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History of Western Sahara

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Present Situation

Morocco virtually annexed the northern two-thirds of Western Sahara (formerly Spanish Sahara) in 1976, and the rest of the territory in 1979, following Mauritania's withdrawal. A guerrilla war with the Polisario Front contesting Rabat's sovereignty ended in a 1991 cease fire; a referendum on final status has been repeatedly postponed and is not expected to occur until at least 2002.

Background

The Western Sahara has never been a country in the Western Nationalist sense of the word. Before the camel was introduced in north africa at the beginning of the first millennium AD, life in the Sahara was almost impossible. The camel revolution made this region one of the main routes of transport of the world. Salt and gold were transported between North Africa and West Africa.

Islam arrived in the 8th century and was an immediate success. Al-Murabitun, also known as the Almoravides, were a group of strict Koranic interpreters from this region who ended up controlling all of North Africa.

More recently, Ma-a-Aynayn[?] started a Jihad against the French in the 1910s. He was finally beaten when he tried to conquer Marrakesh.

See also : Western Sahara



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