Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera
|Adjacent bodies of water||Mediterranean Sea|
|Area||1.9 ha (4.7 acres)|
|Plazas de soberanía|
Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera (Spanish pronunciation: [peˈɲon de ˈβeleθ ðe la ɣoˈmeɾa]; Arabic: حجر بديس, romanized: Hajar Badis) is a Spanish exclave and rocky tied island, in the western 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. The tied island was named Hajar Badis (Rock of Badis) and was connected to the town of Badis.
Vélez de la Gomera, along with La Isleta, is a premodern overseas possession known as a plaza de soberanía. It is administered by the Spanish central government and has a population consisting only of a small number of Spanish military personnel.
Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera is located 119 km (73.94 mi) southeast of Ceuta. It was a natural island in the Alboran Sea until 1934, when a huge thunderstorm washed large quantities of sand into the short channel between the island and the African continent. The channel was turned into a tombolo and the island became a peninsula, connected to the Moroccan coast by an 85 m (278.87 ft) long sandy isthmus, which is the world's shortest single land-border segment. With a length of 400 m (1,312.34 ft) northwest-southeast and a width of up to 100 m (328.08 ft), it covers about 19,000 m2 or 1.9 ha.
Portugal and Spain passed an agreement in 1496 in which they effectively established their zones of influence on the North African coast. As a result, Spain could only occupy territory east of Peñón de Vélez. This restriction ended with the Iberian Union of Portugal and Spain under Felipe II after the 1578 Battle of Alcácer Quibir, when Spain started to take direct actions in Morocco, as in the occupation of Larache.
In 1508, Spain launched a successful expedition under the command of Pedro Navarro to take the Peñón located near Badis, held by pirates who were constantly attacking and looting the coast of Southern Spain.
In 1522, Spain lost the Peñón to a Moroccan Berber attack that resulted in the deaths of the whole Spanish garrison. Ali Abu Hassun, the new Wattasid ruler of Morocco in 1554, then gave the Peñón to Ottoman troops who had assisted him in gaining the throne.
The Ottomans used it as a base for corsairs operating in the region of the Strait of Gibraltar. The Saadid sultan Abdallah al-Ghalib was alarmed by this activity, fearing that the Ottomans might use the town of Badis as a base from which to undertake the conquest of Morocco. In 1564, he forced the Moroccans to evacuate the town and the Peñón, which he handed over to the Spaniards. The Moroccan population retired to the kasbah of Senada.
The territory is reached primarily by helicopter via a helipad located on the upper sections. A landing area is located on the south end near the land entrance to Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera.
- Former island
- List of Spanish colonial wars in Morocco
- List of islands of Spain
- Morocco–Spain border
- Plazas de soberanía
- Spanish Protectorate of Morocco
- European enclaves in North Africa before 1830
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