Post-classical history


A well-situated, strategic port town on the north Moroccan coast (Arab. Sabta), just 16 kilometers (10 mi.) south of Gibraltar.

Ceuta was the home of the Byzantine governor “Count Julian,” who legendarily dispatched Muslim forces under Tāriq ibn Ziyād to Iberia in 711/714 in revenge for King Roderic’s mistreatment of his daughter, resulting in the fall of the Visigothic kingdom and the Muslim conquest of Iberia. In the Umayyad period Ceuta was an important entrepôt and a nexus for trade between Iberia and Africa. After 1010 Ceuta became a Taifa kingdom. It fell to the Almoravids in 1083 and subsequently passed under the control of the Almohads and the Hafsids, before the local ‘Azafids took control. Conquered by Granada in 1306, in 1387 it fell to the Marīnids and went into a decline. The Portuguese conquered it in a crusade in 1415, establishing an episcopal see in 1421. Under the control of Spain since 1580, Ceuta, along with Melilla, remains a Spanish enclave in Moroccan territory to this day.

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