From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Jump to: navigation, search
Ciudad Autónoma de Melilla
Image:Locator map of Melilla.png
 – Total
 20 km²
 – Total (2003)
 – Density

 – English
 – Spanish

Statute of Autonomy March 14, 1995
ISO 3166-2:ES ES-ML

 – Congress seats
 – Senate seats
President Juan José Imbroda Ortíz (PP)
Ciudad Autónoma de Melilla

Melilla is a Spanish exclave in North Africa, located on the northernmost tip of Maghreb, on the Mediterranean coast. Traditionally considered part of Andalusia for historical reasons, it was administered as part of Málaga province prior to the March 14, 1995 Statute of Autonomy, it was a free port before Spain joined the European Union. The principal industry is fishing; cross-border commerce (legal or smuggled) and Spanish and European grants and wages are the other income sources. As of 1994 it had a population of 63,670. Its population consists of Christians, Muslims, Jews and a small minority of Hindus.

Since independence from France and Spain, Morroco has always claimed Melilla, along with Ceuta and various small Spanish islands off the coast of Africa (Plazas de soberanía) and the Canary Islands, drawing comparisons with Spain's territorial claim to Gibraltar. The Spanish government rejects these comparisons (as do the inhabitants of the cities), on the grounds that both Ceuta and Melilla are integral parts of the Spanish state, whereas Gibraltar, a British Crown colony, is not and never has been part of the United Kingdom.

There is considerable pressure by African refugees to enter Melilla, a part of the European Union. The border is secured by the Melilla border fence, a six-meter-tall double fence with watch towers, yet refugees frequently manage to cross it illegally, avoiding the attempts by Spanish police to take them back to their home countries. Detection wires, tear gas dispensers, radar, and day/night vision cameras are planned to increase security and prevent illegal immigration. In October 2005, over 700 subsaharian migrants tried to enter Spanish territory from the Moroccan border. Many of them were shot in the back by the Moroccan Gendarmerie. Amnesty International and Médecins Sans Frontières have accused the Moroccan government of dumping over 500 refugees in the Sahara Desert without food or water supplies.

ISO 3166-1 reserves EA for Melilla and Ceuta.



Melilla was a Phoenician and later Punic establishment under the name of Rusadir. Later it became a part of the Roman province of Hispania Nova Ulterior Tingitana. As centuries passed, it went through Vandal, Byzantine and Hispano-Visigothic hands. Melilla was on the frontier of the Kingdom of Tlemcen and the Kingdom of Fes when the duke of Medina Sidonia reconquered it in 1497, a few years after Castille had taken control of the last Nasrid kingdom of Granada.


Melilla sports the only Gothic arch in Africa.

During the change from the 19th to the 20th century, Melilla was prosperous. A new bourgeois class expressed its prestige in the architectural style of Modernisme, the Catalan version of Art Nouveau, which was then in vogue in Spain. The workshops inspired by Catalan architect, Enrique Nieto, continued in the modernist style, even after it went out of fashion elsewhere. So Melilla has the second most important concentration of Modernist works in Spain, after Barcelona.

See also

External links

Autonomous Communities of Spain Flag of Spain
Andalusia | Aragon | Asturias | Balearic Islands | Basque Country | Canary Islands | Cantabria | Castile–La Mancha | Castile–Leon | Catalonia | Extremadura | Galicia | Madrid | Murcia | Navarre | La Rioja | Valencia | Ceuta | Melilla | Plazas de soberanía

Provinces of Spain
Flag of Spain
Álava/Araba | Albacete | Alicante/Alacant | Almería | Asturias | Ávila | Badajoz | Barcelona | Burgos | Cáceres | Cádiz | Cantabria | Castellón/Castelló | Ceuta | Ciudad Real | Córdoba | Cuenca | Gerona/Girona | Granada | Guadalajara | Guipúzcoa/Gipuzkoa | Huelva | Huesca | Jaén | La Coruña/A Coruña | La Rioja | Las Palmas | León | Lérida/Lleida | Lugo | Madrid | Málaga | Melilla | Murcia | Navarra/Nafarroa | Orense/Ourense | Palencia | Palma de Mallorca | Pontevedra | Salamanca | Santa Cruz de Tenerife | Segovia | Sevilla | Soria | Tarragona | Teruel | Toledo | Valencia/València | Valladolid | Vizcaya/Bizkaia | Zamora | Zaragoza
Personal tools