Essaouira underwent an expansion period during the 19th century thanks to the fact that it was one of the two towns open to the European trade -- the other was Tangier. This attracted merchants from Europe, most of them from Great Britain. The foreign merchants settled in the old town, as did a growing Jewish community.
At the end of the 19th century the city of Essaouira entered a crisis period when the French authorities favored Casablanca. It was not until the end of the 20th century that the city recovered part of its lost international fame --thanks to tourism, this time.
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