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(588 words)

Author(s): Rica Amran
Ceuta is an autonomous city of Spain situated on the North-African side of the Strait of Gibraltar about 61 kilometers (38 miles) northwest of Tetouan. Its population of 75,861 includes Christians, Muslims, and Jews.The name of the town goes back to Roman times, when it was called Septem (Septem Fratres; Lat. the seven neighboring hills [lit. brothers]). It already had been occupied by Carthaginians and then Greeks, and it was Byzantine at the time of the Muslim conquest. The Arabs called the town Sabta. An important port, it w…


(759 words)

Author(s): Rica Amran | Sasha Goldstein-Sabbah
Melilla (Mod. Ar. Mlīlya; Berb. Tamlilt, the white one; Med. Ar. Malīla) is a port city on the northwestern coast of Africa, today under Spanish sovereignty, but claimed by Morocco. It was probably founded by the Phoenicians under the name of Rusadir, alluding to a nearby cape. In the centuries that followed it was under Punic, Roman, and Visigothic rule and finally was incorporated into the Idrisid kingdom of Fez. It came under Fatimid suzerainty in the early tenth century, but in 930 it was taken by the Umayyad caliph of al-Andalus,ʿAbd al-Raḥmān III, who fortified it and put it und…