Plazas de soberanía
|• Type||De facto unincorporated area under the administration of the Ministry of Defence|
|• Total||0.59 km2 (0.23 sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+01:00 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+02:00 (CEST)|
The plazas de soberanía (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈplaθaz ðe soβeɾaˈni.a] , literally "places of sovereignty") are small Spanish territories scattered along the Mediterranean coast bordering Morocco. That term is used for those territories that have been a part of Spain since the formation of the modern country (1492–1556), as opposed to African territories acquired by Spain during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Historically, a distinction was made between the so-called "major places of sovereignty", comprising the cities of Ceuta and Melilla, and the "minor places of sovereignty", referring to a number of islands along the coast. In the present, the term refers mainly to the latter.
During the Reconquista and mainly following the conquest of Granada in 1492, forces of the Castilian (Spain) and Portuguese kingdoms conquered and maintained numerous posts in North Africa for trade and as a defence against Barbary piracy.
In 1415, the Portuguese conquered Ceuta. In 1481, the Papal bull Æterni regis had granted all land south of the Canary Islands to Portugal. Only this archipelago and the possessions of Santa Cruz de la Mar Pequeña (1476–1524), Melilla (conquered by Pedro de Estopiñán in 1497), Villa Cisneros (founded in 1502 in current Western Sahara), Mazalquivir (1505), Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera (1508), Oran (1509–1708; 1732-1792), Algiers (1510–1529), Bugia (1510–1554), Tripoli (1511–1551), and Tunis (1535–1569) remained as Spanish territory in Africa. Finally, following the independence of Portugal from Spain, Ceuta was ceded by Portugal to Spain in 1668.
In 1848, Spanish troops conquered the Islas Chafarinas. In the late 19th century, after the so-called Scramble for Africa, European nations had taken over colonial control of most of the African continent. The Treaty of Fez (signed on 30 March 1912) made most of Morocco a protectorate of France, while Spain assumed the role of protecting power over the northern part, Spanish Morocco.
When Spain relinquished its protectorate and recognized Morocco's independence in 1956, it did not give up these minor territories. Spain had held them well before the establishment of its protectorate.
On 11 July 2002, Morocco stationed six gendarmes on Perejil Island, which was at the time a source of complaint by Spain. The Spanish Armed Forces responded by launching a military operation code-named Operation Romeo-Sierra. The attack was carried out by Spanish commandos of Grupo de Operaciones Especiales . The Spanish Navy and Spanish Air Force provided support; the six Moroccan navy cadets did not offer any resistance and were captured and evicted from the island. It has since been evacuated by both countries.
There are historically three plazas de soberanía:
|Peñón de Alhucemas|
|Isla de Tierra|
|Isla de Mar|
|Isla del Congreso|
|Isla Isabel II|
|Isla del Rey|
|Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera|
Apart from the three distinct groups, there are two other islands usually considered within the plazas de soberanía.[ citation needed ]
The disputed Perejil Island (Isla Perejil), a small uninhabited islet close to Ceuta, considered by Spain to be a part of Ceuta and not a territory in its own right.
Alboran Island (Isla de Alborán) is another small island in the western Mediterranean, about 50 kilometres (31.05 miles) from the African coast and 90 kilometres (55.92 miles) from Europe, is administers as part of the municipality of Almería on the Iberian Peninsula.
The plazas de soberanía are small islands and a peninsula off the coast of Morocco (the only peninsula, Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera, was an island until a 1934 storm formed a sand bridge with the mainland). They are guarded by military garrisons and administered directly by the Spanish central government.
Like Ceuta and Melilla, they are a part of Spain, therefore also part of the European Union, and their currency is the euro.
Morocco claims sovereignty over the Plazas de soberanía, plus the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla.
Ceuta is a Spanish autonomous city on the north coast of Africa.
Melilla is a Spanish autonomous city located on the northwest coast of Africa, sharing a border with Morocco. It has an area of 12.3 km2 (4.7 sq mi). Melilla is one of two permanently inhabited Spanish cities in mainland Africa, the other being nearby Ceuta. It was part of the Province of Málaga until 14 March 1995, when the city's Statute of Autonomy was passed.
Spain is a country located in southwestern Europe occupying most of the Iberian Peninsula. It also includes a small exclave inside France called Llívia, as well as the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean 108 km (67 mi) off northwest Africa, and five places of sovereignty on and off the coast of North Africa: Ceuta, Melilla, Islas Chafarinas, Peñón de Alhucemas, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera.
After the return of democracy following the death of General Franco in 1975, Spain's foreign policy priorities were to break out of the diplomatic isolation of the Franco years and expand diplomatic relations, enter the European Community, and define security relations with NATO, later joining the organization in 1982.
Perejil Island, also known as Parsley Island, is a small, uninhabited rocky islet located off the coast of Morocco, just 200 metres from the mainland coast. Its sovereignty is disputed between Spain and Morocco. It was the subject of an armed incident between the two countries in 2002.
The Alhucemas Islands is a group of islands and one of the Spanish plazas de soberanía just off the Moroccan coast in the Alboran Sea.
The Chafarinas Islands, also spelled Zafarin, Djaferin or Zafarani, are a group of three small islets located in the Alboran Sea off the coast of Morocco with an aggregate area of 0.525 square kilometres (0.203 sq mi), 45 km (28.0 mi) to the east of Nador and 3.3 km (2.1 mi) off the Moroccan town of Ras Kebdana.
Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera is a Spanish rock and tied island in the west of the Mediterranean Sea, connected to the Moroccan shore by a sandy isthmus. It is also connected to a smaller islet to the east, la Isleta, by a rocky isthmus. It is one of several peñones, or rock-fortresses, on the coast of Northern Africa. Vélez de la Gomera, along with la Isleta, is administered by the Spanish central government, and has a population consisting only of a small number of Spanish military personnel.
The Alboran Sea is the westernmost portion of the Mediterranean Sea, lying between the Iberian Peninsula and the north of Africa. The Strait of Gibraltar, which lies at the west end of the Alboran Sea, connects the Mediterranean with the Atlantic Ocean.
Greater Morocco is a label historically used by some Moroccan nationalist political leaders protesting against Spanish, Portuguese, Algerian and French rule, to refer to wider territories historically associated with the Moroccan sultan. Current usage most frequently occurs in a critical context accusing Morocco, largely in discussing the disputed Western Sahara, of irredentist claims on neighbouring territories.
The African Union covers almost the entirety of continental Africa and several off-shore islands. Consequently, it is wildly diverse, including the world's largest hot desert, huge jungles and savannas, and the world's longest river.
Spanish Africa may refer to:
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Spain:
A peñón is a term for certain offshore rocky island forts established by the Spanish Empire. Several are still part of the plazas de soberanía of Spain in Northern Africa.
The Perejil Island crisis was a bloodless armed conflict between Spain and Morocco that took place on 11–20 July 2002. The incident took place over the small, uninhabited Perejil Island, when a squad of the Royal Moroccan Navy occupied it. After an exchange of declarations between both countries, the Spanish troops finally evicted the Moroccan infantry who had relieved their Navy comrades.
In recent times, Morocco–Spain relations have been friendly though intermittently discordant.
The Morocco–Spain border consists of three non-contiguous lines totalling 18.5 km around the Spanish territories of Ceuta, Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera and Melilla. These three exclaves form part of Spain's plazas de soberanía, which also includes a number of small islands off the Moroccan coast.
Spain has 1953 kilometers of borders, with 5 different countries.
The Committee for the Liberation of Ceuta and Melilla (CLCM) was an irredentist organization of Moroccan origin that had as its objective what, according to them, is the "recovery of the Moroccan cities of Ceuta and Melilla". The organization was based on the irrendentist ideology of Greater Morocco.
The European enclaves in North Africa were towns, fortifications and trading posts on the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts of western North Africa, obtained by various European powers in the period before they had the military capacity to occupy the interior. The earliest of these were established in the 11th century CE by the Italian Maritime republics; Spain and Portugal were the main European powers involved; both France and, briefly, England also had a presence. Most of these enclaves had been evacuated by the late 18th century, and today only the Spanish possessions of Ceuta, Melilla, and the Plazas de soberanía remain.
When officers from Spain's civil guard police force arrived on a small patrol boat from the nearby Spanish North African enclave of Ceuta three miles away and to which the islet nominally belongs...