TARIFA, a seaport of Spain, in the province of Cadiz, at the extreme south point of the Peninsula, 21 m. by rail W.S.W. of Gibraltar. Pop. (1900) 11,723. The town is nearly quadrangular, with narrow, crooked streets, and is still surrounded by its old Moorish walls. On its east side, just within these, stands the citadel. The rocky island in front of the town, connected with the mainland by a causeway, is strongly fortified; on the south side there is a modern lighthouse. Anchovy and tunny fishing is carried on, and there is some coasting trade, chiefly in live stock, salt fish and fruit. The manufactures (leather and earthenware) are unimportant. The oranges of Tarifa are famed for their sweetness.
Tarifa is the Julia Joza of Strabo, between Gades and Belon. According to that writer, it was colonized by Romans and the removed inhabitants of Zelis in Mauretania Tingitana. The Julia Transducta or Traducta of coins and of Ptolemy appears to be the same place. Its present name, dating from early in the 8th century, is derived from Tarif, whom Tariq sent to Spain in command of the advance-guard of the Moorish invaders (see CALIPHATE and Spain: History). In 1292 Tarifa was taken by Sancho IV. of Castile from the Moors, who made several subsequent attempts to recapture it. In the defence of Tarifa Alphonso XI. gained the battle of Salado, a short distance to the westward, in 1340. In 1812 a French force of 10,000 men under Generals Victor and Laval vainly endeavoured to capture Tarifa, which was garrisoned by 2500 troops (mostly British) under General Gough.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)