Melilla mālē´lyä [key], autonomous city (2011 pop. 81,323), 5 sq mi (13 sq km), Spanish possession on the Mediterranean coast of Morocco, NW Africa. Administered directly by the Spanish government, it is a free port, and the principal industry is fishing. Spain has held the city since 1496 despite many attacks by Moroccans; Morocco continues to object to Spanish control of Melilla. Melilla was one of the sites in Spanish Morocco where the revolt that became (1936) the Spanish civil war broke out. See also Ceuta.
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