Ciudad Autónoma de Melilla
Missing image
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, known in Arabic as 'مليلة, and in Tamazight as Tamlit, is a Spanish autonomous city on the coast of eastern Morocco, in North Africa. 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 overseas territory, 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 three-meter-tall double fence with watch towers, yet refugees regularly manage to cross it illegally, avoiding the attempts by Spanish police to take them back to their home countries.

ISO 3166-1 reserves EA for Melilla and Ceuta.



It was a Phoenician and later Punic establishment under the name of Rusadir. Later it became a part of the Roman province of Mauretania Tingitana. As centuries passed, it went through Vandal, Byzantine and Visigothic hands. Melilla was on the frontier of the Kingdom of Tlemcen and the Kingdom of Fes when the duke of Medina Sidonia commended its conquest it for Castile conquered in 1497 a few years after Spain had conquered the last Moorish kingdom of Al-Andalus.


Melilla sports the only Gothic arch of Africa.

During the change from the 19th to the 20th century, Melilla enjoyed prosperity. The new bourgeois class expressed its new prestige in the architectural style en vogue in Spain, the Modernisme. The workshops inspired by Catalan architect Enrique Nieto continued in the style even after it was out of style elsewhere, making it the second concentration of Modernisme works after Barcelona.

See also

External links

Template:SPprovast:Melilla ca:Melilla da:Melilla de:Melilla es:Melilla eo:Melilio fr:Melilla gl:Melilla id:Melilla it:Melilla he:מלילה hu:Melilla zh-min-nan:Melilla nl:Melilla ja:メリリャ pl:Melilla pt:Melilla sk:Melilla fi:Melilla sv:Melilla


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