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Western Sahara, formerly Spanish Sahara

Western Sahara was a Spanish colony known as Spanish Sahara from 1884, and comprised two territories, Rio de Oro and Saguia el Hamra. The colony was claimed by Morocco from 1957 and by Mauritania from 1960. Spain withdrew in 1976 and area was partitioned between the two claimants, Morocco annexing the northern two-thirds and Mauritania taking the southern one-third. As a result of a guerilla war waged by the Polisario Front for the independence of the territory, Mauritania withdrew in 1979, whereupon Morocco annexed the remainder of the territory. Morocco's annexation failed to receive widespread international recognition and many countries recognise the Saharan Arab Democratic Republic declared by Polisario, although most of the country remains in Moroccan hands.


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