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Melilla ( , ; ; ber, Mrich / Mlilt; ar, مليلية ) is an autonomous city of
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
located on the northwest coast of Africa, sharing a border with
Morocco ) , image_map = Morocco (orthographic projection, WS claimed).svg , map_caption = Location of Morocco in northwest Africa.Dark green: Undisputed territory of Morocco.Lighter green: Western Sahara, a United Nations lis ...

Morocco
. It has an area of . One of two Spanish autonomous cities in mainland Africa together with
Ceuta Ceuta (, , ; ber, Sebta, script=Latn; ar, سَبْتَة, Sabtah) is a on the north coast of . Bordered by , it lies along the boundary between the and the . It is one of the several Spanish territories in Africa and, along with and the ...

Ceuta
, it was part of the
Province of Málaga , population_note = , blank_name_sec2 = Parliament , blank_info_sec2 = Cortes Generales The Cortes Generales (; en, Spanish Parliament, lit=General Courts) are the bicameral legislative chambers of Spain , * ...
until 14 March 1995, when the Statute of Autonomy of Melilla was passed. Melilla is one of the
special territories
special territories
of the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
(EU). Movements to and from the rest of the EU and Melilla are subject to specific rules, provided for ''inter alia'' in the Accession Agreement of Spain to the Schengen Convention. As of 2019, Melilla had a population of 86,487. The population is chiefly divided between people of Iberian and
Riffian
Riffian
extraction. There is also a small number of
Sephardic Jews Sephardi Jews, also known as Sephardic Jews, ''Sephardim'',, Modern Hebrew: ''Sefaraddim'', Tiberian Hebrew, Tiberian: Səp̄āraddîm, also , ''Ye'hude Sepharad'', lit. "The Jews of Spain", es, Judíos sefardíes (or ), pt, Judeus sefarditas ...
and
Sindhi Hindus Sindhi Hindus are Sindhis Sindhis ( sd, سنڌي (Arabic script, Perso-Arabic), सिन्धी (Devanagari), (Khudabadi script, Khudabadi)) are an Indo-Aryan peoples, Indo-Aryan ethno-linguistic group, ethnic group who speak the Sindh ...
. Regarding sociolinguistics, Melilla features a
diglossia In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis includ ...
between the official Spanish (strong language) and
Tamazight The Berber languages, also known as the Amazigh languages (Berber name: , ; Neo-Tifinagh: ⵜⴰⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵜ, Tuareg Tifinagh: ⵜⵎⵣⵗⵜ, , ), are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. They comprise a group of closely related l ...

Tamazight
(weak language). Melilla, like Ceuta and Spain's other territories in Africa, is subject to an
irredentist claim by Morocco
irredentist claim by Morocco
.


Name

The original name (currently rendered as ''
Rusadir Rusadir was an classical antiquity, ancient Punics, Punic and Ancient Romans, Roman town at what is now Melilla, Spain, in northwest Africa. Under the Roman Empire, it was a Roman colonia, colony in the Roman province, province of Mauretania Tingita ...
'') was a
Phoenician Phoenician may refer to: * Phoenicia, an ancient civilization * Phoenician alphabet * Phoenician language * List of Phoenician cities * Phoenix, Arizona See also

* Phoenix (mythology) * Phoenicia (disambiguation) {{disambiguation Language an ...
name, coming from the name given to the nearby
Cape Three Forks 250px, Location in Morocco. Cape Three Forks or Cape Tres Forcas is a headland on the Mediterranean coast of northeastern Morocco. Geography The cape is a large mountainous promontory of North Africa into the Mediterranean Sea. For centuries, this ...
. ''Addir'' meant "powerful". The name creation is similar to that of other names given in Antiquity to outlets along the north-African coast, including ''Rusguniae'', ''Rusubbicari'', ''Rusuccuru'', ''Rusippisir'', ''Rusigan'' (Rachgoun), ''Rusicade'', ''Ruspina'', ''Ruspe'' or ''Rsmlqr''. Meanwhile, the etymology of the current city name (dating back to the 9th century, rendered as ''Melilla'' in Spanish) is uncertain. An active
apicultural
apicultural
location in the past, the name has been related to
honey Honey is a sweet, viscous food substance made by honey bees Honey is a sweet, viscous food substance made by honey bees and some other Bee, bees. Bees produce honey from the sugary secretions of plants (floral nectar) or from secretion ...

honey
; this is tentatively backed up by two ancient coins featuring a bee as well as the inscriptions and . Others relate the name to "discord" or "fever" or also to an ancient Arab personality. The current Riffian name of Melilla is ''Mřič'' or ''Mlilt'', which means the "white one".


History


Pre-modern history

It was a
Phoenicia Phoenicia () was an ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsWordNet Search – 3 ...
n and later
Punic The Punic people or Western Phoenicians, were a group of Semitic people, Semitic peoples in the Western Mediterranean who traced their origins to the Phoenicians of the coasts of Western Asia. In modern scholarship, the term 'Punic' – the Lati ...
trade establishment under the name of
Rusadir Rusadir was an classical antiquity, ancient Punics, Punic and Ancient Romans, Roman town at what is now Melilla, Spain, in northwest Africa. Under the Roman Empire, it was a Roman colonia, colony in the Roman province, province of Mauretania Tingita ...
(''Rusaddir'' for the
Romans Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, ...
and ''Russadeiron'' ( grc, Ῥυσσάδειρον) for the Greeks). Later Rome absorbed it as part of the Roman province of
Mauretania Tingitana Mauretania Tingitana (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Rep ...
. Rusaddir is mentioned by
Ptolemy Claudius Ptolemy (; grc-koi, Κλαύδιος Πτολεμαῖος, , ; la, Claudius Ptolemaeus; AD) was a mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes ...
(IV, 1) and
Pliny Pliny may refer to: People from antiquity * Pliny the Elder (AD 23–79), ancient Roman nobleman, scientist, historian, and author of ''Naturalis Historia'' (''Pliny's Natural History'') * Pliny the Younger (died 113), ancient Roman statesman, ...
(V, 18) who called it ''"oppidum et portus"'' (a fortified town and port). It was also cited by Mela (I, 33) as ''Rusicada,'' and by the ''Itinerarium Antonini''. Sophrone Pétridès, "Rusaddir" in ''Catholic Encyclopedia'' (New York 1912) Rusaddir was said to have once been the seat of a bishop, but there is no record of any bishop of the purported see, which is not included in the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic Church
's list of
titular see A titular see in various churches is an episcopal see of a former diocese that no longer functions, sometimes called a "dead diocese". The ordinary (Catholic Church), ordinary or hierarch of such a see may be styled a "titular metropolitan" (highe ...
s. As centuries passed, it was ruled by
Vandal The Vandals were a Germanic people The Germanic peoples were a historical group of people living in Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe between Western Europe and Eastern Europe, based on a common History, historical, Soci ...

Vandal
,
Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survi ...
and bands. The political history is similar to that of towns in the region of the Moroccan
Rif The Rif or Riff (; ), also called Rif Mountains, is a geographic and cultural region 's map of native American cultural areas within the territory of the United States (1948) as defined by Melville J. Herskovits influence , homelands of ...

Rif
and southern Spain. Local rule passed through a succession of Phoenician, Punic,
Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Laz ...
,
Umayyad The Umayyad Caliphate (661–750 CE; , ; ar, ٱلْخِلَافَة ٱلْأُمَوِيَّة, al-Khilāfah al-ʾUmawīyah) was the second of the four major caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. The caliphate was ruled by the ...
, Cordobese,
Idrisid The Idrisids ( ar, الأدارسة ') were an Arab The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, ISO 233: , Arabic pronunciation: , plural ar, عَرَبٌ, ISO 233: , Arabic pronunciation: ) are an ethnic group An ethn ...
,
Almoravid The Almoravid dynasty ( ar, المرابطون, translit=Al-Murābiṭūn, lit=those from the ribats) was an imperial Berbers, Berber Muslim dynasty centered in Morocco. It established an empire in the 11th century that stretched over the weste ...
,
Almohad The Almohad Caliphate (IPA IPA commonly refers to: * India pale ale, a style of beer * International Phonetic Alphabet The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is an alphabetic system of phonetic notation based primarily on the Latin ...
,
Marinid The Marinid Sultanate was a Berber Berber or Berbers may refer to: Culture * Berbers Berbers or ''Imazighen'' ( ber, translit=Imaziɣen, ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ, ⵎⵣⵗⵏ; singular: , ) are an ethnic group mostly concentrated in North ...
, and then Wattasid rulers. During the 15th century, the city subsumed into decadence, just like most of the rest of cities of the
Kingdom of Fez ) , image_map = Morocco (orthographic projection, WS claimed).svg , map_caption = Location of Morocco in northwest Africa.Dark green: Undisputed territory of Morocco.Lighter green: Western Sahara, a United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing T ...

Kingdom of Fez
located along the Mediterranean coast, eclipsed by those along the Atlantic facade. Following the completion of the conquest of the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada by the
Catholic Monarchs The term Catholic Monarchs refers to Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon Aragon ( or , Spanish and an, Aragón , ca, Aragó ) is an autonomous community eu, autonomia erkidegoa ca, comunitat autònoma gl, com ...
in 1492, their Secretary started to compile information about the sorry state of the north-African coast with the prospect of a potential territorial expansion in mind, sending field agents to investigate, and subsequently reporting the Catholic Monarchs that, by early 1494, locals had expelled the authority of the Sultan of Fez and had offered to pledge service. While the 1494
Treaty of Tordesillas The Treaty of Tordesillas, ; pt, Tratado de Tordesilhas . signed in Tordesillas, Spain on June 7, 1494, and authenticated in Setúbal, Portugal, divided the newly-discovered lands outside Europe between the Portuguese Empire The Portuguese ...

Treaty of Tordesillas
put Melilla and
Cazaza Cazaza was a Spanish enclave on the western coast of Cape Three Forks 250px, Location in Morocco. Cape Three Forks or Cape Tres Forcas is a headland on the Mediterranean coast of northeastern Morocco. Geography The cape is a large mountainous pr ...
(until then reserved to the Portuguese) under the sphere of Castile, the conquest of the city had to wait, delayed by the occupation of Naples by
Charles VIII of France Charles VIII, called the Affable (french: l'Affable; 30 June 1470 – 7 April 1498), was King of France The monarchs of the Kingdom of France ruled from the establishment of the West Francia, Kingdom of the West Franks in 843 until the fall ...
.


''Presidio''

The Duke of Medina Sidonia, Juan Alfonso Pérez de Guzmán promoted the seizure of the place, to be headed by , while the Catholic Monarchs,
Isabella of Castile Isabella I ( es, Isabel I, 22 April 1451 – 26 November 1504) was Queen of Castile from 1474 and, as the wife of King Ferdinand II, Queen of Aragon from 1479 until her death, reigning over a dynastically unified Spain , * gl, Re ...
and Ferdinand of Aragon endorsed the initiative, also providing the assistance of their artillery officer Francisco Ramírez de Madrid during the operation. Melilla was occupied on 17 September 1497 virtually without any violence as it, located on the border between the
Kingdom of Tlemcen The Kingdom of Tlemcen or Zayyanid Kingdom of Tlemcen ( ar, الزيانيون) was a Berber kingdom in what is now the northwest of Algeria ) , image_map = Algeria (centered orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = ...
and the Kingdom of Fez, and as a result, it had been fought over many times and so had been left abandoned. No big-scale expansion into the Kingdom of Fez ensued, and, barring the enterprises of the
Cardinal Cisneros Cardinal or The Cardinal may refer to: Christianity * Cardinal (Catholic Church) Cardinals ( la, Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae cardinalis, literally "cardinal of the Holy Roman Church") are the most senior members of the clergy Clergy ar ...
along the coast in Mers El Kébir and
Oran Oran ( ar, وَهران, Wahrān) is a major coastal city located in the north-west of Algeria. It is considered the second most important city of Algeria after the capital Algiers, due to its population, commercial, industrial, and cultural impo ...

Oran
(in the Algerian coast), and the rock of Badis (this one in the territorial scope of the Kingdom of Fez), the imperial impetus of the Hispanic Monarchy was eventually directed elsewhere, to the
Italian Wars The Italian Wars, often referred to as the Great Wars of Italy and sometimes as the Habsburg–Valois Wars, were a long series of wars fought between 1494 and 1559 in Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Rep ...
waged against France, and, particularly since 1519, to the newly discovered continent across the Atlantic. Melilla was initially jointly administered by the
House of Medina Sidonia Duke of Medina Sidonia ( es, Duque de Medina Sidonia) is a peerage grandee title of Spain in Medina-Sidonia, holding the oldest extant dukedom in the kingdom, first awarded by King John II of Castile in 1380.maravedíes and wheat ''
fanega The fanega or Spanish bushel was an old measure of dry capacity Dry measures are units of measure, units of volume to measure bulk commodities that are not fluids and that were typically shipped and sold in standardized containers such as Barre ...
s''. The Crown's interest in Melilla decreased during the reign of
Charles VCharles V may refer to: * Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, german: Karl V, it, Carlo V, nl, Karel V, la, Carolus V (24 February 1500 – 21 September 1558) was Holy Roman Emperor The Holy Roman Emperor, originally and offici ...
. During the 16th century, soldiers stationed in Melilla were badly remunerated, leading to many desertions. The Duke of Medina Sidonia relinquished responsibility over the garrison of the place on 7 June 1556. During the late 17th century, Alaouite sultan
Ismail Ibn Sharif Moulay Ismail Ibn Sharif ( ar, مولاي إسماعيل بن الشريف), born around 1645 in Sijilmassa , alternate_name = , image = 1886608-the ruins of Sijilmassa-Rissani.jpg , alt = , caption = Sijilmasa ruins , map_type = Morocco , ...
attempted to conquer the ''
presidio A presidio ( en, jail, fortification) was a fortified base established by the Spanish Empire The Spanish Empire ( es, link=no, Imperio Español), also known as the Hispanic Monarchy ( es, link=no, Monarquía Hispánica) or the Catholic Mo ...

presidio
'', taking the outer fortifications in the 1680s and further unsuccessfully besieging Melilla in the 1690s. One Spanish officer reflected, "an hour in Melilla, from the point of view of merit, was worth more than thirty years of service to Spain." Rezette, p. 41


Urban development

The current limits of the Spanish territory around the Melilla fortress were fixed by treaties with Morocco in 1859,
1860 Events January–March * January 2 – The discovery of a hypothetical planet Vulcan (hypothetical planet), Vulcan is announced at a meeting of the French Academy of Sciences in Paris, France. * January 10 – The Pemberton Mil ...
, 1861, and 1894. In the late 19th century, as Spanish influence expanded in this area, the Crown authorized Melilla as the only centre of trade on the Rif coast between and the
Algeria ) , image_map = Algeria (centered orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Algiers , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , religion = , official_languages = , languages_type = Oth ...

Algeria
n frontier. The value of trade increased, with goat skins, eggs and
beeswax Beeswax (''cera alba'') is a natural wax Waxes are a diverse class of organic compound In , organic compounds are generally any s that contain - . Due to carbon's ability to (form chains with other carbon s), millions of organic c ...

beeswax
being the principal exports, and cotton goods, tea, sugar and candles being the chief imports. Melilla's civil population in 1860 still amounted for only 375 estimated inhabitants. In a 1866 Hispano-Moroccan arrangement signed in
Fes Fez or Fes (; ar, فاس, fās, ber, ⴼⴰⵙ, fas, french: Fès) is a city in northern inland Morocco ) , image_map = Morocco (orthographic projection, WS claimed).svg , map_caption = Location of Morocco in northwest Africa.Dark green: ...

Fes
, both parts agreed to allow for the installment of a customs office near the border with Melilla, to be operated by Moroccan officials. The Treaty of Peace with Morocco that followed the 1859–60 War entailed the acquisition of a new perimeter for Melilla, bringing its area to the 12 km2 the autonomous city currently stands. Following the declaration of Melilla as free port in 1863, the population began to increase, chiefly by Sephardi Jews fleeing from who fostered trade in and out the city. The first Jews from Tetouan probably arrived in 1864, meanwhile the first rabbi arrived in 1867 and began to operate the first synagogue, located in the Calle de San Miguel. Many Jews arrived fleeing from persecution in Morocco, instigated by Roghi Bu Hamara. Following the 1868 lifting of the veto to emigrate to Melilla from Peninsular Spain, the population further increased with Spaniards. The Jewish population, who also progressively acquired Spanish citizenship, increased to 572 in 1893. The economic opportunities created in Melilla henceforth favoured the installment of a Berber population.
;Views of Melilla taken from an elevated position in 1893 File: 1893-10-30, La Ilustración Española y Americana, Vista general de la plaza de Melilla y de su campo, Venancio Álvarez Cabrera (cropped).jpg File: 1893-10-30, La Ilustración Española y Americana, Vista general de la plaza de Melilla y de su campo, Venancio Álvarez Cabrera (cropped 2).jpg
The first proper body of local government was the ''junta de arbitrios'', created in 1879, and in which the military used to enjoy preponderance. The Polígono excepcional de Tiro, the first neighborhood outside the walled core (), began construction in 1888. In 1893, Riffian tribesmen launched the
First Melillan campaign The First Melillan Campaign, also called the Melilla War or the Margallo War (after Juan García y Margallo, the Spain, Spanish governor of Melilla whose defeat and death infuriated the Spanish public) in Spain, was a conflict between Spain and ...
to take back this area; the Spanish government sent 25,000 soldiers to defend against them. The conflict was also known as the ''Margallo War'', after Spanish General Juan García y Margallo, who was killed in the battle, and was the Governor of Melilla. The new 1894 agreement with Morocco that followed the conflict increased trade with the hinterland, bringing the economic prosperity of the city to a new level. The total population of Melilla amounted for 10,004 inhabitants in 1896. The turn of the new century saw however the attempts by France (based in
French Algeria French Algeria (french: Alger to 1839, then afterwards; unofficially , ar, الجزائر المستعمرة), also known as Colonial Algeria, was the period of French colonisation of Algeria ) , image_map = Algeria (centered orthogra ...
) to profit from their newly acquired
sphere of influence In the field of international relations, a sphere of influence (SOI) is a spatial region or concept division over which a state or organization has a level of cultural Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and ...
in Morocco to counter the trading prowess of Melilla by fostering trade links with the Algerian cities of and
Oran Oran ( ar, وَهران, Wahrān) is a major coastal city located in the north-west of Algeria. It is considered the second most important city of Algeria after the capital Algiers, due to its population, commercial, industrial, and cultural impo ...

Oran
. Melilla began to suffer from this, to which the instability brought by revolts against Muley Abdel Aziz in the hinterland also added, although after 1905 Sultan pretender El Rogui ( Bou Hmara) carried out a defusing policy in the area that favoured Spain. The French occupation of
Oujda Oujda ( ar, وجدة; ber, ⵡⵓⵊⴷⴰ, Wujda) is a major Moroccan city in its northeast near the border Borders are boundaries of or legal s, such as s, , , and other . Borders are established through agreements between political or ...

Oujda
in 1907, compromised the Melillan trade with that city. and the enduring instability in the Rif still threatened Melilla. Between 1909 and 1945, the ''modernista'' (
Art Nouveau Art Nouveau (; ) is an international style Style is a manner of doing or presenting things and may refer to: * Architectural style, the features that make a building or structure historically identifiable * Design, the process of creating som ...
) style was very present in the local architecture, making the streets of Melilla a "true museum of ''modernista''-style architecture", second only to Barcelona (in Spain), mainly stemming from the work of prolific architect Enrique Nieto. Mining companies began to enter the ''hinterland'' of Melilla by 1908. A Spanish one, the , was constituted in July 1908, shared by Clemente Fernández, Enrique Macpherson, the Count of Romanones, the and , who appointed as chairman. Thus two mining companies under the protection of Bou Hmara, started mining lead and iron some 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) from Melilla. They started to construct a railway between the port and the mines. In October of that year the Bou Hmara's vassals revolted against him and raided the mines, which remained closed until June 1909. By July the workmen were again attacked and several were killed. Severe fighting between the Spaniards and the tribesmen followed, in the
Second Melillan campaign The Second Melillan campaign ( es, Campaña Guerra de Melilla ) was a conflict in 1909 in Morocco around Melilla Melilla ( , ; ; Berber: Mlilt; ar, مليلية) is a Spanish autonomous city located on the northwest coast of Africa, ...
that took place in the vicinity of Melilla. In 1910, the Spaniards restarted the mines and undertook harbor works at Mar Chica, but hostilities broke out again in 1911. On 22 July 1921, the Berbers under the leadership of
Abd el Krim Mohamed ibn Abdelkrim El-Khattabi (Tamazight: ⴰⴱⴹ ⴻⵍ ⵅⴰⵔⵉⵎ; ar, محمد بن عبد الكريم الخطابي), better known as Abd el-Krim (1882, Morocco – 6 February 1963) was an Amazigh-Riffians, Riffian political a ...
inflicted a grave defeat on the Spanish at the
Battle of Annual The Battle of Annual was fought on July 22, 1921 at Annual, Morocco, Annual, in northeastern Morocco, between the Spanish Army and Berbers, Berber Riffians, Riffian combatants during the Rif War (1920), Rif War. The Spanish suffered a major milit ...
. The Spanish retreated to Melilla, leaving most of the protectorate under the control of the Republic of Rif. A royal decree pursuing the creation of an ''
ayuntamiento ''Ayuntamiento'' ()In other languages of Spain The languages of Spain ( es, lenguas de España), or Spanish languages ( es, lenguas españolas), are the languages spoken or once spoken in Spain , * gl, Reino de España, * oc, Reiau ...
'' in Melilla was signed on 13 December 1918 but the regulation did not come into force, and thus the existing government body, the ''junta the arbitrios'', remained in force. A "junta municipal" with a rather civil composition was created in 1927; on 10 April 1930, an ''ayuntamiento'' featuring the same membership as the junta was created, equalling to the same municipal regime as the rest of Spain on 14 April 1931, with the arrival of the first democratically elected municipal corporation on the wake of the proclamation of the Second Republic. The city was used as one of the staging grounds for the July 1936 military coup d'état that started the
Spanish Civil War The Spanish Civil War ( es, Guerra Civil Española)) or The Revolution ( es, La Revolución) among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War ( es, Cuarta Guerra Carlista) among Carlism, Carlists, and The Rebellion ( es, La Rebelión) or Uprising ( ...

Spanish Civil War
. In the context of the passing of the Ley de Extranjería in 1986, and following social mobilization from the Berber community, conditions for citizenship acquisition were flexibilised and allowed for the naturalisation of a substantial number of inhabitants, until then born in Melilla but without Spanish citizenship. In 1995, Melilla (which was until then just another municipality of the
Province of Málaga , population_note = , blank_name_sec2 = Parliament , blank_info_sec2 = Cortes Generales The Cortes Generales (; en, Spanish Parliament, lit=General Courts) are the bicameral legislative chambers of Spain , * ...
) became an "autonomous city", as the Statute of Autonomy of Melilla was passed. On 6 November 2007, King
Juan Carlos I Juan Carlos I (;, * ca, Joan Carles I, * gl, Xoán Carlos I, Juan Carlos Alfonso Víctor María de Borbón y Borbón-Dos Sicilias, born 5 January 1938) is a member of the Spanish royal family#REDIRECT Spanish royal family The House of B ...
and Queen Sofia visited the city, which caused a demonstration of support. The visit also sparked protests from the Moroccan government. It was the first time a Spanish monarch had visited Melilla in 80 years. Melilla (and Ceuta) have declared the Muslim holiday of
Eid al-Adha Eid al-Adha () is the latter of the two official Islamic holidays, holidays which are celebrated within Islam (the other being Eid al-Fitr). It honors the willingness of Abraham in Islam, Ibrahim (Abraham) to human sacrifice, sacrifice his son I ...
or Feast of the Sacrifice, as an official public holiday from 2010 onward. This is the first time a non-Christian religious festival has been officially celebrated in Spain since the
Reconquista The ' (Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portug ...

Reconquista
. In 2018, Morocco decided to close the customs office near Melilla, in operation since the mid 19th century, without consulting the counterparty.


Geography


Location

Melilla is located in the northwest of the African continent, in the shores of the
Alboran Sea The Alboran Sea (from Arabic language, Arabic , ''al-Baḥrān'') is the westernmost portion of the Mediterranean Sea, lying between the Iberian Peninsula and the north of Africa (Spain on the north and Morocco and Algeria on the south). The Str ...
, a marginal sea of the
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...

Mediterranean
, the latter's westernmost portion. The city layout is arranged in a wide semicircle around the beach and the Port of Melilla, on the eastern side of the peninsula of Cape Tres Forcas, at the foot of and around the mouth of the
Río de Oro Río de Oro (Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguat ...
intermittent water stream, above sea level. The urban nucleus was originally a Presidio, fortress, , built on a peninsular mound about in height. The Moroccan settlement of Beni Ansar lies immediately south of Melilla. The nearest Moroccan city is Nador, and the ports of Melilla and Nador Port, Nador are both within the same bay; nearby is the Bou Areg LagoonWorld Port Source abou
Port Nador
retrieved 10 June 2012


Climate

Melilla has a warm Mediterranean climate influenced by its proximity to the sea, rendering much cooler summers and more precipitation than inland areas deeper into Africa. The climate, in general, is similar to the southern coast of peninsular Spain and the northern coast of Morocco, with relatively small temperature differences between seasons.


Government and administration


Self-government institutions

The government bodies stipulated in the Statute of Autonomy are the Assembly of Melilla, the President of Melilla and the Council of Government. The assembly is a 25-member body whose members are elected through universal suffrage every 4 years in Closed list, closed party lists following the schedule of local elections at the national level. Its members are called "local Deputy (legislator), deputies" but they rather enjoy the status of ''Local councillor, concejales'' (municipal councillors). Unlike List of Spanish regional legislatures, regional legislatures (and akin to municipal councils), the assembly does not enjoy Right of initiative (legislative), right of initiative for primary legislation. The president of Melilla (who, often addressed as Mayor-President, also exerts the roles of Mayor, president of the Assembly, president of the Council of Government and representative of the city) is invested by the Assembly. After local elections, the president is invested through a qualified majority from among the leaders of the election lists, or, failing to achieve the former, the leader of the most voted list at the election is invested to the office. In case of a motion of no confidence the president can only be ousted with a qualified majority voting for an alternative assembly member. The Council of Government is the traditional collegiate executive body for parliamentary systems. Unlike the municipal government boards in the standard ayuntamiento (Spain), ''ayuntamientos'', the members of the Council of Government (including the vice-presidents) do not need to be members of the assembly. Melilla is the city in Spain with the highest proportion of postal voting; Electoral fraud#Vote buying, vote buying (via mail-in ballots) is widely reported to be a common practice in the poor neighborhoods of Melilla. Court cases in this matter had involved the PP, the CPM and the PSOE. On 15 June 2019, following the 2019 Melilla Assembly election, May 2019 Melilla Assembly election, the regionalist and left-leaning party of Muslim and Amazigh persuasion Coalition for Melilla (CPM, 8 seats), the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE, 4 seats) and Citizens (Spanish political party), Citizens–Party of the Citizenry (Cs, 1 seat) voted in favour of the Cs' candidate (Eduardo de Castro) vis-à-vis the Presidency of the Autonomous City, ousting Juan José Imbroda, from the People's Party (Spain), People's Party (PP, 10 seats), who had been in office since 2000.


Administrative subdivisions

Melilla is subdivided into eight districts (''distritos''), which are further subdivided into neighbourhoods (''barrios''): *District 1, Melilla, 1st **Barrio de Medina Sidonia. **Barrio del General Larrea. **Barrio de Ataque Seco. *District 2, Melilla, 2nd **Barrio Héroes de España. **Barrio del General Gómez Jordana. **Barrio Príncipe de Asturias. *District 3, Melilla, 3rd **Barrio del Carmen. *District 4, Melilla, 4th **Barrio Polígono Residencial La Paz. **Barrio Hebreo-Tiro Nacional. *District 5, Melilla, 5th **Barrio de Cristóbal Colón. **Barrio de Cabrerizas. **Barrio de Batería Jota. **Barrio de Hernán Cortes y Las Palmeras. **Barrio de Reina Regente. *District 6, Melilla, 6th **Barrio de Concepción Arenal. **Barrio Isaac Peral (Tesorillo). *District 7, Melilla, 7th **Barrio del General Real. **Polígono Industrial SEPES. **Polígono Industrial Las Margaritas. **Parque Empresarial La Frontera. *District 8, Melilla, 8th **Barrio de la Libertad. **Barrio del Hipódromo. **Barrio de Alfonso XIII. **Barrio Industrial. **Barrio Virgen de la Victoria. **Barrio de la Constitución. **Barrio de los Pinares. **Barrio de la Cañada de Hidum


Economy

The Gross domestic product (GDP) of the autonomous community was 1.6 billion euros in 2018, accounting for 0.1% of Spanish economic output. GDP per capita adjusted for purchasing power was 19,900 euros or 66% of the EU27 average in the same year. Melilla was the Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics, NUTS2 region with the lowest GDP per capita in Spain. Melilla does not participate into the European Union Customs Union (EUCU). There is no VAT (IVA) tax, but a local reduced-rate tax called IPSI. Preserving the status of free port, imports are free of tariffs and the only tax concerning them is the IPSI. Exports to the Customs Union (including Peninsular Spain) are however subject to the correspondent customs tariff and are taxed with the correspondent VAT. There are some special manufacturing taxes regarding electricity and transport, as well as complementary charges on tobacco and oil and fuel products. The principal industry is fishing. Cross-border commerce (legal or smuggled) and Spanish and European grants and wages are the other income sources. Melilla is regularly connected to the Iberian peninsula by air and sea traffic and is also economically connected to Morocco: most of its fruit and vegetables are imported across the border. Moroccans in the city's hinterland are attracted to it: 36,000 Moroccans cross the border daily to work, shop or trade goods.English translation of Volkskrant article
Melilla North-Africa's European dream
5 August 2010, visited 3 June 2012
The port of Melilla offers several daily connections to Almería and Málaga. Melilla Airport offers daily flights to Almería, Málaga and Madrid. Spanish operators Air Europa and Iberia (airline), Iberia operate in Melilla's airport. Many people travelling between Europe and Morocco use the ferry links to Melilla, both for passengers and for freight. Because of this, the port and related companies form an important economic driver for the city.


Water supply

Melilla's water supply primarily came from a network of dug wells (which by the turn of the 21st century suffered from overexploitation and had also experienced a degradation of the water quality and the intrusion of seawater), as well as from the capture of the Río de Oro's underflow. Seeking to address the problem of water supply in Melilla, works for the construction of a desalination plant in the Aguadú cliffs, projected to produce 22,000 m3 a day, started in November 2003. The plant entered operation in March 2007. The daily operation of the plant is partially funded by the central government. Relative to the Spanish average (and similarly to the Canary and Balearic Islands), the city's population spends a comparatively larger amount of money in bottled water. Funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the , works for the expansion of the plant's production capabilities up to 30,000 m3 a day started by September 2020.


Architecture

The dome of the Chapel of Santiago, built in the mid-16th century by Miguel de Perea with help from Sancho de Escalante, is a rare instance of Gothic architecture in the African continent. Parallel to the urban development of Melilla in the early 20th century, the new architectural style of ''Modernisme, modernismo'' (irradiated from Barcelona and associated to the bourgeois class) was imported to the city, granting it a ''modernista'' architectural character, primarily through the works of the prolific Catalan architect Enrique Nieto. Accordingly, Melilla has the second most important concentration of ''Modernista'' works in Spain after Barcelona. Nieto was in charge of designing the main Synagogue, the Central Mosque and various Catholic Churches. File:Capilla de Santiago3.jpg, Dome of the File:EDIFICIO DEL ANTIGÜA REDACCIÓN EL TELEGRAMA DEL RIF.jpg, ''Modernista'' building, former headquarters of ''El Telegrama del Rif'' newspaper. File:Sinagoga Orr Zoruah, Ruta de los Templos (6) (5446069722).jpg, Local synagogue File:Mezquita central melilla.jpg, Melilla's central mosque


Demographics


Religion

Melilla has been praised as an example of multiculturalism, being a small city in which one can find Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and Buddhists represented. There is a small, autonomous, and commercially important Hindu community present in Melilla, which has fallen over the past decades as its members move to the Spanish mainland and numbers about 100 members today. Muslims may account for roughly half the population in Melilla. The Roman Catholic churches in Melilla belong to the Diocese of Málaga.


Language

Regarding sociolinguistics, Melilla features a
diglossia In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis includ ...
with Spanish language, Spanish being the strong and official language, whereas
Tamazight The Berber languages, also known as the Amazigh languages (Berber name: , ; Neo-Tifinagh: ⵜⴰⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵜ, Tuareg Tifinagh: ⵜⵎⵣⵗⵜ, , ), are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. They comprise a group of closely related l ...

Tamazight
remains the weak and unofficial language, with limited written codification, and usage restricted to family and domestic relations and oral speech. Berber native speakers are usually bilingual in Spanish, whereas Spanish native speakers do not usually speak Berber. The Spanish spoken in Melilla is similar to the variety from Cádiz, Andalusia, whereas the Berber variant spoken in Melilla is the Riffian language common with the neighbouring Nador area. Rather than Berber ( es, bereber, link=no), Berber speakers in Melilla use either the glotonym ''Tamaziɣt'', or, when speaking Spanish, speakers of ''cherja'' to refer to themselves. The first attempt to legislate a degree of recognition for Berber in Melilla was in 1994, in the context of the elaboration of the Statute of Autonomy, by mentioning the promotion of the linguistic and cultural pluralism (without explicitly mentioning the Berber language). The initiative went nowhere, voted down by PP and PSOE.


Border dynamics


Trans-border relations

Melilla forms a sort of trans-border urban conurbation with limited integration together with the neighbouring Moroccan settlements, located at one of the ends of a linear succession of urban sprawl spanning southward in Morocco along the National Route 19 (Morocco), R19 road from Beni Ensar down to Nador and Selouane. The urban system features a high degree of hierarchization, specialization and division of labour, with Melilla as chief provider of services, finance and trade; Nador as an eminently industrial city whereas the rest of Moroccan settlements found themselves in a subordinate role, presenting agro-town features and operating as providers of workforce. The asymmetry, as reflected for example in the provision of healthcare, has fostered situations such as the large-scale use of the Melillan health services by Moroccan citizens, with Melilla attending a number of urgencies more than four times the standard for its population in 2018. In order to satisfy the workforce needs of Melilla (mainly in areas such as domestic service, construction and cross-border bale workers, often under informal contracts), Moroccan inhabitants of the province of Nador were granted exemptions from visa requirement to enter the autonomous city. This development in turn induced a strong flux of internal migration from other Moroccan provinces to Nador, in order to acquire the aforementioned exemption. The 'fluid' trans-border relations between Melilla and its surroundings are however not free from conflict, as they are contingent upon the Morocco–Spain relations, 'tense' trans-national relations between Morocco and Spain.


Border securitization

Following the increasing influx of Algerian and Sub-Saharan irregular migrants into Ceuta and Melilla in the early 1990s, a process of border fortification in both cites ensued after 1995 in order to reduce the border permeability, a target which was attained to some degree by 1999, although peak level of fortificacion was reached in 2005. The Melilla's border with Morocco is secured by the Melilla border fence, a six-metre-tall double fence with watch towers; yet migrants (in groups of tens or sometimes hundreds) storm the fence and manage to cross it from time to time. Since 2005, at least 14 migrants have died trying to cross the fence. The Melilla migrant reception centre was built with a capacity of 480. In 2020 works to remove the barbed wire from the top of the fence (meanwhile raising its height up to more than 10 metres in the stretches most susceptible to breaches) were commissioned to . Morocco has been paid tens of million euros by both Spain and the European Union to outsource the EU migration control. Besides the double fence in the Spanish side of the border, there is an additional 3-metre high fence entirely made of razor wire lying on the Moroccan side as well as a moat in between.


Transportation

Melilla Airport is serviced by Air Nostrum, flying to the Spanish cities of Málaga, Madrid, Barcelona, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Palma de Mallorca, Granada, Badajoz, Sevilla and Almería. In April 2013, a local enterprise set up Melilla Airlines, flying from the city to Málaga. The city is linked to Málaga, Almería and Motril by ferry. Three roads connect Melilla and
Morocco ) , image_map = Morocco (orthographic projection, WS claimed).svg , map_caption = Location of Morocco in northwest Africa.Dark green: Undisputed territory of Morocco.Lighter green: Western Sahara, a United Nations lis ...

Morocco
but require clearance through border checkpoints.


Sport

Melilla is a surfing destination. The city's football club, UD Melilla, plays in the third tier of Spanish football, the Segunda División B. The club was founded in 1943 and since 1945 have played at the 12,000-seater Estadio Municipal Álvarez Claro. Until the other club was dissolved in 2012, UD Melilla played the Ceuta-Melilla derby against AD Ceuta. The clubs travelled to each other via the Spanish mainland to avoid entering Morocco. The second-highest ranked club in the city are Casino del Real CF of the fourth-tier Tercera División. The football's governing institution is the Melilla Football Federation.


Dispute with Morocco

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 Alhucemas, the rock of Vélez and the Perejil island, 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.* François Papet-Périn, "La mer d'Alboran ou Le contentieux territorial hispano-marocain sur les deux bornes européennes de Ceuta et Melilla". Tome 1, 794 p., tome 2, 308 p., thèse de doctorat d'histoire contemporaine soutenue en 2012 à Paris 1-Sorbonne sous la direction de Pierre Vermeren. The Spanish position states that both Ceuta and Melilla are integral parts of Spain, and have been since the 16th century, centuries prior to Morocco's independence from France in 1956, whereas Gibraltar, being a British Overseas Territory, is not and never has been part of the United Kingdom. Both cities also have the same Autonomous communities of Spain, semi-autonomous status as the mainland region in Spain. Melilla has been under Spanish rule for longer than cities in northern Spain such as Pamplona or Tudela, Navarre, Tudela, and was conquered roughly in the same period as the last Muslim cities of Southern Spain such as Granada, Málaga, Ronda or Almería: Spain claims that the enclaves were established before the creation of the Kingdom of Morocco. Morocco denies these claims and maintains that the Spanish presence on or near its coast is a remnant of the colonial past which should be ended. The United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories does not include these Spanish territories and the dispute remains bilaterally debated between Spain and Morocco. On 21 December 2020, following the affirmations of the Moroccan Prime Minister, Saadeddine Othmani, stating that Ceuta and Melilla "are Moroccan as the [Western] Western Sahara, Sahara [is]", Spain urgently summoned the Moroccan Ambassador to convey that Spain expects respect from all its partners to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its country and asked for explanations about the words of Othmani.


Twin towns – sister cities

Melilla is town twinning, twinned with: * Caracas (Venezuela). * Cavite City (Philippines). *
Ceuta Ceuta (, , ; ber, Sebta, script=Latn; ar, سَبْتَة, Sabtah) is a on the north coast of . Bordered by , it lies along the boundary between the and the . It is one of the several Spanish territories in Africa and, along with and the ...

Ceuta
(Spain). * Toledo, Spain, Toledo (Spain). * Málaga (Spain). * Montevideo (Uruguay). * Motril (Spain); since January 2008. * Almería (Spain). * Mantua (Italy); since September 2013. * Vélez-Málaga (Spain); since January 2014. * Antequera (Spain); as of 2016, in process.


See also

* European enclaves in North Africa before 1830 * Melilla (Congress of Deputies constituency)


References

;Citations ;Bibliography * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


External links

*
Postal Codes Melilla
{{Authority control Melilla, Autonomous cities of Spain Enclaves and exclaves Mediterranean port cities and towns in Spain Morocco–Spain border crossings NUTS 2 statistical regions of the European Union Port cities in Africa Special territories of the European Union States and territories established in 1995 Territorial disputes of Morocco Territorial disputes of Spain