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Ifni was a Spanish province

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Ifni was a Spanish province

Post by kosovohp on Thu Nov 25, 2010 2:09 am

Ifni was a Spanish province on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, south of Agadir and across from the Canary Islands.

It had a total area of 1,502 km² (580 sq mi), and a population of 51,517 in 1964. The main industry was fishing.

Spain's presence in the area can be traced to a settlement called Santa Cruz de la Mar Pequeña, founded in 1476, whose importance was derived from its position as a center for the trans-Saharan slave trade, and captives were shipped to sugar plantations on the Canary Islands. The Spanish were expelled from the area in 1524 by the Berbers.

After its abandonment, the exact location of Santa Cruz de la Mar Pequeña was unknown. It was only until the mid-nineteenth century, during the Scramble for Africa, when France and Spain laid conflicting claims over the Maghreb, that Spain became interested in its lost medieval fortress in order to claim the southern part of Morocco. Ifni was considered the most likely area. The territory and its main town, Sidi Ifni, were ceded to Spain by Morocco on April 26, 1860, following a short war, but there was little Spanish presence until 1934, when the governor-general of Spanish Sahara took up residence. During Franco's dictatorship, the colony was made a province to stop United Nations criticism on decolonization. Spain returned Ifni to Morocco on January 4, 1969.

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