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About Melilla



Melilla is an autonomous city of Spain and anexclave on the north coast of Morocco, with an area of 12.3 square kilometers (4.7 sq mi). Melilla, along with the Spanish exclave Ceuta, is one of two Spanish territories located in mainland Africa. It was part of Málaga province until 14 March 1995, when the city's Statute of Autonomy was passed.

Melilla, like Ceuta, was a free port before Spain joined the European Union. As of 2008 it had a population of 73,460 made up of Christians, Muslims (chiefly Riffians), and a small number of Jews. Both Spanish and Tarifit are widely spoken. Spanish is the only official language, although there have been calls to recognize Tamazight, a standardized version of all Berber languages official in Morocco, as well.

Morocco had previously called for negotiations on the future of Melilla, Ceuta and a number of nearby Mediterranean islands. However, the majority of the city's population is ethnic Spaniards, who do not wish to join Morocco. Also, the Instituto Opina conducted a poll that found that 88% of mainland Spaniards considers the two cities to be Spanish