Tangier International Zone


Map of Tangier International ZoneFlag of Tangier International Zone












Tangier is a city in Northern Morocco, on the Strait of Gibraltar. It was probably founded by the Phoenicians. Tangier was a free city under the Romans and the chief port and commercial centre of Morocco until the founding of Fès in 808. It was captured from the Moors by the Portuguese in 1471 and was transferred to England as part of the dowry that Catherine of Braganza brought to Charles II. The English abandoned the city to the Moroccans in 1684. By the mid-19th century it had become the diplomatic centre of Morocco.


The Algeciras Act of 1906 recognized Tangier and the surrounding territory as an international zone in the widest sense, and under the Treaty of Fès (November 1912) Tangier was to become its centre.


With this treaty, Morocco was effectively partitioned between France and Spain, the latter occupying the country's far north (called Spanish Morocco) and a part of Moroccan territory in the south, while France declared a protectorate over the remainder.


Tangier was made an international zone by statute in 1923 under the joint administration of France, Spain, and Great Britain, joined by Italy, Portugal, Netherlands and Belgium in 1928.


This statute remained in force until 1940. All the countries that had acceded to the Algeciras Act were invited to accept the 1923 statute, and with the exception of Italy and the USA, did so.


Both France and Spain, sometimes separately, and at other times in conjunction, attempted to obtain complete control; but these attempts were unsuccessful until June 1940, following the collapse of France and Italy's entry into the war. On 14 June 1940 Spanish troops occupied Tangier and in November Tangier was incorporated into the Spanish zone of Morocco. Under pressure, Spain formally undertook to keep the zone demilitarized. In 1945 Spain agreed to withdraw its troops from Tangier; the international city status was restored; and a general settlement reached regarding the future of this status.


On 2 March 1956 France agreed to the abrogation of the Treaty of Fès, and recognized the independence of Morocco. Following a meeting of the interested powers in Rabat in July, a nine-power conference on the future of Tangier signed a declaration in October, abolishing the international regime as from 1 January 1957, when Tangier became an integral part of Morocco.


In the zone British, French and Spanish post offices issued stamps, mostly overprinted. In addition to the stamps listed below, there are Spanish stamps with overprint and a control number on the back. These were not officially issued, but were presented to delegates at the 9th UPU Congress in London in 1929.



Capital:                      Tangier

Government:              international controlled zone

Area:                         373 km²

Population:                 60.000 (1939) / 150.000 (1950)

Currency:                   British Pound (20 shillings, 1 shilling = 12 pence)






Tangier in Wikipedia.

Flag of Tangier International Zone in Flags of the World.




Stamp catalogue


UPU 75th anniversary

date:                  10 October 1949

designer:            1: Mary Adshead

                          2: Percy Metcalfe

                          3: Hugo Fleury

                          4: George Rothe Bellew

printer:               Harrison and Sons, London, United Kingdom

perforated:         15:14

remark:              overprint on stamps of the United Kingdom (cat. Michel 241-244/SG 499-502)


1     2½ D            overprint text "TANGIER", hemispheres, portrait of George VI, text "1874 UNIVERSAL / POSTAL

                          UNION 1949"

                          ultramarine, overprint in black

                          (cat. Michel 46/SG 275)


Tangier International Zone - stamp as described above


2     3 D              overprint text "TANGIER", UPU monument, portrait of George VI, text "UNIVERSAL / 1874 / 1949 /

                          POSTAL UNION"

                          violet, overprint in black

                          (cat. Michel 47/SG 276)


Tangier International Zone - stamp as described above


3     6 D              overprint text "TANGIER", Goddess Concordia, globe, compass, portrait of George VI, text "UNIVERSAL /

                          POSTAL UNION / 1874-1949"

                          bright purple, overprint in black

                          (cat. Michel 48/SG 277)


Tangier International Zone - stamp as described above


4     1/-              overprint text "TANGIER", post horn, globe, portrait of George VI, text "UNIVERSAL POSTAL UNION /


                          brown, overprint in black

                          (cat. Michel 49/SG 278)


Tangier International Zone - stamp as described above









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last revised: 17 August 2009