Spanish North African Territory

Ceuta is a Spanish exclave in North Africa, surrounded by Morocco, on the Mediterranean coast near the Straits of Gibraltar. It is known in Arabic and French as Sebta. Its area is approximately 28 km2. Ceuta over the centuries was subject successively to Carthaginian, Roman, Visigothic and Arab domination, until it was captured by the Portuguese on August 14, 1415.

Portugal yielded Ceuta to Spain on January 1, 1668, at the signing of a peace treaty at Lisbon between D. Afonso VI of Portugal and Carlos II of Spain, by mediation of Charles II of England. Ceuta is known officially in Spanish as Ciudad Autónoma de Ceuta, the Autonomous City of Ceuta, having a rank between a standard Spanish city and an autonomous community. Before the Statute of Autonomy, Ceuta was administratively part of the Cádiz province.

It does not form part of the customs territory of the European Union. The city is a free port. As of 1994 its population was 71,926. The government of Morocco has calls for the integration of Ceuta and Melilla, into its national territory, drawing comparisons with Spain’s territorial claim to Gibraltar, but the Spanish government rejects these.