CEUTA Sebta (Arabic).
An enclave of Spain on the Moroccan coast; Cape Ceuta is the Pillar of Hercules opposite Gibraltar.
The town belonged to the Vandal Kingdom, which was destroyed by Byzantium in 533. Around the year 544 it was taken by the Byzantines from the Visigoths, who had either been allied with the fallen Vandals or had seized their opportunity as the Vandal Kingdom fell. The Visigoths reacquired it in the later 7th century. Its legendary governor, Julian, is the alleged fomenter of the Arab and Berber invasion of Spain in 711. Whatever truth lies behind the story, Ceuta became part of the Muslim Empire.
It was seized by Abd al-Rahman III, the Umayyad Caliph in Spain, in 931. The governor of Ceuta in 1016, Ali ibn Hammud, overthrew the Caliph Sulayman and was the first of three Hammadud Caliphs who briefly reigned in Spain as the Umayyad Caliphate disintegrated. Ceuta reverted to Moroccan rule.
Ceuta was seized by the Portuguese in 1415, but when Portugal recovered its independence from Spain in 1640, having been a realm of the Spanish King since 1580, Ceuta remained with Spain, a fact acknowledged by Portugal in a treaty of 1688. Ironically, not long after securing recognition of its acquisition of the African Pillar of Hercules, Spain lost the European one, Gibraltar, to Britain.
The small enclave has been governed from the province of Cadiz. The Constitution of 1978 recognised Ceuta and Melilla (further along the Mediterranean coast of Morocco) as fully part of the Spanish state, rather than as colonies. Morocco claims both. In 1994 both enclaves were given a degree of autonomy, with their own legislative councils, but neither are autonomous communities.