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Autonomous City of Ceuta
Ciudad Autónoma de Ceuta
—  Autonomous City  —
Flag of Ceuta
Flag
Coat-of-arms of Ceuta
Coat of arms
Map of Ceuta
Coordinates: 35°53′N 5°19′W / 35.883°N 5.317°W / 35.883; -5.317Coordinates: 35°53′N 5°19′W / 35.883°N 5.317°W / 35.883; -5.317
Capital Ceuta
Government
 - President Juan Jesús Vivas Lara (PP)
Area (0.0056 of Spain; Ranked)
 - Total 19.5 km2 (7.5 sq mi)
Population (2006)
 - Total 78,320
 - Density 4,016.4/km2 (10,402.5/sq mi)
ISO 3166-2 ES-CE
Parliament Cortes Generales
Congress seats 1
Senate seats 2
Website Ciudad Autónoma de Ceuta

Ceuta is an autonomous city of Spain located on the North African side of the Strait of Gibraltar, on the Mediterranean, which separates it from the Spanish mainland. The area of Ceuta is approximately 19 square kilometres (7.3 sq mi).

Ceuta is dominated by a hill called Monte Hacho, on which there is a fort used by the Spanish army. Monte Hacho is one of the possible locations for the southern of the Pillars of Hercules of Greek legend, the other possibility being Jebel Musa.

The city, together with the other autonomous city of Melilla and a number of Mediterranean islands, is claimed by Morocco.

Contents

History

Moat of the Royal Wall of Ceuta.
A beach in Ceuta

Ceuta's strategic location has made it the crucial waypoint of the trade and military ventures of many cultures — beginning with the Carthaginians in the 5th century BC, who called the city Abyla. It was not until the Romans took control in about A.D. 42 that the port city (then named Septem) assumed an almost exclusive military purpose. Approximately 400 years later, the Vandals ousted the Romans from control. Later it would fall to the Visigoths of Hispania and the Byzantines.[1]

In 710, as Muslim armies approached the city, its governor Julian, count of Ceuta, (also described as "king of the Ghomara") changed sides and urged them to invade the Iberian Peninsula. Under the leadership of Berber general Tariq ibn Ziyad, Ceuta was used as a prime staging ground for an assault on Visigothic Hispania soon after.

After Julian's death the Arabs took direct control of the city; this was resented by the surrounding indigenous Berber tribes, who destroyed it in a Kharijite rebellion led by Maysara al-Haqir in 740. It lay in waste until refounded in the 9th century by Majakas, chief of the Majkasa Berber tribe, who started the short-lived dynasty of the Banu Isam. Under his great-grandson they briefly paid allegiance to the Idrisids. The dynasty finally ended when he abdicated in favour of the Umayyad Caliph of Cordoba Abd ar-Rahman III in 931, so the city returned to the Hispanic Andalusian rule like Melilla in 927 and Tanger in 951.

Chaos ensued with the fall of the Umayyad caliphate in 1031, but eventually Ceuta, together with the rest of Muslim Spain, was taken over by the Almoravids in 1084. The Almoravids were succeeded by the Almohads who conquered Ceuta in 1147 ruling it, apart from Ibn Hud's rebellion of 1232, until the Hafsids of Tunisia took it in 1242. The Hafsids' influence in the west rapidly waned, and the city expelled them in 1249. After this, it went through a period of political instability during which the city was disputed between the Kingdom of Fez and the Kingdom of Granada. In 1387, Ceuta was conquered for the last time by the Kingdom of Fez, with Aragonese help.

The City of Ceuta

In 1415, during the Battle of Ceuta, the city was captured by the Portuguese during the reign of John I of Portugal. After the King of Spain seized the Portuguese throne in 1580, the majority of the population of Ceuta became of Spanish origin. Thus Ceuta became the only city of the Portuguese Empire that sided with Spain when Portugal regained its independence in 1640 and war broke out between the two countries.

The formal allegiance of Ceuta to Spain was recognized by the Treaty of Lisbon by which, on January 1, 1668, King Afonso VI of Portugal formally ceded Ceuta to Carlos II of Spain. However, the originally Portuguese flag and coat of arms of Ceuta remained unchanged and the modern-day Ceuta flag features the configuration of the Portuguese shield. The flag's background is also the same as that of the flag of Lisbon.

When Spain recognized the independence of Spanish Morocco in 1956, Ceuta and the other plazas de soberanía remained under Spanish rule as they were considered integral parts of the Spanish state. Culturally, modern Ceuta is considered part of the Spanish region of Andalusia. Indeed, it was attached to the province of Cádiz until 1925 — the Spanish coast being only 20 km away. It is a cosmopolitan city, with a large ethnic Berber Muslim minority as well as Sephardic Jewish and Hindu[2] minorities.

On November 5, 2007, King Juan Carlos I visited the city, sparking great enthusiasm from the local population and protests from the Moroccan government.[3] It was the first time a Spanish head of state had visited Ceuta in 80 years.

Administration

Map of Ceuta (Perejil islet is just off the coast, to the left of the image)

Ceuta is known officially in Spanish as Ciudad Autónoma de Ceuta (lit., 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 European Monetary System. As of 2006, its population was 75,861.

Ceuta does not have an airport. There is, however, a regular helicopter service from Ceuta Heliport linking it to Málaga Airport. All other access to and from Ceuta is by ferry or land.

Political status

A sign welcoming visitors to Ceuta, showing the flags of Ceuta, Spain and the European Union.

Since 1995, Ceuta is, along with Melilla, one of the two autonomous cities of Spain.[4]

The government of Morocco has repeatedly called for Spain to transfer the sovereignty of Ceuta and Melilla, along with uninhabited islets such as the islands of Alhuceima, Velez and the Perejil islet Isla Perejil, drawing comparisons with Spain's territorial claim to Gibraltar. In both cases, the national governments and local populations of the disputed territories reject these claims by a large majority. The Spanish position states that both Ceuta and Melilla are integral parts of the Spanish state, and have been since the 15th century, centuries before than Morocco's independence from Spain in 1956, whereas Gibraltar, being a British Overseas Territory, is not and never has been part of the United Kingdom.[5] Morocco denies these claims and maintains that the Spanish presence in Ceuta and the other presidios on its coast is a remnant of the colonial past which should be ended. However, the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories do not consider those Spanish territories to be colonies, whereas it does declare Gibraltar as a non-decolonized territory.

Ceuta is subdivided into 63 barriadas (neighborhoods), such as Barriada de Berizu, Barriada de P. Alfonso, Barriada del Sarchal, and El Hacho.[6][7][8]

Climate

Weather data for Ceuta
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 14
(57)
15
(59)
16
(61)
17
(63)
19
(66)
22
(72)
25
(77)
25
(77)
23
(73)
20
(68)
17
(63)
15
(59)
19
(66)
Daily mean °C (°F) 13
(55)
13
(55)
15
(59)
15
(59)
17
(63)
21
(70)
23
(73)
23
(73)
22
(72)
19
(66)
16
(61)
14
(57)
18
(64)
Average low °C (°F) 12
(54)
12
(54)
13
(55)
13
(55)
16
(61)
18
(64)
21
(70)
21
(70)
20
(68)
17
(63)
15
(59)
13
(55)
16
(61)
Avg. precipitation days 7 7 4 5 3 1 0 0 1 6 7 8 49
Source: Weatherbase[9]

Ecclesiastical history

The Catholic Diocese of Ceuta existed from 1417 to 1879. It was a suffragan of the Patriarchate of Lisbon until 1675, with the end of the Iberian Union, when Ceuta choose to remain linked to the king of Spain. Since then it was a suffragan of the archbishopric of Seville.[10] The Diocese of Tanger was suppressed and incorporated to that of Ceuta in 1570.[11]

In 1851, upon the signature of the concordat between the Holy See and Spain, the diocese of Ceuta was agreed to be suppressed, being combined into the diocese of Cádiz y Ceuta[12] (up to then diocese of Cádiz y Algeciras), whose bishop usually was the apostolic administrator of Ceuta. The agreement, however, was not implemented until 1879. However, the agreement was not implemented until 1879.

Economy

Ceuta City
Location of Ceuta, showing the distance to Spain and Gibraltar.

The official currency of Ceuta is the euro. It is part of a special low tax zone in Spain.[13]

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 and smuggling centers.[14] Today the economy of the city depends heavily on its port (now in expansion) and its industrial and retail centres.[15] Ceuta Heliport is now used to connect the city to mainland Spain by air.

Along with Melilla, Ceuta is the main link to and from the plazas de soberanía, especially the Islas Chafarinas, occupied by Spain during the 19th century.

Transport

The city receives high numbers of ferries each day, most from Spain. Occasionally, cruise ships stop by. Most all dock within a easy walk of downtown shops and restaurants.

Ceuta is a tiny city and the best way to travel may be by bicycle or on foot. There are taxis available. There is a bus service with modern and spacious buses running around the city with stops at the border with Morocco [16].

International relations

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Twin towns — Sister cities

Ceuta is twinned with:

Churches

  • Parroquia De Santa Maria De Los Remedios
  • Comunidad Israelita De Ceuta
  • Parroquia De San Francisco
  • Santa Iglesia Catedral
  • Parroquia Santa Maria De Africa — Casa Parroquial
  • Vicaria General Del Obispado De Ceuta
  • Parroquia Santa Teresa De Jesus De Ceuta

Schools

  • Centro de Educación Infantil y Primaria Andrés Manjón
  • Centro de Educación Infantil y Primaria Lope De Vega
  • Centro de Educación Infantil Globitos
  • Instituto de Educación Secundaria Puertas del Campo
  • Colegio Sta. María Micaela
  • Instituto de Educación Secundaria Almina
  • Centro de Educación Infantil y Primaria Maestro José Acosta
  • Colegio Severo Ochoa
  • Centro de Educación Infantil y Primaria Santiago Ramón y Cajal

See also

References

  1. ^ See Hispania#Byzantine reconquest.
  2. ^ "Resistir en el monte del Renegado · ELPAÍS.com". Elpais.com. 2009-03-22. http://www.elpais.com/articulo/espana/Resistir/monte/Renegado/elpepuesp/20090322elpepinac_9/Tes. Retrieved 2009-06-17.  
  3. ^ "Ceuta y Melilla son España, dice Juan Carlos I; Sebta y Melilia son nuestras, responde Mohamed VI". Blogs.periodistadigital.com. 1999-02-22. http://blogs.periodistadigital.com/infordeus.php/2007/11/06/p125486. Retrieved 2009-06-17.  
  4. ^ "Ley Orgánica 1/1995, de 13 de marzo, Estatuto de Autonomía de Ceuta". Noticias.juridicas.com. http://noticias.juridicas.com/base_datos/Admin/lo1-1995.html. Retrieved 2009-06-17.  
  5. ^ "A rocky relationship | World news | guardian.co.uk". Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/jun/12/worlddispatch.gibraltar. Retrieved 2009-06-17.  
  6. ^ "elpueblodeceuta.es". elpueblodeceuta.es. http://www.elpueblodeceuta.es/200708/20070819/200708195101.html. Retrieved 2009-06-17.  
  7. ^ http://www.planetware.com/i/map/MAR/ceuta-map.jpg
  8. ^ "Códigos postales de Ceuta en Ceuta". Codigo-postal.info. http://codigo-postal.info/ceuta/ceuta?page=7. Retrieved 2009-06-17.  
  9. ^ "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Ceuta". http://www.weatherbase.com/weather/weatherall.php3?s=2306&refer=&units=metric.  
  10. ^ Catholic Hierarchy page
  11. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia: Tingis
  12. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia: Cadiz
  13. ^ "Economic Data of Ceuta, de ceutna digital". Ceuta.es. http://www.ceuta.es/servlet/ContentServer?idioma=es_es&mD=true&pagename=CeutaTur%2FInformacionViajero%2FInformacionViajeroDetalle&cid=1113994915129&mC=true&idP=1111055969345&idA=1113994915129. Retrieved 2009-06-17.  
  14. ^ "pp. 6–7, IBRU, Boundary and Territory Briefing. Ceuta and the Spanish Sovereign Territories: Spanish and Moroccan". Books.google.com. http://books.google.com/books?id=xuBgaSzsYVgC&printsec=frontcover&dq=ceuta+economy&source=gbs_summary_r&cad=0#PPA7,M1. Retrieved 2009-06-17.  
  15. ^ "Economic Data of Ceunta, de ceutna digital". Ceuta.es. http://www.ceuta.es/servlet/ContentServer?idioma=es_es&mD=true&pagename=CeutaTur%2FInformacionViajero%2FInformacionViajeroDetalle&cid=1113994915129&mC=true&idP=1111055969345&idA=1113994915129. Retrieved 2009-06-17.  
  16. ^ http://wikitravel.org/en/Ceuta#Get_around

External links


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