Morocco annexed two thirds of Western Sahara in 1976.
Morocco claimed the rest of the territory in 1979 after the withdrawal of Mauritania.
A 1991 UN brokered ceasefire ended a guerrilla war waged by Polisario Front contesting Rabat’s sovereignty.
Representatives of the Morocco Government have met the Polisario Front since June 2007 to negotiate the status of Western Sahara.
Struggle over the control of Western Sahara continues.
Around 46 countries recognise Western Sahara as a sovereign state.
Morocco still considers Western Sahara part of the Morocco kingdom.
Algeria supports independence of Western Sahara diplomatically.
UN placed Western Sahara on the list of territories to be decolonised.
Western Sahara is a member of the Africa Union.
Polisario Front maintains that Western Sahara is an occupied territory.
Form of Government
Legal status still not fully recognised but Polisario's Government-in-exile was seated as an Organisation of African Unity (OAU) member in 1984
President, Prime Minister, Parliament
Manpower fit for military service: 52,267 males, 59,221 females.
Expenditures: Statistics not available
Branches: Not very clear
President Mohammed Abdelaziz
Altitude: 72 metres
Population: 185,929 people
Size: 548,000 (July 2011)
Life expectancy: 54.32 years
Gender Make-Up: Males 49.72 per cent, Females 50.28 per cent
GDP per capita
Land boundaries: Algeria 42km, Mauritania 1,561km, Morocco 443km
Hassaniya Arabic, Moroccan Arabic
Islam-99.4 %, Christianity- 0.16 %, Baha''i' Faith
Phosphates, Iron ore
Arable land: 0.02%
Permanent crops: 0%
Other: 99.98% (2005)
Main Port: Port of Dakhla
Airport: Dakhla Airport located in Dakhla.
Lack of enough drinking water
Lack of arable land
Conflicts in the country have resulted in severe human rights abuses
Displacement of tens of thousands of Sahrawi civilians from the country.
Legal status and sovereignty of the country still unresolved.
Stalling of the referendum to determine the country’s legal status, whether to go independent or integrate the country into Morocco.
Pastoral nomadism, fishing, and phosphate mining are the main sources of income for the population
Morocco controls trade and all economic activities in Western Sahara.
Displacement of tens of thousands of Sahrawi civilians from the country by the Sahara conflict.
Food insecurity as most of the land cannot support agriculture.
With Morocco’s claims to Western Sahara, sovereignty remains unresolved.
Since September 1991, a UN-administered ceasefire has been in effect.
Several states have extended diplomatic relations to the "Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic" represented by the Polisario Front in exile in Algeria, while others recognise Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara.
Call for independence from Morocco while Morocco prefers integration of the country into the Kingdom.
The Major Conflicts
Who: Polisario Front against Spanish colonisers.
Why: To gain independence.
Outcome: Withdrawal of the Spanish rulers.
Who: Morocco and Mauritania versus Polisario Front
Why: To claim Western Sahara.
Outcome: UN brokered ceasefire
What to see
Desert in Atar- covering an area of 650km in the middle of the country.
Religious worship spaces: to experience deep religious worship, you could visit: Sidi Ahmed Babo, Rayem el Antri, Sidi Aabdal-la Ben Musa, Sidi Bubequer and Leyaraf.
Famous Sportsmen and Sportswomen
The government is in exile
The national football federation not affiliated to the world football body Fifa
They currently have no export trade