This article examines the life of the scholar Abraham Ankawa (1810–90) in order to argue for the usefulness of a Mediterranean lens through which to view the history of Jews in modern North Africa. Ankawa’s networks spanned various Maghribi states, especially Morocco (his birthplace and the focus of much of his scholarship) and Algeria (where he made his career as a rabbi), extending east to Jerusalem and north to Livorno and France. The fundamentally transimperial nature of his personal and professional ties cannot be explained through the national historiographies of Morocco or Algeria, the most typical categories assigned to Maghribi Jews like him. Nor were his diverse networks based only on his Sephardi identity. Understanding Ankawa’s trajectory through a Mediterranean lens offers a window onto the process of Mediterranean modernization as an encounter between older, transregional forms of connectivity and the new political and legal institutions of European colonialism.