These two towns in Africa are still under Spanish rule after series of battles

Farida Dawkins June 01, 2018
Ceuta and Melilla

Though all of the countries in Africa are no longer colonized, there are still African territories that are under European control. The following towns are located on the north coast of Africa, sharing a border with Spain.

These two towns in Africa are still under Spanish rule after series of battles

Melilla la Vieja Calas…TripAdvisor


Melilla is a Berber name which translates to the “white one.”  Prior, it was a primeval Berber village named Rusadir. It later came under Roman rule and was named Mauretania Tingitana.  Melilla went on to be ruled by the Byzantine, Vandal and Hispano-Visigothic Empires.

In 1497, Melilla was conquered by the order of the Duke of Medina Sidonia.  The town was overtaken from 1694–1696 and again in 1774-1775.

Treaties between Moroccan and Spanish forces that occurred in 1859, 1860, 1861 and 1894 established Spanish zones.

1893 marked the First Melillan campaign which was fought by the Spanish and 39 Rif tribes of northern Morocco.

In 1911 disputes between the aforementioned groups reignited. In 1921, the Battle of Annual ensued; the Spanish suffered a great defeat.

In 1926, Spanish officials regained control of Melilla.  The Spanish have reigned over Melilla ever since.

Morocco has protested this stating that colonial rule over Melilla is prehistoric and unneeded.

Melilla includes Muslim, Jewish and Hindu populations.

These two towns in Africa are still under Spanish rule after series of battles



Referred to as Sebta in Berber and Sabtah in Arabic, Ceuta is another Spanish territory in Morocco.  It is separated by 8.7 miles from the Cadiz province and also shares a border with M’diq-Fnideq Prefecture in Morocco.

In the 5th century, Ceuta was named Abyla.  It was an important bedrock of military activities and trade.

Ceuta was overtaken by the Byzantine and Visigoth Empires.  The Umayyads tried unsuccessfully to conquer the town. The King of Ghomara encouraged the Muslims to take control of the Iberian Peninsula.  The king prompted to do so after his daughter was raped by King Roderic.

After King Ghomara’s death, the Berbers seized control of Ceuta.

The city was destroyed by the Muslims during the Kharijite uprising, led by Maysara al-Matghari in 740.

In the 9th century, the Mâjakas – a Berber Muslim tribe, formulated the brief existence of the Banu Isam Dynasty.  Their rule ended in 931. Ceuta laid under the direction of the Moorish Andalusian – another tribe of Berber Muslims from 927 to 1031.

From 1031 until 1387, Ceuta was ruled by numerous empires to include the Almohads and Tunisian Hafsids until finally being overtaken by the Kingdom of Fez.

On August 22, 1415, Portuguese forces led by King John I of Portugal conquered Ceuta.  From 1415 to 1437, the 1st Count of Vila Real, Pedro de Meneses held the post of the first governor of Ceuta.

1418’s Siege of Ceuta initiated by the Benemerine Sultan, was quickly terminated by John, Constable of Portugal and Henry the Navigator.

Ceuta proved to be an unprofitable venture for the Portuguese. The Battle of Tangier ensued to boost the appeal of the town. A failure, it surprisingly led to the Portuguese gaining the coast of Magreb – a town with grain, textiles, sugar, cattle, fish, honey and hides.

The Treaty of Alcáçovas and the Treaty of Tordesilhas solidified Portugal’s rule of Ceuta.

January 1, 1668, was the day that the Treaty of Lisbon gave power to King Carlos II of Spain to reign over Ceuta.

The Siege of Ceuta, occurring from 1694-1727 resulted in a diminished influence of the Portuguese over Ceuta. There were small remnants of Spanish impact, however. The Hispano-Moroccan War of 1859-60 and the Battle of Tetuán erupted when an agreement couldn’t be devised about the border of Ceuta.

In July 1936, General Francisco Franco, the commander of the Spanish Army of Africa led a revolt against the Spanish Republican government. In turn, Ceuta was overtaken by Franco while being attacked by the Republican forces.

Ceuta was attached to Cadiz until 1925.  It is considered to be a portion of Andalusia. Despite these facts, Ceuta is the center of multi-culturalism, now inhabited by Sephardic Jews, Hindus and Arab Muslims.

A road border allows for easy travel from Morocco and Ceuta.

Last Edited by:Ismail Akwei Updated: June 1, 2018


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