zankat America)—in the old city of Tangier. The building went on to house the US consulate (1821–1905), legation (1905–1956), a State Department Foreign Service language school (1961–1970), and a Peace Corps training center (1970–1973), before becoming a museum dedicated to displaying art and artifacts about Morocco and Moroccan–American relations (1976). Despite the official story of the origin of the forty-one-room museum, its holdings and activities since the late 20th century derive more from unofficial American relationships with Morocco than from US government policy. The private actions of individual Americans and Moroccans, with some State Department support, led the museum to become in the late 20th century a research and cultural center serving academics and the broad public, including the people in its neighborhood (Beni Ider). In 1981 the US Department of the Interior put the Legation on the National Register of Historic Places, and in 1982 it became the only site outside the United States designated as a National Historic Landmark due to its past diplomatic and military significance, as well as to the building’s blend of Moroccan and Spanish architectural styles.

Article

This article traces the relations between South Africa and Southern Rhodesia/Rhodesia/Zimbabwe from the end of the 19th century until the present with respect to politics; economic, military, ideological, and cultural activities; as well as foreign policy. The conflicted relationship between the two countries went through varying periods of close cooperation and also of tension, especially given the difference in power between the much larger and more economically prosperous South Africa and the smaller society and economy of Southern Rhodesia. Other important factors include the dominant influence of the Afrikaners in South Africa, from the creation of the Union in 1910 onward, and the apprehension felt by a predominantly English-speaking white population of Rhodesia, which arose from a fear of being swallowed up by Afrikaner-dominated South Africa. During the Zimbabwean liberation struggle from the early 1960s onward, South Africa gave military support to Rhodesia, at least in the early part of the conflict; it changed its policy in the mid-1970s and began to advocate for negotiations between Rhodesia’s warring parties. Between Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980 and the democratic transition in South Africa in 1994, relations between the two countries were fraught with tensions because the Zimbabwean government persistently condemned the apartheid regime and hosted representatives of South African anti-apartheid movements, although Zimbabwe was careful not to allow these movements to launch military attacks on South Africa from its soil, for fear of reprisals. On its part, the South African government conducted a sabotage campaign against its northern neighbor and exerted economic pressure on it. Despite all these tensions, however, South Africa remained Zimbabwe’s major trading partner throughout this period. The tension between the countries lessened when Nelson Mandela became president in 1994, but new tensions arose because of Mandela and Robert Mugabe’s rivalry over the leadership of Southern Africa. On coming to power in 1999, Thabo Mbeki tried to diffuse tensions by adopting a different style of foreign policy that, in Zimbabwe’s case, was known as “quiet diplomacy”—a policy that came under much criticism from Western countries and some sectors in Southern Africa. Mbeki’s successors continued this diplomatic policy toward Zimbabwe, even following a militarily assisted political transition in November 2017, which saw the overthrow of Mugabe and his replacement by Emerson Munangangwa.

Article

By the early 1400s, diplomatic representatives and pilgrims from the Christian Kingdom of Ethiopia had traveled to the Italian peninsula for political and religious reasons. In doing so, they inaugurated an era of Ethiopian–European relations that unfolded for more than 200 years: Ethiopians reached multiple locales across Latin Europe to forge political alliances, acquire technology, and pursue religious knowledge. They drew the attention of European observers, especially those with an interest in the overseas. Secular and religious personalities, but also average merchants, began their quests for the Ethiopian highlands, lured by the tales of their visitors who were believed with growing certainty to be subjects of the mythical Prester John, the imaginary Christian sovereign believed to rule the Indies. Their journeys enabled cultural exchanges, technological transfer, and the forging of one of the first Euro-African political alliances, that between the kingdoms of Ethiopia and Portugal. In the 15th century, Ethiopian pilgrims flocked to Rome, and diplomatic representatives found hospitality in the Venetian Republic and at the Aragonese and papal courts. Concurrently with Ethiopian arrivals in Europe, European adventurers and representatives began reaching Ethiopia, eventually leading to the establishing of Portuguese–Ethiopian relations. The exchanges climaxed with a Portuguese military intervention to support the Ethiopian monarchy against the sultanate of Adal in 1541. In the decades following the conflict, Jesuit missionaries began operating in the country: after a difficult inception in the 1620s, the fathers experienced ephemeral successes, followed by a dramatic expulsion that ended early modern Ethiopian–European relations.

Article

Omotayo Jolaosho

Miriam Makeba (March 4, 1932–November 9, 2008) was among the first to popularize African music on a global scale. Nelson Mandela named her South Africa’s first lady of song; she was also nicknamed Mama Africa. Makeba has been credited with inaugurating the “world music” movement, a designation that she did not like as it marginalized music from a so-called Third World. Already renowned in her native South Africa as a sophisticated and highly sought-after performer in her own right, Makeba’s arrival in the United States in 1959 transformed that country’s music scene. She was a contemporary of Nina Simone and Odetta, with the three women credited for a resurgence of folk music in the United States as they drew songs of everyday life onto the concert stage. South Africa’s apartheid government revoked Makeba’s passport in 1960, when she sought to return home to bury her mother. She was a vocal critic of apartheid in exile, appearing before the United Nations (UN) on at least four occasions (including twice as a delegate of Guinea) to urge sanctions against the apartheid regime and mobilize support for Black South Africans caught under apartheid’s yoke. She supported US civil rights movement organizations and activists, and through her activism embedded US struggles for civil rights within a continuum of African liberation struggles, including anti-apartheid and anti-colonial liberation movements on the continent. She was a cultural ambassador who bore witness to the independence of many African countries through song, with countries for which her performances contributed to the ushering in of independent regimes including Kenya, Tanzania, and Mozambique. She was the only performer at the inaugural conference of the Organization for African Unity. As South Africa’s apartheid government began transitioning power, Makeba was able to return home in 1992 for a brief visit and subsequently decided to permanently return. Under South Africa’s democratically elected regime, Makeba was appointed an FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) Goodwill ambassador for the UN. She continued performing in her later years, but in November 2008 she collapsed following a performance in Italy and died from cardiac arrest. Her legacy continues through the work of the ZM Makeba Foundation.