Timeline

Banner Western Sahara
  • 1120 C.E.- Almoravid Moroccan Dynasty Controls Western Sahara with its capital in Marrakech Morocco. 
  • 1578 to 1727: Moroccan Kings rule over the territory currently known as the Western Sahara.
  • 1884: Spanish colonization begins.
  • 1956: Morocco claims independence from France and reclaims the Western Sahara at the UN for the first time.
  • 1958: King Mohammed V formally lays claim to the Sahara.
  • 1963: The UN includes the Western Sahara on the list of non self-governing territories.
  • 1965: The UN General Assembly adopts its first resolution calling on Spain to decolonize the Sahara.
  • 1973: The Polisario Front is founded and stages its first attack.
  • 1974: Algeria begins to oppose Moroccan policy on the Sahara and trains Polisario guerillas.
  • 1975: The Green March takes place in which 350,000 unarmed Moroccans march South into the desert to reassert Moroccan sovereignty of the Sahara from the Spanish.
  • Morocco signs Madrid Agreement, which seeks to transfer control of the Sahara to a three party administration divided between Morocco, Spain, and Mauritania. Spain officially terminates its administration of the Sahara. 
  • 1976: The Polisario Front declares the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) and raises the flag of “Western Sahara”.
  • 1977: Spanish-Moroccan fishing agreement is signed; the Polisario begins attacks on Spanish fishing vessels.
  • 1991: UN Security Council approves the establishment of Mission des Nations Unies pour l'Organisation d'un Référendum au Sahara (MINURSO).Cease- fire declared in the disputed Western Sahara region.
  • 1997: Former US Sec. of State James Baker III is appointed as UN Sec. Gen. Special Envoy in the Sahara region.Houston Accord is signed between Morocco and Polisario establishing the implementation of a referendum to decide the future of the Western sahara.
  • 2002: UN Sec. Gen. Kofi Annan presents the Security Council with four options to break the impasse in the Western Sahara: referendum, autonomy, partition, or complete withdrawal.
  • 2004: UN Security Council unanimously adopts Resolution 1541, urging the parties to the Western Sahara conflict to “to achieve a just, lasting, and mutually acceptable political solution.”
  • 2005: Dutch ambassador Peter Van Walsum is appointed as the new UN Sec. Gen. Special Envoy to the Western Sahara.
  • 2007: Morocco releases autonomy under sovereignty plan for the Western Sahara which is endorsed by the many in the international community, including the United States, Spain, and France.Morocco and the Polisario Front conduct first two rounds of negotiations.The Polisario Front threatens a return to armed conflict with Morocco. A third and fourth round of negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario Front take place. UN Sec. Gen. Special Envoy Van Walsum calls for realism; deems independence an unattainable option.
  • 2009: UN Sec. Gen. appoints US diplomat Christopher Ross as the new Special Envoy for the Western Sahara.US Sec. of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reaffirms US policy in support of Morocco’s autonomy initiative remains unchanged.
  • 2010: Morocco and the Polisario Front conduct six rounds of informal talks. 
  • 2011: Sec. Clinton meets with Moroccan Foreign Minister Taieb Fassi Fihri and reiterates that the Moroccan autonomy proposal is “serious, realistic, and credible” and “a potential approach to satisfy the aspirations of the people in the Western Sahara .”
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