A kingdom in northwestern Africa, bordering on the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Once a powerful state embracing much of Spain and North Africa in the 12th century, Moroccan power declined thereafter. European encroachment led to the division of the country into French (southern) and Spanish (northern) protectorates in 1912, although tribal resistance continued for two more decades. In 1956, the two zones were reunited and Morocco again became independent. Morocco has since expanded by absorbing Tangier (1956), Ifni (1969), the northern two-thirds of the Spanish Sahara (1976) and the southern portion of the Spanish Sahara in 1980. Morocco waged a bitter war in the former Spanish Sahara against the Polisario Front, which claims independence for the region, until 1990. A United Nations-sponsored referendum on self-determination for the region has not yet taken place.
A former Spanish possession in northwestern Africa, comprising Cape Juby, La Aguera and Rio de Oro. A large (100,000 square mile), sparsely populated (12,793 in 1960) area, the Spanish Sahara is mostly desert and was of little interest to outsiders until the discovery of rich phosphate deposits. From the 1960s, Morocco, Mauritania and Algeria all pressed claims to the area. In November 1975, thousands of unarmed Moroccans crossed into the territory (the "Green March"), and in February 1976, Spain withdrew from the colony. The Spanish Sahara was divided between Morocco and Mauritania, although a nationalist group, Polisario, declared the area independent and, with Algerian support, continued to wage a guerrilla war against Morocco and Mauritania. In 1980, Mauritania made peace with Polisario and gave up its portion of the area to Morocco. Fighting between Polisario and Morocco continues.
Former French protectorate in northwest Africa. The greater part of Morocco became a French protectorate in 1912. In 1956, the French and Spanish zones were united as the independent kingdom of Morocco.
TANGIER INTERNATIONAL CITY
Stamps issued: 1948-1950
In 1923, Great Britain, France and Spain declared Tangier, in northern Morocco, an international zone. Stamps of French Morocco and Spanish Morocco, as well as special British, French and Spanish issues for Tangier, were used. In 1957, the city was annexed by Morocco.
A Spanish possession in the western Sahara on the Atlantic coast, opposite the Canary Islands. Secured by agreement with France, Spanish troops occupied Cape Juby in 1916, at which time overprinted stamps of Rio de Oro were issued. From 1916 to 1919, stamps of Rio de Oro and Spanish Morocco were used in the area. In January 1919, overprinted stamps again appeared, and these remained in use until 1948, when they were replaced by those of the Spanish Sahara.