Site hosted by Angelfire.com: Build your free website today!

State

Capital

Western Sahara*

El Aiun

Currency unit

Moroccan Dirham

Connections

Arabs

Mauretania

Morocco

North Africa

Sahel

 War

 Politics

 Economics

 Green

 Rights

History

This area is ethnically part of the Maghrib, the Arab-Berber north west Africa. Geographically it is part of the extremely dry Sahara. The early Spanish and Portuguese explorers gave it the name Rio de Oro - Gold River - because they believed it might be the source of the gold Europe had been importing from Africa since at least early medieval times. (The gold actually came from Ghana and Guinea).

From 1884 it was a colony of Spain. In 1975 before Spain left the territory the Spanish government, still controlled by General Franco, made an agreement with Morocco and Mauritania by which the territory was to be split between Morocco and Mauritania. Morocco had long claimed both territories. Spain left in 1976.

The local people were not consulted. Some of them wanted independence of both the neighbors. They formed the POLISARIO - a liberation front - in 1970 which was supported by Algeria. Thus the war between Polisario and Morocco was to some extent a proxy war between Algeria and Morocco.

Mauritania gave up in 1979 and transferred its share of Western Sahara to POLISARIO but Morocco occupied the land almost at once. The main economic cause of the war is the presence of large deposits of phosphate needed for world agriculture (though world prices have been depressed in recent years).

In practice Morocco seems to be well in possession and despite POLISARIO's recognition by the OAU as the Saharan Democratic Republic it seems unlikely to eject the Moroccans. In 1992-3 the UN tried to organize a referendum. Morocco is encouraging people to move there so that if the referendum takes place Moroccan citizens will swamp the locals and vote for incorporation into Morocco. In this case it is quite likely that POLISARIO would not accept the result and thus the war would continue.

Languages

Arabic

Berber langs.

 History

 Economics

 Green

 Rights

Politics

A phantom state with some support from Algeria. Will the new king of Morocco succeed in bringing the revolt to an end, with its final incorporation into Morocco?

 History

 Politics

 Green

 Rights

Economics

Phosphate mines

 History

 Politics

 Economics

 Rights

Green/Ecology

Potentially this could be the site of OTEC (Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion) for energy and desalinated water, and also of spirulina hydroponics, using the desalinated water, to extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

 History

 Politics

 Economics

 Green

Human Rights

Bad (see Morocco ). In early 2002 the POLISARIO released some Moroccan Prisoners of war who had been held in some cases for 25 years.

Climate effects

Last revised 19/10/05


Northern Africa


Africa


World Info


Home

Return to the top

eXTReMe Tracker