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Post  kosovohp on Thu Nov 18, 2010 11:56 pm

Its location has made Ceuta an important commercial trade and military way-point for many cultures, beginning with the Carthaginians in the 5th century BC, who called the city Abyla. It was not until the Romans took control of the region in A.D. 42 that the port city, then named Septa, assumed an almost exclusive military purpose. It changed hands again approximately 400 years later, when Vandal tribes ousted the Romans. It then fell into the hands of the Visigoths, and finally become an outpost of the Byzantine Empire.

Around 710, as Muslim armies approached the city, its Byzantine governor, Julian (described as King of the Ghomara) changed his allegiance, and exhorted the Muslims to invade the Iberian Peninsula. Under the leadership of Berber General Tariq ibn Ziyad, the Muslims used Ceuta as a staging ground for an assault on Visigothic Spain. After Julian's death, the Arabs took direct control of the city, something that the indigenous Berber tribes resented. They destroyed Ceuta during the Kharijite rebellion led by Maysara al-Haqir in 740.

Ceuta lay in ruins until it was resettled in the 9th century by Mājakas, chief of the Majkasa Berber tribe, who started the short-lived Banu Isam dynasty. His great-grandson would briefly ally his tribe with the Idrisids, but the Banu Isam rule ended in 931 when he abdicated in favor of the Umayyad Caliph of Cordoba, Abd ar-Rahman III. Ceuta reverted to Hispanic Andalusian rule in 927, along with Melilla, and laterTangier, in 951.

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