A city on the north coast of Morocco, but belonging to Spain. Another such city is Melilla. Their European colonization dates from the early years of the Portuguese colonial expansion, and Spain is resisting pressure from Morocco to cede them. Oddly, this doesn't stop them trying to claim Gibraltar. Its area is 19 km2 and its population about 70 000. A mountain on a promontory, it is one of the two Pillars of Hercules, along with Gibraltar on the other side of the straits.
Ceuta was probably a Carthaginian seaport in origin, occupied by the Romans in 42, who named it Septem Fratres 'Seven Brothers', after its seven hills. This gave the later name Sebta and the modern name Ceuta. It was occupied by the Vandals in the fifth century and the Arabs in 710.
It fell to Portugal in 1415, the mosques were destroyed, and the mediaeval city that presently stands was built. It ws the first permanent European settlement in Africa. A dynastic union of Spain and Portugal between 1580 and 1640 brought it into Spanish hands. It voted to remain Spanish when the union was dissolved.