He was a British consul established
as the foremost European merchant in Mogador, which was at that
time an important trading port linking Saharan and Sub-Saharan
Africa to Europe and North America. Today Willshire is
best remembered as the man who redeemed, cared for and helped
repatriate hundreds of Western sailors enslaved in the Sultanate
of Morocco during the early part of the 19th century, including
Captain James Riley, and Captain Alexander Scott,
both of whom would later write and publish harrowing accounts
of their hardships endured as slaves in the desert.
Read also about Joseph Dupuis (1789-1874) He devoted much of his life to freeing Christian slaves in North Africa and was vicekonsul in Mogador and in partnership with William Willshire and the one who recommended him as British vice-consul at Mogador.
See also Icons William Willshire and Pirates
"As British influence
in Mogador became particularly dominant from the 18th century,
English schools flourished there, including those of
the London-based Anglo-Jewish Association and the Board of Deputies
for British Jewry. The schools helped spread the English language
and culture among the Jews."
"As British influence declined in the
town after 1912, the Alliance schools and those of the Protectorate,
which propagated French influences, emerged supreme and oriented
local Jews toward new cultural currents. "
See also Jews and The
William Hughes, British Vice Consul to Mogador (Essaouira), Morocco between 1814-1844.