Question regarding the 1880 Treaty of Madrid concerning German mining rights in Morocco

I believe it was the 1880 Treaty of Madrid that gave Germany mining and trading rights in Morocco before WWI . What exacty were the Germans mining in Morocco before WWI. Copper? iron? coal? I haven’t been able to find any specifics on that?

I haven’t signed up to read any of these articles but they would seem to be a trove on the subject.

My general and vague understanding was that the European “Great Powers” were positioning to colonise Morocco and the French seemed to have the greater interest, activity and intent.

The Germany position seems to have been simply to oppose the French expansion

I’ve seen references to copper and iron being the first mining resources to be exploited in Morocco, but early efforts were French-dominated. Germany had “mining interests” in south Morocco which were undeveloped.

The Moroccan crisis of 1911 which threatened to erupt into war seems to have been mostly about Germany resenting increasing French influence in the country and using the excuse that France was overstepping its treaty rights to quell disorder, so that Germany could pressure France into territorial concessions elsewhere while isolating France diplomatically.

The effort largely backfired, though it did give history the “Endangered German”, a mining engineer who was set up to be a representative of the expatriates who were supposedly appealing for German military protection.

I’ve read several articles in English and German. They can’t all be wrong on the Germans being worried about their mining and trading rights in Morocco when France and Spain secretly con concluded their 1904 treaty partitioning Morocco.

So the whole ‘mining’ argument put forward by the Germans was really disproportionate to any real/substantive mining operation and a pretext to get France to cede Cameroon to Germany?

Most of what I’ve read has concerned Agadir in 1911. No sources I’ve turned up indicate there was any big-time mining taking place under German ownership. There may well have been hopes of capitalizing on Moroccan resources, but the major factor in the crisis was the expectation that by squeezing France, Germany could pick up additional colonial territory and weaken the Entente between France and England.

Later, Moroccan phosphate became an important resource and the country still holds most of the world’s phosphate reserves.

Mining, not so much.
Trading, probably yes.

Germany wanted tariff concessions for whatever trading they were doing in Morocco in line with the rates paid by France, England and Spain.

Some colonia German companies operating out of Morocco at the time
Marokko Mannesmann-Compagnie m. b. H., Hamburg.
Marokko-Minensyndikat m. b. H., Berlin.
Marokko-Wollschafzucht-Gesellschaft m. b. H., Berlin.

There are huge phosphate mines, 3rd or 4th world place if I remember correctly.

The operative word being “are”.

When were they discovered?

Discovered? Don’ know.
OCP Group was founded in 1920 and began mining operations in 1921

This was a consequence of the efforts of Germany to establish a colonial empire in the face of competition from France and the UK. The ‘Scramble for Africa’ that intensified from the 1880’S. Morocco was a weak state ripe for imperial expansion and Germany under Whilhelm was keen to assert influence by challenging French and British interests.

Was there a big pot of gold to fight over that time? There seems little evidence of that. The subsequent Moroccan crises seemed to be diplomatic challenges by Germany (with gunboat) trying to undermine the French, who had got there first, supported by the British. This was one skirmish in a much larger chess game being played between the Great Powers with their huge industrial and military power.

As we know, it did not end well.

Gunboat diplomacy does not really require much of a cause. A few German residents., some questionable mining rights… In this case it was counter productive, encouraging closer diplomatic ties between France and the UK in opposition to German expansion. The Germans withdrew after a few concessions elsewhere in Africa.

I am not sure when phosphate became a strategic resource. Now if it was nitrate, that would have been a different story. Morocco was on historic trans-saharan trade routes. But was that a significant financial interest?

Its a pro-forma , the same treaty is with around a dozen countries…

Germany got in on it as part of the Scramble for Africa…
" Chancellor Otto von Bismarck disliked colonies but gave in to popular and elite pressure in the 1880s. He sponsored the Berlin Conference of 1884–1885 "… aka the Congo Conference… Discussions concerning the Berlin Conference will help clear up what they were up to, eg that they had NO interest in Morocco