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Western Sahara  
   
[Spain
                                    1945-1977]
              to 26 Feb 1976 (Spain)
 
[Flag of
                                    Western Sahara]
                Adopted 27 Feb 1976 SADR Flag 
 
[ flag
                                    of Western Sahara (Reverse)]
                          SADR Flag Reverse
[Flag of
                                    Western Sahara (alternate)]
                       SADR Flag (Alternate)
 
[Flag of
                                    Morocco]
          From 26 Feb 1976 (Morocco)

 
Map of Western Sahara Hear National Anthem
"Ya Baniy As-Sahara"
(O Sons of the Sahara)

Text of National Anthem
Adopted 1976
Constitution
  (28 Feb 1976/4 Sep 1999;
in French)
Capital: Laayoune
(El-Aaiún)
(Villa Cisneros 1884-1934,
Cabo Juby 1934-1949,
Villa Bens 1949-1958)
SADR Capital: Bir Lehlou
(provisional) (El Aaiun official;
Polisario HQ: Tindouf, Algeria)
Currency: Moroccan Dirham
(MAD); SADR Currency:
 Algerian  Dinar (DZD) and
 from 1990 
Saharawi Peseta
 (EHP); 1884-1976 Spanish
Peseta (ESP)
SADR National Holiday:
27 Feb (1976)

Independence Day
Population: 538,811 (2013 est.)
GDP: $906.5 million (2007) Exports: $ N/A
Imports: $ N/A
Ethnic groups: Arab, Berber (Amazigh)
Moroccan Armed Forces: 160,000 (2004)
POLISARIO Armed Forces: 36,000 (2002 est.)
UN MINURSO Force: 213 (2014)
Morocco Controls Defense

Merchant marine: None (2010)
Religions: Muslim 99.4%, Christian 0.16%,
non-religious 0.31% (2000)
International Organizations/Treaties SADR: AU, CAN (observer), IFRCS (observer), NAM (guest), WFTU
Western Sahara
Index
Chronology
11th cent. - 19th cent.    Part of Morocco.
1478 - 1526                Castile/Spanish settlement at Santa Cruz de la
                            
Mar Pequeña (the modern location of which
                            
remains disputed).
 7 Jun 1494                Spanish-Portuguese Treaty of Tordesillas, Portugal
                             agrees Spain has the right to occupy R
ío de Oro
                             between Cape Bojador (
Boujador) and Cape Blanc.
26 Apr 1860                Río de Oro and Ifni ceded to Spain by Morocco
                             (not occupied by Spain)
.
19 Apr 1879                Donald Mackenzie and the North-West Africa Company
                             Ltd. establish a trading post at Cape Juby
                             (Tarfaya), named Port Victoria, under agreement
                             with Sheikh Mohamed bin Beyruk (d. 1883).
 9 Feb 1883                The Sociedad Española de Africanistas y Colonistas
                             & Compañía Mercantil Hispano-Africana
anchors
                             the Ines, a warehouse on pontoons, off the
                             Río de Oro coast at future Villa Cisneros.
 3 Nov 1884                Villa Cisneros
(Dakhla) settlement founded.
28 Nov 1884                Treaty of protection signed with the chieftains
                             of Saharawi tribes in Río de Oro.
26 Dec 1884                Spain formally declares a protectorate over the
                             Río de Oro coast between Cape Blanc (20° 51'N)
                             and Cape Bojador (26° 8'N).
26 Feb 1885                Spanish claim to Río de Oro recognized by Treaty
                             of Berlin.
10 Jul 1885                Spanish protectorate declared over the coast from
                             Cape Bojador to Cape Blanc.
 6 Apr 1887 - 29 Aug 1934  Spanish Río de Oro coast protectorate is
                             subordinate to captains-general of Canary Islands
24 Feb 1895                Sultan of Morocco cedes Cape Juby to Spain.
13 Mar 1895                Anglo-Moroccan Agreement sells the North-West
                             Africa Company post at Cape Juby to Morocco.
27 Jun 1900                Franco-Spanish Convention (together with a
                             further convention on 27 Nov 1912) establishes
                             the borders of Spanish Sahara with Mauritania.
1904 - Jul 1909            Rebellion of Muhamed Mustafa wuld Sheikh Muhammad
                             Fadil bin Mamin al-Qalqami "Ma´ al-`Aynayn"
                             (b. 1831 - d. 1910) at Smara in Saguia el Hamra.
 3 Oct 1904                Saguia el Hamra annexed by Spain.
27 Nov 1912 -  7 Apr 1956  Spanish Morocco protectorate in so-called Southern
                             Zone (Cape Juby [Tarfaya] strip, Tétouan and Rif)
29 Jul 1916                Spain occupies Cape Juby (1949 renamed Villa Bens)
                             (Tarfaya).
29 Nov 1920                Spain occupies La Agüera (Lagouira).
15 Jul 1934                Spain occupies Smara and goes on to occupy Aargub
                             and Daora in the interior of the Sahara.
29 Aug 1934                The High Commissioners for Spanish Morocco become
                             governors-general of Infi,
Saguia el Hamra and
                             Río de Oro (Territory of Sahara; from 17 May 1940
                             Territories of Ifni and Sahara).
Sep 1936                   Spanish Nationalist forces take control.
1938                       Spain establishes El Aaiún (Laayoune).
20 Jul 1946                Spanish West Africa (África Occidental Española)
                             (Ifni, R
ío de Oro, Saguia el Hamra) established.
 1 Jul 1957                Mauritania first officially claims Western Sahara.
12 Nov 1957                Morocco officially claims all Spanish West Africa.
23 Nov 1957 - 25 Feb 1958  Moroccan irregular occupation of parts of Spanish
                             Sahara (Edchera to 13 Jan 1958, Tan-Tan to Feb
                             1958, Tafurdat and Smara to 10 Feb 1958, Bir
                             Nazaran and Ausert to 21 Feb 1958).
10 Jan 1958                Spanish Sahara (Sáhara Español) overseas province
                             of Spain (Saguia el Hamra and Rio de Oro).
 2 Apr 1958                Tarfaya (Cape Juby) & Tan-tan (the Cabe Juby strip,
                             between Oued Draa & parallel of 27° 40') restored
                             to Morocco by Spain in Treaty of Angra de Cintra.
14 Dec 1961               
Spanish Sahara renamed Sahara.
10 May 1973                Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el Hamra
                             and Rio de Oro (Polisario) formed.
16 Oct 1975                International Court of Justice advisory opinion
                             declares that Western Sahara has historical links
                             with Morocco and Mauritania, but contradicts
                             Moroccan and Mauritanian claims to sovereignty
                             over Sahara and rejects the view of the territory
                             as terra nullis upon colonization, rather that it
                             belonged to its inhabitants.
31 Oct 1975                Morocco occupies outposts evacuated by Spain.
 6 Nov 1975                Morocco launches the "Green March" into Sahara.
19 Nov 1975                Spain agrees to establish an interim tripartite
                            (Spain-Morocco-Mauritania) administration, with
                             Spanish administration terminated by 28 Feb 1976.
11 Dec 1975                Morocco occupies El Aaiún (Laayoune) and proclaims
                             Sahara annexed.
17 Dec 1975                Mauritania occupies La Agüera (Lagouira).
26 Feb 1976                Spain terminates its administration.
27 Feb 1976                Saharan (Sahrawi) Arab Democratic Republic (SADR)¹
                             proclaimed by Polisario in interior regions.
14 Apr 1976                Sahara is partitioned between Morocco and
                             Mauritania (Mauritanian sector is renamed Tiris
                             el Gharbia; the Moroccan sector is organized into
                             Boujdour, Laayoune and Es-Semara provinces).
 5 Aug 1979                Mauritanian peace agreement with the SADR,
                            
Mauritania evacuates Western Sahara.
14 Aug 1979                Former Mauritanian territory is annexed by Morocco.
 2 Mar 1981                Morocco completes first stretch of berm (defensive
                             wall) between Smara and the Zini Mountains.
 6 Sep 1991 -              United Nations monitored cease-fire implemented.
 SADR Map
Historical Maps of
Western Sahara
Map of Expansion
of Moroccan
Control

(1982-1989)
SADR Diplomatic
Recognition List
 
 
 
 
 
 

Governors-general of the Territories of Ifni, Spanish Sahara and Rio de Oro
(from 20 Jul 1946,
Governors-general of Spanish West Africa)
29 Aug 1934 -  7 Apr 1956 
the Spanish High Commissioners
                           for
Morocco

Commandant
 3 Nov 1884 - 10 Jul 1885  Emilio Bonelli Hernando            (b. 1855 - d. 1926)
Royal Commissioner
on the West Coast of Africa
10 Jul 1885 -  6 Apr 1887  Emilio Bonelli Hernando            (s.a.)
                            
(arrives in Rio de Oro on 26 Aug 1885)
Political and Military Subgovernors
of Rio de Oro
(subordinated to the captains-general of the Canary Islands)
 6 Apr 1887 - bf.1902      Emilio Bonelli Hernando            (s.a.)
1902 -  1 Dec 1903         Ángel Villalobos
 1 Dec 1903 - 1913         Francisco Bens Argandoña           (b. 1867 - d. 1949)
Delegates of the High Commissioner in the Southern Zone of the Spanish
Protectorate in Morocco
(subordinated to Spanish High Commissioners for Morocco)
1913 -  7 Nov 1925         Francisco Bens Argandoña           (s.a.)

 7 Nov 1925 - 19 Jun 1932  Guillermo de la Peña Cusi
19 Jun 1932 - 30 Aug 1933  Eduardo Canizares Navarro          (d. 1980)
30 Aug 1933 -  1 Jul 1934  José González Deleito              (d. 1959)
 1 Jul 1934 - 29 Aug 1934  Benigno Martínez Portillo          (d. 1936)
Government delegates in the Sahara
(subordinated to Spanish High Commissioners for Morocco)
29 Aug 1934 -  4 May 1936  Benigno Martínez Portillo          (s.a.)

 4 May 1936 -  7 Aug 1936  Carlos Pedemonte Sabin             (d. c.1936)
 7 Aug 1936 - 12 Mar 1937  Rafael Gallego Sainz               (b. 1898 - d. 1937)
12 Mar 1937 - 17 May 1940  Antonio de Oro Pulido              (b. 1904 - d. 1940)
Politico-Military Governor of Ifni and the Sahara and Delegate of the High
Commissioner in the
Southern Zone of the Spanish Protectorate in Morocco
(subordinated to Spanish High Commissioners for Morocco)
17 May 1940 - 24 Jul 1946
  José Bermejo López                 (b. 1894 - d. 1971)
Governors of the Government of Spanish West Africa
24 Jul 1946 - 17 Aug 1949  José Bermejo López                 (s.a.)

17 Aug 1949 - 29 Mar 1952  Francisco Rosaleny Burguet
29 Mar 1952 - 26 Feb 1954  Venancio Tutor Gil                 (d. 1959)
26 Feb 1954 - 23 May 1957  Ramón Pardo de Santayana y Suárez  (d. 1967)
23 May 1957 - 10 Jan 1958  Mariano Gómez Zamalloa y Quirce    (b. 1897 - d. 1973)
Governors-general of Spanish Sahara
10 Jan 1958 - 22 Jul 1958  José Héctor Vázquez                (b. 1903 - d. 1977)
27 Jul 1958 -  6 Oct 1961  Mariano Alonso Alonso              (b. 1899 - d. 1974)
13 Oct 1961 - 21 Feb 1964  Pedro Latorre Alcubierre           (b. 1900 - d. 1995)
 6 Mar 1964 -  5 Nov 1965  Joaquín Agulla y Jiménez-Coronado  (b. 1903 - d. 1971)
 5 Nov 1965 - 26 Nov 1965  Adolfo Artalejo Campos             (d. 1965)
 5 Dec 1965 -  2 Feb 1967  Ángel Enríquez Larrondo            (b. 1905 - d. 1997)
18 Feb 1967 -  4 Mar 1971  José María Pérez de Lema Tejero    (b. 1908 - d. 1984)
 4 Mar 1971 -  6 Jun 1974  Fernando de Santiago y Díaz de     (b. 1910 - d. 1994)
                             Mendívil 
 6 Jun 1974 -  6 Feb 1976  Federico Gómez de Salazar y Nieto  (b. 1912 - d. 2006)
23 Jan 1976 - 26 Feb 1976  Representatives in the Interim
                           Tripartite Administration

                           + Rafael de Valdés Iglesias (Spain)(b. 1923 - d. 1995) 
                           + Ahmed Bensouda (Morocco)         (b. 1920 - d. 2008)
                           + Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh         (b. 1938)
                             Abdellahi (Mauritania)
Chairmen of the Revolutionary Council
27 Feb 1976 -  9 Jun 1976  El Wali Mustafa Sayed              (b. 1948 - d. 1976)  POLISARIO
10 Jun 1976 - 30 Aug 1976  Mahfoud Ali Beiba (acting)         (b. 1953 - d. 2010)  POLISARIO
Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council
30 Aug 1976 - 16 Oct 1982  Mohamed Abdelaziz                  (b. 1947)            POLISARIO
President
16 Oct 1982 -              Mohamed Abdelaziz                  (s.a.)               POLISARIO

Prime ministers
 5 Mar 1976 -  4 Nov 1982  Mohamed Lamine Ould Ahmed          (b. 1947)            POLISARIO
                             (1st time) 
 4 Nov 1982 - 18 Dec 1985  Mahfoud Ali Beiba (1st time)       (s.a.)               POLISARIO
18 Dec 1985 - 16 Aug 1988  Mohamed Lamine Ould Ahmed          (s.a.)               POLISARIO
                             (2nd time) 
16 Aug 1988 - 18 Sep 1993  Mahfoud Ali Beiba (2nd time)       (s.a.)               POLISARIO
19 Sep 1993 -  8 Sep 1995  Bushraya Hammudi Bayun (1st time)                       POLISARIO
                             (= Bouchraya Hammoudi Beyoun)
 8 Sep 1995 - 10 Feb 1999  Mahfoud Ali Beiba (3rd time)       (s.a.)               POLISARIO
10 Feb 1999 - 29 Oct 2003  Bushraya Hammudi Bayun (2nd time)                       POLISARIO
29 Oct 2003 -              Abdelkader Taleb Omar              (b. 1951)            POLISARIO


Commanders of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO)

Jun 1991 - Apr 1992        Armand Roy (Canada)
Apr 1992 - Oct 1992        Luis Block Urban (Peru)(acting)
 1 Oct 1992 - 30 Mar 1996  André Van Baelen (Belgium)      
 1 Apr 1996 - 30 Nov 1996  José Eduardo Garcia Léandro        (b. 1940)
                             (Portugal)
30 Nov 1996 - 21 Jul 1997  Jorge Barroso de Moura (Portugal)  (b. 1939)
28 Jul 1997 - 28 Oct 1999  Bernd S. Lubenik (Austria)
16 Nov 1999 - 10 Aug 2002  Claude Buze (Belgium)              (b. 1944)
11 Aug 2002 - 9 Sep 2005   György Száraz (Hungary)            (b. 1946?)
Aug 2005 - Aug 2007        Kurt Mosgaard (Denmark)
                             (acting to 11 Sep 2005)
28 Aug 2007 -  4 Apr 2011  Jingmin Zhao (China)               (b. 1954)
10 Apr 2011 - 23 Jul 2013  Abdul Hafiz (Bangladesh)           (b. 1957)
27 Aug 2013 -              Imam Edy Mulyono (Indonesia)       (b. 1961)

 ¹Morocco retains de facto control, however the SADR is currently has diplomatic relations and is recognized by 45 countries and the African Union (1982 [to 2002 Organization of African Unity]): Algeria (1976), Angola (1976), Belize (1986), Bolivia (1982), Botswana (1980), Cape Verde (1979-2007, 2012), Chad (1980-1997, 2007), Cuba (1980), East Timor (2002), Ecuador (1983-2004, 2006), El Salvador (1989-97, 2009), Ethiopia (1979), Ghana (1979), Guyana (1979), Honduras (1989), Iran (1980), Jamaica (1979), Laos (1979), Kenya (2005-2006, 2014), Lesotho (1979), Libya (1980), Malawi (1994-2002, 2008, 2012), Mali (1984), Mauritania (1984), Mexico (1979), Mozambique (1976), Namibia (1990), Nicaragua (1979-2000, 2007), Nigeria (1984), North Korea (1976), Rwanda (1976), Sierra Leone (1980-2003, 2011), South Africa (2004), South Sudan (2011), Suriname (1982), Syria (1980), Tanzania (1978), Trinidad & Tobago (1986), Uganda (1979), Uruguay (2005), Vanuatu (1980-2000, 2008), Venezuela (1982), Vietnam (1979), Zambia (1979-2011, 2012), Zimbabwe (1980);
--- former diplomatic recognitions: Afghanistan (1979-2002), Albania (1987-2004), Antigua & Barbuda (1987-2010), Barbados (1988-2013), Benin (1976-97), Burkina Faso (1984-96), Burundi (1976-2006, 2008-10), Cambodia (1979-2006), Colombia (1985-2000), Congo (Brazzaville) (1978-96), Costa Rica (1980-2000), Dominica (1979-2010), Dominican Republic (1986-2002), Equatorial Guinea (1978-80), Grenada (1979-2010), Guatemala (1986-98), Guinea-Bissau (1976-97, 2009-10), Haiti (2006-13), India (1985-2000), Kiribati (1981-2000), Liberia (1985-97), Madagascar (1976-2005), Mauritius (1982-2014), Nauru (1981-2000), Panama (1978-2013), Papua New Guinea (1981-2011), Paraguay (2000, 2008-2014), Peru (1984-96), St. Kitts & Nevis (1987-2010), St. Lucia (1979-2010), St. Vincent & the Grenadines (2002-13), São Tomé & Príncipe (1978-96), Seychelles (1977-2008), Solomon Islands (1981-89), South Yemen (1977-90), Swaziland (1980-97), Togo (1976-97), Tuvalu (1981-2000), Yugoslavia ([from 2003 Serbia & Montenegro] 1984-2004)

Territorial Disputes: Morocco claims and administers Western Sahara, whose sovereignty remains unresolved; UN-administered cease-fire has remained in effect since 6 Sep 1991, administered by the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), but attempts to hold a referendum have failed and parties thus far have rejected all brokered proposals. Many neighboring states reject Moroccan administration of Western Sahara; several states have extended diplomatic relations to the "Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic" represented by the Polisario Front in exile in Algeria, while others recognize Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara; most of the approximately 90,000 Sahrawi refugees have been sheltered in camps in Tindouf, Algeria since the 1980s.

Party abbreviation: POLISARIO = Frente Popular de Liberación de Seguía el-Hamra y Río de Oro/ al-Jabhat Al-Sha'abiyah Li-Tahrir Saqiya al-Hamra'a wa Wadi al-Dhahab (Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el Hamra and Rio de Oro, Sahrawi nationalist, democratic socialist, Islamic socialist, only legal party of SADR, est.1973)







© Ben Cahoon