Sebta  (Berber languages)
سبتة  (Arabic)
Vista de Ceuta y la península de Almina desde el mirador de Isabel II.jpg
Map of Ceuta
Location of Ceuta within Spain
Coordinates: 35°53′18″N 5°18′56″W / 35°53′18″N 5°18′56″W / 35.88833; -5.31556

Ceuta (UK: ə/, US: ə/,[2][3] Spanish: [ˈθeuta]; Berber languages: Sebta; Arabic: سبتة‎, romanizedSabtah) is an 18.5 km2 (7 sq mi; 4,571 acres) Spanish autonomous city on the north coast of Africa, separated by 14 km (9 mi) from Cadiz province on the Spanish mainland by the Strait of Gibraltar and sharing a 6.4 km (4 mi) land border with M'diq-Fnideq Prefecture in the Kingdom of Morocco. It lies along the boundary between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean and is one of nine populated Spanish territories in Africa and, along with Melilla, one of two populated territories on mainland Africa. It was part of Cádiz province until 14 March 1995 when both Ceuta and Melilla's Statutes of Autonomy were passed, the latter having been part of Málaga province.

Ceuta, like Melilla and the Canary Islands, was a free port before Spain joined the European Union.[4] Its population consists of Christians, Muslims and small minorities of Sephardic Jews and ethnic Sindhi Hindus.

Spanish is the official language, while Darija Arabic is also spoken by 40–50% of the population, which is of Moroccan origin.[5][6]


The name Abyla has been said to have been a Punic name ("Lofty Mountain"[7] or "Mountain of God") for Jebel Musa,[8] the southern Pillar of Hercules.[9] In fact, it seems that the name of the mountain was actually Habenna (Punic: 𐤀𐤁‬𐤍‬, ʾBN, "Stone" or "Stele") or ʾAbin-ḥīq (𐤀𐤁‬𐤍𐤇‬𐤒, ʾBNḤQ, "Rock of the Bay"), in reference to the nearby Bay of Benzú.[10] The name was hellenized variously as Ápini (Greek: Ἄπινι),[10] Abýla (Ἀβύλα), Abýlē (Ἀβύλη), Ablýx (Ἀβλύξ), and Abílē Stḗlē (Ἀβίλη Στήλη, "Pillar of Abyla")[9] and in Latin as Mount Abyla (Abyla Mons) or the Pillar of Abyla (Abyla Columna).

The settlement below Jebel Musa was later renamed for the seven hills around the site, collectively referred to as the "Seven Brothers"[11] (Greek: Ἑπτάδελφοι, translit. Heptádelphoi;[12] Latin: Septem Fratres).[13] In particular, the Roman stronghold at the site took the name "Fort at the Seven Brothers" (Castellum ad Septem Fratres).[9] This was gradually shortened to Septem[14] (Σέπτον Sépton) or, occasionally, Septum[15] or Septa.[16] These clipped forms continued as Berber Sebta and Arabic Sabtan[11] or Sabtah (سبتة‎), which themselves became Ceuta in Portuguese (pronounced [ˈsewtɐ]) and Spanish (pronounced [ˈθeuta]).