Imperial Diplomacy in the Early Modern Mediterranean: Mouley Ismaël’s Marriage Proposal for a Daughter of Louis XIV

Allen, Mary Elizabeth, French - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Tsien, Jennifer, AS-French, University of Virginia

This research project centers around a marriage proposal. In 1699, Mouley Ismaël, the King of Morocco, ostensibly requested to marry a daughter of the French King Louis XIV. The gesture, coming from a Muslim, an African, a Sultan of “dark complexion,” asking for the daughter of the “Most Christian King,” was deemed by the French court utterly laughable. My study offers readers an analysis of this diplomatic event, and the literature it inspired, along with literary and pictorial representations of Moroccan figures, especially the ways in which religious suspicion and racial prejudice fueled those depictions. As my study expounds upon the relations between Morocco and France at the turn of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, I intervene in the ongoing debates on Orientalism. In building a framework that acknowledges the curiosity, love, and fears that characterized these evolving political relationships, I fashion a new model for the study of pre-Enlightenment exchanges amongst ostensibly “eastern” and “western” peoples.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Morocco, France, seventeenth century, eighteenth century, history, diplomacy, marriage
All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
Issued Date: