14 Facts About Western Sahara


Western Sahara is a disputed territory on the northwest coast and in the Maghreb region of North and West Africa.

FactSnippet No. 520,281

Western Sahara is located on the northwest coast in West Africa and on the cusp of North Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean to the northwest, Morocco proper to the north-northeast, Algeria to the east-northeast, and Mauritania to the east and south.

FactSnippet No. 520,282

Western Sahara contains four terrestrial ecoregions: Saharan halophytics, Mediterranean acacia-argania dry woodlands and succulent thickets, Atlantic coastal desert, and North Saharan steppe and woodlands.

FactSnippet No. 520,283

Western Sahara's resignation followed several months of failed attempts to get Morocco to enter into formal negotiations on the plan, but he was met with rejection.

FactSnippet No. 520,284

Sovereignty over Western Sahara is contested between Morocco and the Polisario Front and its legal status remains unresolved.

FactSnippet No. 520,285

The Morocco-controlled parts of Western Sahara are divided into several provinces that are treated as integral parts of the kingdom.

FactSnippet No. 520,286

Western Sahara conflict has resulted in severe human-rights abuses, constantly reported by external reporters and human rights activists, most notably the displacement of tens of thousands of Sahrawi civilians from the country, the expulsion of tens of thousands of Moroccan civilians by the Algerian government from Algeria, and numerous casualties of war and repression.

FactSnippet No. 520,287

Western Sahara was partitioned between Morocco and Mauritania in April 1976, with Morocco acquiring the northern two-thirds of the territory.

FactSnippet No. 520,288

The official Moroccan government name for Western Sahara is the "Southern Provinces", consisting of the Rio de Oro and Saguia el-Hamra regions.

FactSnippet No. 520,289

Western Sahara's economy is based almost entirely on fishing, which employs two-thirds of its workforce, with mining, agriculture and tourism providing modest additional income.

FactSnippet No. 520,290

In 2011, leaked United States diplomatic cables revealed that the territory is somewhat of an economic burden for Morocco; the Moroccan US$800 million subsidy program to Western Sahara was said to be one of the larger per-capita aid programs in history.

FactSnippet No. 520,291

Indigenous population of Western Sahara is usually known in Western media as Sahrawis, but they are referred to in Morocco as "Southerners" or "Southern Berbers".

FactSnippet No. 520,292

Major ethnic group of Western Sahara are the Sahrawis, a nomadic or Bedouin ethnic group speaking the Hassaniya dialect of Arabic, spoken in much of Mauritania.

FactSnippet No. 520,293

ARTifariti, the International Art and Human Rights Meeting in Western Sahara, is an annual art workshop set up in the Liberated Zone and refugee camps, specifically in Tifariti, that brings artists from all over the world.

FactSnippet No. 520,294