Peñón de Alhucemas

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Peñón de Alhucemas (Spanish pronunciation: [peˈɲon de aluˈθemas]), or "Lavender Rock", is one of the Spanish plazas de soberanía just off the Moroccan coast. It is also one of several Peñónes, or rock-fortresses, on the coast of Northern Africa.

Peñón de Alhucemas and the islets of "Isla de Mar" and "Isla de Tierra" slightly to the west form the Alhucemas Islands. They are located 300 m (984 feet) off the Moroccan town of Al Hoceima or Alhucemas (former Villa Sanjurjo), 146 km (96 mi) east of Ceuta and 84 km (62 mi) west of Melilla.

Peñón de Alhucemas is a tiny rock island, measuring 220 meters east-west and up to 84 meters north-south, with an area 1.5 ha or 0.015 km², and a height of 27 meters (88 ft). The rock is entirely occupied by a fort, several houses, and a church.

Isla de Tierra is a steep, 11 m (33 ft) high rocky platform, 114 meters north of the Moroccan beach, 192 meters long northeast-southwest, and up to 87 meters wide, yielding an area of 1.7 ha or 0.017 km².

Isla de Mar is a flat, 4 m (12 ft) high islet, with its western end 93 meters north of Isla de Tierra, 245 meters long east-west, up to 70 meters wide, yielding an area of 1.4 ha or 0.014 km².

The aggregate land area of the group of three islands is 4.6 ha or 0.046 km².

Spanish rule dates back to 1559, when several territories belonging to the Saadi dynasty were given to Spain in exchange for help in defending it against Ottoman armies. In 1673, Spain sent a garrison to the island of Peñón de Alhucemas, and it has been permanently occupied since. Today, the fort which is built on it hosts a 60 man Spanish military garrison.

The islands are also located near the landing place used by the Spanish and French expeditionary forces in 1925, during the Rif War.

Spanish sovereignty over the islets has been contested by Morocco since its independence in 1956.

See also

Islas Chafarinas · Peñón de Alhucemas · Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera

Coordinates: 35°13′N 3°53′W / 35.217°N 3.883°W / 35.217; -3.883

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