The history of Ceuta is a real feast through time for travellers and for their senses.

The first human settlement in Benzu dates back more than 300,000 years.

You must look towards the sea to discover the special cultural, historic and natural features of the city and its surroundings. The voyages of the people from olden days and their trading routes, Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians and Romans, for trade or for strategic geographical reasons, always within the borders of the Mare Nostrum, shows their need to control the so-called Circle of Straits, as can be seen by Justinian I setting up a dromons base (in the year 534 a.d.).

Christianity and Islam have always traded in our bay, with the presence of Hebrew communities for immemorial time in a Medina that became quite large and important within the Western context of Islam.

The Islam arrived in Ceuta later than on the peninsula. After this, the city remained under Muslim rule for seven centuries, being conquered at dusk on 21 August 1415, when Juan Vaz de Almeda flew the Royal Standard and flag of Lisbon from the Vela Tower in Ceuta, 77 years before the Catholic Kings concluded the Re-conquest of Granada.

From then and for 2 centuries and a quarter, Ceuta would live, speak and feel Portuguese. Until the people of Ceuta asked to belong to the crown of Castille in 1640.

When Philip V came to power, the army was restructured, which transformed the order of the State and changed the traditional structure of local economy.

When the Bourbons came to power, the image of Ceuta as a fortified square and military garrison was reinforced, but it also gained with this as a city. America was now not everything and we looked once again towards Africa.

press to zoom
press to zoom