Ceuta (/ˈsjuːtə/ or /ˈseɪʊtə/) is an 18.5 km2 (7 sq mi; 4,571 acres) Spanish autonomous city on the north coast of Africa, separated by 14 km (9 mi) from Cadiz province on the Spanish mainland by the Strait of Gibraltar and sharing a 6.4 km (4 mi) land border with M'diq-Fnideq Prefecture in the Kingdom of Morocco. It lies along the boundary between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean and is one of nine populated Spanish territories in Africa and, along with Melilla, one of two populated territories on mainland Africa. It was part of Cádiz province until 14 March 1995 when both Ceuta and Melilla's Statutes of Autonomy were passed, the latter having been part of Málaga province.
Ceuta, like Melilla and the Canary Islands, was a free port before Spain joined the European Union. As of 2011, it has a population of 82,376. Its population consists of Christians, Muslims and small minorities of Sephardic Jews and ethnic Sindhi Hindus.
Location of Ceuta within Spain
|First settled||1st millennium BC|
|End of Muslim rule||14 August 1415|
|Ceded to Spain||1 January 1668|
|Autonomy status||14 March 1995|
|• Type||Autonomous city|
|• Body||Council of Government|
|• Mayor-President||Juan Jesús Vivas (PP)|
|• Total||18.5 km2 (7.1 sq mi)|
|• Land||18.5 km2 (7.1 sq mi)|
|Elevation||10 m (30 ft)|
|Highest elevation||349 m (1,145 ft)|
|• Density||4,500/km2 (12,000/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
|Congress||1 deputy (out of 350)|
|Senate||2 senators (out of 264)|
The name Abyla has been said to have been a Punic name ("Lofty Mountain" or "Mountain of God") for Jebel Musa, the southern Pillar of Hercules. In fact, it seems that the name of the mountain was actually Habenna (Punic: 𐤀𐤁𐤍, ʾBN, "Stone" or "Stele") or ʾAbin-ḥīq (𐤀𐤁𐤍𐤇𐤒, ʾBNḤQ, "Rock of the Bay"), in reference to the nearby Bay of Benzú. The name was hellenized variously as Ápini (Greek: Ἄπινι), Abýla (Ἀβύλα), Abýlē (Ἀβύλη), Ablýx (Ἀβλύξ), and Abílē Stḗlē (Ἀβίλη Στήλη, "Pillar of Abyla") and in Latin as Mount Abyla (Abyla Mons) or the Pillar of Abyla (Abyla Columna).
The settlement below Jebel Musa was later renamed for the seven hills around the site, collectively referred to as the "Seven Brothers" (Greek: Ἑπτάδελφοι, Heptádelphoi; Latin: Septem Fratres). In particular, the Roman stronghold at the site took the name "Fort at the Seven Brothers" (Castellum ad Septem Fratres). This was gradually shortened to Septem (Σέπτον, Sépton) or, occasionally, Septum or Septa. These clipped forms continued as Berber Sebta and Arabic Sebtan or Sabtah (Arabic: سبتة), which themselves became Ceuta in Portuguese (pronounced [ˈsew.tɐ]) and Spanish (pronounced [ˈθeuta]).
Controlling access between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, the Strait of Gibraltar is an important military and commercial chokepoint. The Phoenicians realized the extremely narrow isthmus joining the Peninsula of Almina to the African mainland makes Ceuta eminently defensible and established an outpost there in the early 1st millennium BC. The Greek geographers record it by variations of "Abyla", the ancient name of nearby Jebel Musa. Beside Calpe, the other Pillar of Hercules now known as the Rock of Gibraltar, the Phoenicians established Kart at what is now San Roque, Spain. Other good anchorages nearby became Phoenician and then Carthaginian ports at what are now Tangiers and Cadiz.
After Carthage's destruction in the Punic Wars, most of northwest Africa was left to the Roman client states of Numidia and—around Abyla—Mauretania. Punic culture continued to thrive in what the Romans knew as "Septem". After Thapsus, Caesar and his heirs began annexing north Africa directly as Roman provinces but, as late as Augustus, most of Septem's Berber residents continued to speak and write in Punic.
Caligula assassinated the Mauretanian king Ptolemy in AD 40 and seized his kingdom, which Claudius organized in 42, placing Septem in the province of Tingitana and raising it to the level of a colony. It subsequently romanized and thrived into the late 3rd century, trading heavily with Roman Spain and becoming well known for its salted fish. Roads connected it overland with Tingis (Tangiers) and Volubilis. Under Theodosius I in the late 4th century, Septem still had 10,000 inhabitants, nearly all Christian citizens speaking Latin and African Romance.
Vandals, probably invited by Count Boniface as protection against the empress dowager, crossed the strait near Tingis around 425 and swiftly overran Roman North Africa. Their king Gaiseric focused his attention on the rich lands around Carthage; although the Romans eventually accepted his conquests and he continued to raid them anyway, he soon lost control of Tingis and Septem in a series of Berber revolts. When Justinian decided to reconquer the Vandal lands, his victorious general Belisarius continued along the coast, making Septem an outpost of the Byzantine Empire around 533. Unlike the Roman administration, however, the Byzantines did not push far into hinterland and made the more defensible Septem their regional capital in place of Tingis.
Epidemics, less capable successors, and overstretched supply lines forced a retrenchment and left Septem isolated. It is likely that its count (comes) was obliged to pay homage to the Visigoth Kingdom in Spain in the early 7th century. There are no reliable contemporary accounts of the end of the Islamic conquest of the Maghreb around 710. Instead, the rapid Muslim conquest of Spain produced romances concerning Count Julian of Septem and his betrayal of Christendom in revenge for the dishonor that befell his daughter at King Roderick's court. Allegedly with Julian's encouragement and instructions, the Berber convert and freedman Tariq ibn Ziyad took his garrison from Tangiers across the strait and overran the Spanish so swiftly that both he and his Persian master Musa bin Nusayr fell afoul of a jealous caliph, who stripped them of their wealth and titles.
After the death of Julian, sometimes also described as a king of the Ghomara Berbers, Berber converts to Islam took direct control of what they called Sebta. It was then destroyed during their great revolt against the Umayyad Caliphate around 740. Sebta subsequently remained a small village of Muslims and Christians surrounded by ruins until its resettlement in the 9th century by Mâjakas, chief of the Majkasa Berber tribe, who started the short-lived Banu Isam dynasty. His great-grandson briefly allied his tribe with the Idrisids, but Banu Isam rule ended in 931 when he abdicated in favor of Abd ar-Rahman III, the Umayyad caliph of Cordoba. Ceuta reverted to Moorish Andalusian rule in 927 along with Melilla, and later Tangier, in 951.
Chaos ensued with the fall of the Spanish Umayyads in 1031. Following this, Ceuta and Muslim Iberia were controlled by successive North African dynasties. Starting in 1084, the Almoravid Berbers ruled the region until 1147, when the Almohads conquered the land. Apart from Ibn Hud's rebellion in 1232, they ruled until the Tunisian Hafsids established control. The Hafsids' influence in the west rapidly waned, and Ceuta's inhabitants eventually expelled them in 1249. After this, a period of political instability persisted, under competing interests from the kingdoms of Fez and Granada. The Fez finally conquered the region in 1387, with assistance from Aragon.
On the morning of 21 August 1415, King John I of Portugal led his sons and their assembled forces in a surprise assault that would come to be known as the Conquest of Ceuta. The battle was almost anti-climactic, because the 45,000 men who traveled on 200 Portuguese ships caught the defenders of Ceuta off guard and only suffered eight casualties. By nightfall the town was captured. On the morning of August 22, Ceuta was in Portuguese hands. Álvaro Vaz de Almada, 1st Count of Avranches was asked to hoist what was to become the flag of Ceuta, which is identical to the flag of Lisbon, but in which the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Portugal was added to the center; the original Portuguese flag and coat of arms of Ceuta remained unchanged, and the modern-day Ceuta flag features the configuration of the Portuguese shield.
John's son Henry the Navigator distinguished himself in the battle, being wounded during the conquest. The looting of the city proved to be less profitable than expected for John I; he decided to keep the city to pursue further enterprises in the area.
From 1415 to 1437, Pedro de Meneses became the first governor of Ceuta.
The Benemerine sultan started the 1418 siege but was defeated by the first governor of Ceuta before reinforcements arrived in the form of John, Constable of Portugal and his brother Henry the Navigator who were sent with troops to defend Ceuta.
Under King John I's son, Duarte, the colony at Ceuta rapidly became a drain on the Portuguese treasury. Trans-Saharan trade journeyed instead to Tangier. It was soon realized that without the city of Tangier, possession of Ceuta was worthless. In 1437, Duarte's brothers Henry the Navigator and Fernando, the Saint Prince persuaded him to launch an attack on the Marinid sultanate. The resulting Battle of Tangier (1437), led by Henry, was a debacle. In the resulting treaty, Henry promised to deliver Ceuta back to the Marinids in return for allowing the Portuguese army to depart unmolested, which he reneged on.
Possession of Ceuta would indirectly lead to further Portuguese expansion. The main area of Portuguese expansion, at this time, was the coast of Magreb, where there was grain, cattle, sugar, and textiles, as well as fish, hides, wax, and honey.
In the 1540s the Portuguese began building the Royal Walls of Ceuta as they are today including bastions, a navigable moat and a drawbridge. Some of these bastions are still standing, like the bastions of Coraza Alta, Bandera and Mallorquines.
In 1578 King Sebastian of Portugal died at the Battle of Alcácer Quibir (known as the Battle of Three Kings) in what is today northern Morocco, without descendants, triggering the 1580 Portuguese succession crisis. His granduncle, the elderly Cardinal Henry, succeeded him as King, but Henry also had no descendants, having taken holy orders. When the cardinal-king died two years after Sebastian's disappearance, three grandchildren of King Manuel I of Portugal claimed the throne: Infanta Catarina, Duchess of Braganza, António, Prior of Crato, and Philip II of Spain (Uncle of former King Sebastian of Portugal), who would go on to be crowned King Philip I of Portugal in 1581, uniting the two crowns and overseas empires known as the Iberian Union, which allowed the two kingdoms to continue without being merged.
During the Iberian Union 1580 to 1640, Ceuta attracted many residents of Spanish origin. Ceuta became the only city of the Portuguese Empire that sided with Spain when Portugal regained its independence in the Portuguese Restoration War of 1640.
The city was attacked by Moroccan forces under Moulay Ismail during the Siege of Ceuta (1694-1727). During the longest siege in history, the city underwent changes leading to the loss of its Portuguese character. While most of the military operations took place around the Royal Walls of Ceuta, there were also small-scale penetrations by Spanish forces at various points on the Moroccan coast, and seizure of shipping in the Strait of Gibraltar.
In July 1936, General Francisco Franco took command of the Spanish Army of Africa and rebelled against the Spanish republican government; his military uprising led to the Spanish Civil War of 1936–1939. Franco transported troops to mainland Spain in an airlift using transport aircraft supplied by Germany and Italy. Ceuta became one of the first casualties of the uprising: General Franco's rebel nationalist forces seized Ceuta, while at the same time the city came under fire from the air and sea forces of the official republican government.
The Llano Amarillo monument was erected to honor Francisco Franco, it was inaugurated on 13 July 1940. The tall obelisk has since been abandoned, but the shield symbols of the Falange and Imperial Eagle remain visible.
When Spain recognized the independence of Spanish Morocco in 1956, Ceuta and the other plazas de soberanía remained under Spanish rule. Spain considered them integral parts of the Spanish state, but Morocco has disputed this point.
Culturally, modern Ceuta is part of the Spanish region of Andalusia. It was attached to the province of Cádiz until 1925, the Spanish coast being only 20 km (12.5 miles) away. It is a cosmopolitan city, with a large ethnic Arab Muslim minority as well as Sephardic Jewish and Hindu minorities.
On 5 November 2007, King Juan Carlos I visited the city, sparking great enthusiasm from the local population and protests from the Moroccan government. It was the first time a Spanish head of state had visited Ceuta in 80 years.
Since 2010, Ceuta (and Melilla) have declared the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, or Feast of the Sacrifice, an official public holiday. It is the first time a non-Christian religious festival has been officially celebrated in Spain since the Reconquista.
Ceuta is dominated by Monte Anyera, a hill along its western frontier with Morocco. The mountain is guarded by a military fort.
Monte Hacho on the Peninsula of Almina overlooking the port is one of the possible locations for the southern pillar of the Pillars of Hercules of Greek legend (the other possibility being Jebel Musa).
Ceuta has a maritime-influenced Subtropical/Mediterranean climate, similar to nearby Spanish and Moroccan cities such as Tarifa, Algeciras or Tangiers. The average diurnal temperature variation is relatively low; the average annual temperature is 18.8 °C (65.8 °F) with average yearly highs of 21.4 °C (70.5 °F) and lows of 15.7 °C (60.3 °F) though the Ceuta weather station has only been in operation since 2003. Ceuta has relatively mild winters for the latitude, while summers are warm yet milder than in the interior of Southern Spain, due to the moderating effect of the Straits of Gibraltar. Summers are very dry, but yearly precipitation is still at 849 mm (33.4 in), which could be considered a humid climate if the summers were not so arid.
|Climate data for Ceuta city (1m altitude)|
|Record high °C (°F)||21.7
|Average high °C (°F)||16.1
|Daily mean °C (°F)||13.6
|Average low °C (°F)||11.1
|Record low °C (°F)||1.3
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||122
|Average precipitation days||7||8||6||5||3||1||0||1||2||5||7||9||54|
|Average relative humidity (%)||72||75||68||71||66||67||61||70||72||75||73||73||70|
|Source: Weather.com, WorldWeatherOnline, and Agencia Estatal de Meteorología|
Ceuta is known officially in Spanish as Ciudad Autónoma de Ceuta (English: Autonomous City of Ceuta), with a rank between a standard Spanish city and an autonomous community. Ceuta is part of the territory of the European Union. The city was a free port before Spain joined the European Union in 1986. Now it has a low-tax system within the Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union. As of 2006, its population was 75,861.
Ceuta has held elections every four years since 1979, for its 25-seat assembly. The leader of its government was the Mayor until the Autonomy Statute had the title changed to the Mayor-President. As of 2011, the People's Party (PP) won 18 seats, keeping Juan Jesús Vivas as Mayor-President, which he has been since 2001. The remaining seats are held by the regionalist Caballas Coalition (4) and the Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE, 3).
Due to its small population, Ceuta elects only one member of the Congress of Deputies, the lower house of the Spanish legislature. As of 2011 election, this post is held by Francisco Márquez de la Rubia of the PP.
The government of Morocco has repeatedly called for Spain to transfer the sovereignty of Ceuta and Melilla, together with the rest of the Spanish plazas de soberanía on the North African coast, on the grounds of asserting its territorial integrity. Morocco has claimed the territories are colonies. One of the chief arguments used by Morocco to reclaim Ceuta comes from geography, as this enclave, which is surrounded by Morocco and the Mediterranean Sea, has no territorial continuity with the rest of Spanish territory. This argument was originally developed by one of the founders of the Moroccan Istiqlal Party, Alal-El Faasi, who openly advocated for the Moroccan reconquest of Ceuta and other territories under Spanish rule.
The official currency of Ceuta is the euro. It is part of a special low tax zone in Spain. Ceuta is one of two Spanish port cities on the northern shore of Africa, along with Melilla. They are historically military strongholds, free ports, oil ports, and also fishing ports. Today the economy of the city depends heavily on its port (now in expansion) and its industrial and retail centers. Ceuta Heliport is now used to connect the city to mainland Spain by air. Lidl, Decathlon Group and El Corte Inglés (hardware) have branches in Ceuta. There is also a casino. Border trade between Ceuta and Morocco is active because of advantage of tax-free status. Thousands of Moroccan women are involved in porter trade daily. Moroccan dirham is actually used in such trade, despite the fact that prices are marked in euro.
A single road border checkpoint to the south of Ceuta near Fnideq allows for cars and pedestrians to travel between Morocco and Ceuta. An additional border crossing for pedestrians also exists between Benzú and Belyounech on the northern coast. The rest of the border is closed and inaccessible.
There is a bus service throughout the city, and while it does not pass into neighboring Morocco, it services both frontier crossings.
Due to its location, Ceuta is home to a mixed ethnic and religious population. The two main religious groups are Christians and Muslims. As of 2006 approximately 50% of the population was Christian and approximately 48% Muslim. However, by 2012, the portion of Ceuta's population that identify as Roman Catholic was 68.0%, while the portion of Ceuta's population that identify as Muslim was 28.3%.
Christianity has been present in Ceuta continuously from late antiquity, as evidenced by the ruins of a basilica in downtown Ceuta and accounts of the martyrdom of St Daniel Fasanella and his Franciscans in 1227.
The town's Grand Mosque had been built over a Byzantine-era church. In 1415, the year of the city's conquest, the Portuguese converted the Grand Mosque into Ceuta Cathedral. The present form of the cathedral dates to refurbishments undertaken in the late 17th century, combining baroque and neoclassical elements. It was dedicated to St Mary of the Assumption in 1726.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Ceuta was established in 1417. It incorporated the suppressed Diocese of Tanger in 1570. The Diocese of Ceuta was a suffragan of Lisbon until 1675, when it became a suffragan of Seville. In 1851, Ceuta's administration was notionally merged into the Diocese of Cadiz and Ceuta as part of a concordat between Spain and the Holy See; the union was not actually accomplished, however, until 1879.
Primary and secondary education is possible only in Spanish however a growing number of schools are entering the Bilingual Education Program.
As in Melilla, Ceuta is attractive to migrants who try to use it as an entry to Europe. As a result the enclave is surrounded by double fences that are 6 m (20 ft) high and hundreds of migrants congregate near the fences waiting for a chance to cross them. The fences are regularly stormed by migrants trying to claim asylum once they enter Ceuta.
Ceuta is twinned with:
Asociación Deportiva Ceuta was a Spanish football team based in the autonomous city of Ceuta. Founded in 1996, its last ever season was 2011–12 in Segunda División B, holding home matches at Estadio Alfonso Murube, with a capacity of 6,500.AD Ceuta FC
Agrupación Deportiva Ceuta Fútbol Club is a football team based in the autonomous city of Ceuta. Founded in 1956, it plays in Tercera División – Group 10, holding home matches at Estadio Alfonso Murube.Ceuta Cathedral
The Cathedral of St Mary of the Assumption (Spanish: Catedral de Santa María de la Asunción) is a Roman Catholic church located in the Spanish city of Ceuta, in a small exclave on the northwest coast of Africa.On a primitive Eastern Roman Christian church, which some researchers have identified with the one built in the 6th-century by Emperor Justinian I, the old Great Mosque of Ceuta was built, an architectural work of enormous wealth according to the preserved descriptions, which underwent several enlargements and of which hardly anything is preserved.
After the Portuguese conquest of 1415 this mosque was transformed into a Christian temple with the adaptations that were necessary and of which we barely have news. The passage of time and the damages suffered by the warlike incidents caused the ruin of the building and the need to build a new temple designed at the end of the 17th-century by the architect Juan de Ochoa. Its construction began in 1686 but was not consecrated until 1726 to the Assumption of Our Lady, due largely to the difficulties suffered as a result of the great siege to which Ceuta was subjected in those years.
Attached to the cathedral, there is a building with auxiliary departments that house the Vicariate, Secretariat, Diocesan Archive, Library and Cathedral Museum and other diocesan dependencies, in addition to the bishop's residence, around a small triangular courtyard.
It emphasize the Chapel del Santísimo with a Baroque altarpiece and the frescoes of Miguel Bernardini, besides three large canvases and the image of the Virgen Capitana of Portuguese origin (15th-century).Ceuta Heliport
Ceuta Heliport (Spanish: Helipuerto de Ceuta) (ICAO: GECE) is the heliport, and only air transport facility, serving the Spanish autonomous city of Ceuta, in North Africa.Ceuta border fence
The Ceuta border fence forms part of the Morocco–Spain border at Ceuta, a city on the North African coast. Constructed by Spain, its purpose is to prevent smuggling and to stop migrants from entering Europe. Morocco objected to the construction of the barrier since it does not recognize Spanish sovereignty in Ceuta.
Ceuta is an integral part of Spain, and therefore of the European Union; its border and its equivalent in Melilla are the only two land borders between the European Union and an African country.The fence consists of parallel 6 metre (20-foot) fences topped with barbed wire, with regular watchposts and a road running between them to accommodate police patrols or ambulance service in case of need. Underground cables connect spotlights, noise and movement sensors, and video cameras to a central control booth; dozens of guard ships and patrol boats check the coast, while 621 Guardia Civil officers and 548 police officers control the shore.Coat of arms of Ceuta
Though a city of Spain, the coat of arms of Ceuta is nearly identical to the coat of arms of Portugal, since that city was conquered by King John I of Portugal on 21 August 1415. The city chose to join Spain when Portugal again became independent at the end of the Iberian Union, a period in which all the Iberian crowns were held by the same royal house, in 1640.
There are two principal differences between the coat of arms of Portugal and the coat of arms of Ceuta. The coat of arms of Portugal has a third castle along the chief, which is part of the red border, while in the coat of arms of Ceuta that castle has been moved to the point of the shield. This difference can be explained by the higher status of Lisbon and other cities closer to the king as compared to Ceuta. The other difference is the crown. Though today there is no crown on Portugal's coat of arms, traditionally the crown on the coat of arms has been that of a king, while Ceuta's is that of a marquis, owed to the fact that the title of marquis had been used for governors of marches, or a country's frontier regions.Conquest of Ceuta
The conquest of Ceuta (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈθeuta]) by the Portuguese on 21 August 1415 marks an important step in the beginning of the Portuguese Empire in Africa.Divisiones Regionales de Fútbol in Ceuta and Melilla
The Divisiones Regionales de Fútbol in Ceuta and Melilla:
Preferente de Ceuta, 1 Group (Level 5)
Primera Autonómica de Melilla, 1 Group (Level 5)Flag of Ceuta
The flag of Ceuta is a black and white gyronny with a central escutcheon displaying the municipal coat of arms. (The civil flag omits the escutcheon.)
The gyronny is identical to that of the flag of Lisbon, to commemorate the conquest of the city by the Portuguese in 1415. The city was a part of the Portuguese Empire until 1640, after which it decided to remain with Spain. Thus the coat of arms of the city is almost the same as that of the Kingdom of Portugal, showing the seven castles and the five escutcheons with silver roundels.Geography of Spain
Spain is a country located in southwestern Europe occupying most (about 85 percent) of the Iberian Peninsula and includes a small exclave inside France called Llívia as well as the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean 108 km (67 mi) off northwest Africa, and five places of sovereignty (plazas de soberanía) on and off the coast of North Africa: Ceuta, Melilla, Islas Chafarinas, Peñón de Alhucemas, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera.
The Spanish mainland is bordered to the south and east almost entirely by the Mediterranean Sea (except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar); to the north by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west by the Atlantic Ocean and Portugal. With an area of 504,030 km2, Spain is the largest country in Southern Europe, the second largest country in Western Europe (behind France) and the fourth largest country in the European continent (behind Russia, Ukraine and France). It has an average altitude of 650 m.
Its total area is 504,782 km2 (194,897 sq mi) of which 499,542 km2 (192,874 sq mi) is land and 5,240 km2 (2,023 sq mi) is water. Spain lies between latitudes 36° and 44° N, and longitudes 19° W and 5° E. Its Atlantic coast is 710 km (441 mi) long. The Pyrenees mountain range, extends 435 km (270 mi) from the Mediterranean to the Bay of Biscay. In the extreme south of Spain lie the Straits of Gibraltar, which separate the Iberian peninsula and the rest of Europe from Ceuta and Morocco in North Africa; at its nList of airports in Spain
This is a list of airports in Spain, sorted by location.List of postal codes in Spain
Postal codes were introduced and standardized in Spain in 1985, when Correos (the national postal service of Spain) introduced automated mail sorting. The first two digits (ranging 01–52) of the postal code correspond to one of the fifty provinces of Spain (as listed in general alphabetical order, with some exceptions), plus the two autonomous cities on the African coast.Melilla
Melilla ( mə-LEE-yə; Spanish: [meˈliʎa]) is a Spanish autonomous city located on the north coast of Africa, sharing a border with Morocco, with an area of 12.3 km2 (4.7 sq mi). Melilla is one of two permanently inhabited Spanish cities in mainland Africa, the other being Ceuta. It was part of the Province of Málaga until 14 March 1995, when the city's Statute of Autonomy was passed.
Melilla, like Ceuta, was a free port before Spain joined the European Union. In 2011 it had a population of 78,476, made up of Catholics of Iberian origin (primarily from Andalusia and Catalonia), ethnic Riffian Berbers and a small number of Sephardic Jews and Sindhi Hindus. Spanish and Riffian-Berber are the two most widely spoken languages, with Spanish as the only official language.
Melilla, like Ceuta, is officially claimed by Morocco.Pillars of Hercules
The Pillars of Hercules (Latin: Columnae Herculis, Greek: Ἡράκλειαι Στῆλαι, Arabic: أعمدة هرقل / Aʿmidat Hiraql, Spanish: Columnas de Hércules) was the phrase that was applied in Antiquity to the promontories that flank the entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar. The northern Pillar, Calpe Mons, is the Rock of Gibraltar. A corresponding North African peak not being predominant, the identity of the southern Pillar, Abila Mons, has been disputed throughout history, with the two most likely candidates being Monte Hacho in Ceuta and Jebel Musa in Morocco.Plazas de soberanía
The plazas de soberanía (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈplaθaz ðe soβeɾaˈni.a], literally "places of sovereignty") are the Spanish sovereign territories in North Africa. These are separate pieces of land scattered along the Mediterranean coast bordering Morocco. The name refers to the fact that these territories have been a part of Spain since the formation of the modern country (1492–1556), and are distinguished from African territories obtained by Spain during the 19th and 20th century.
Historically, a distinction was made between the so-called "major sovereign territories", comprising the cities of Ceuta and Melilla, and the "minor sovereign territories", referring to a number of smaller exclaves and islands along the coast. In the present, the term refers mainly to the latter.Radio Televisión Ceuta
Radio Televisión Ceuta is a Spanish television channel, launched in 2000. It was founded and started to broadcast in 2000. RTVCE currently broadcasts in Spanish.Roman Catholic Diocese of Cádiz y Ceuta
The Roman Catholic diocese of Cádiz y Ceuta is a diocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church in Spain. The diocese is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Seville.Its jurisdiction covers nearly all the civil province of Cádiz; only a few places, like Sanlucar, belong to the diocese of Seville, or, like Grazalema, to the diocese of Malaga. Cádiz (369,382) is the residence of the bishop.Siege of Ceuta (1419)
The Siege of Ceuta of 1419 (sometimes reported as 1418) was fought between the besieging forces of the Marinid Sultanate of Morocco, led by Sultan Abu Said Uthman III, including allied forces from the Emirate of Granada, and the Portuguese garrison of Ceuta, led by Pedro de Menezes, 1st Count of Vila Real. After the loss of the city in a surprise attack in 1415 known as the Conquest of Ceuta, the Sultan gathered an army four years later and besieged the city. The Portuguese gathered a fleet under the command of princes Henry the Navigator and John of Reguengos to relieve Ceuta. According to the chroniclers, the relief fleet turned out to be quite unnecessary. In a bold gambit, D. Pedro de Menezes led the Portuguese garrison in a sally against the Marinid siege camp and forced the lifting of the siege before the relief fleet even arrived.Blamed for losing Ceuta, the Marinid sultan was assassinated in a coup in Fez in 1420, leaving only a child as his heir. Morocco descended into anarchic chaos, as rival pretenders vied for the throne and local governors carved out regional fiefs for themselves, selling their support to the highest bidder. The political crisis in Morocco released the pressure on Ceuta for the next few years.Sieges of Ceuta (1694–1727)
The Sieges of Ceuta (also known as the Thirty-year Siege) were a series of blockades by Moroccan forces of the Spanish-held city of Ceuta on the North African coast. The first siege began on 23 October 1694 and finished in 1720 when reinforcements arrived. During the 26 years of the siege, the city underwent changes leading to the loss of its Portuguese character. While most of the military operations took place around the city walls (Muralles Reales), there were also small-scale penetrations by Spanish forces at various points on the Moroccan coast, and seizure of shipping in the Strait of Gibraltar. The city was placed under a second siege in 1721 until 22 April 1727.