Spanish Sahara
History of Northern Africa

Western Sahara since 1976

When Spanish troops withdrew from the Western Sahara in 1976, 300,000 Moroccans staged a march into the territory - ca. 3 times the territory's entire population. Morocco, which does have legitimate historical claims over the territory, signed a treaty with Mauretania, partitioning the territory.
Yet a considerable segment of the Saharouis were not willing to accept either Mauretanian nor Moroccan rule. Refugees fled to Algeria, from were the POLISARIO FRONT organized a guerilla war against the occupying forces. In 1979, Mauretania withdrew from it's section of the Western Sahara, which then also was occupied by Moroccan troops; Morocco formally annexed the entire Western Sahara (1979). UN peacekeepers have been sent to the Western Sahara, and negotiations were held aiming at a referendum over the territory's future. Such a referendum has been delayed repeatedly, while the area continuously is under Moroccan administration.
Meanwhile, The SAHARAN DEMOCRATIC ARABIC REPUBLIC, proclaimed in exile in 1976, is recognized by 77 governments worldwide. It's seat is Algiers, it's president MAHFOUD ALI BEIBA (since 1995).

History of the Western Sahara, from Infoplease
CASCON Case WES : Western Sahara 1973-, by L.P. Bloomfield, L. Moulton
REFERENCE Article : Spain : Western Sahara, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1976-1977 p.1321, 1978-1979 pp.1101-1102, 1979-1980 pp.1110-1111, 1980-1981 pp.1106-1107, 1981-1982 pp.1112-1113, 1983-1984 p.1111, 1984-1985 pp.1108-1109, 1985-1986 pp.1109-1110, 1986-1987 pp.1109-1110, 1987-1988 p.1115, 1988-1989 p.1119, 1989-1990 p.1126, 1990-1991 p.1126, 1991-1992 p.1129, 1992-1993 pp.1220-1221, 1993-1994 pp.1222-1223, 1994-1995 pp.1222-1223 [G]
Article : Morocco : Western Sahara, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1995-1996 pp.968-969, 1996-1997 pp.921-922, 1997-1998 pp.928-929, 1998-1999 pp.996-997, 2000 p.1134, 2001 p.1106, 2002 pp.1152-1153, 2003 pp.1152-1153, 2004 pp.1156-1157, 2005 pp.1158-1164, 2006 pp.1170-1171 [G]
Article : Sahara, Western, in : The World in Figures 1st ed. 1976 p.90, 2nd ed. 1978 p.90, 4th ed. 1984 pp.89 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on May 22nd 2001, last revised on April 9th 2007

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