Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
This website is no longer actively maintained
Some material and features may be unavailable
August 19th, 2004
Sahara Marathon
Timeline: Sahrawi people
1400sNomadic tribes from Yemen arrive in the area of Western Sahara.
1400-1700sSpain begins exploratory raids in the area, resident tribes fight them off.
Late 1700sTreaties are signed by the Spaniards and the Moroccans; intensity of fighting diminishes.
1884Spain claims the area of Western Sahara as a protectorate.
19001900 Franco-Spanish Convention defines the southern border of Spain’s Sahrawi colony.
1912Spanish-French Convention further defines the borders.
1923-34French forces make headway into Morocco and Mauritania; Western Sahrawi tribesmen resist, leading to a deal between France and Spain to stamp out Sahrawi resistance.
1936Spain takes full possession of the northern part of the territory.
1950sLarge deposits of high-grade phosphates are discovered in Bucraa.
1956-1958Sahrawi resistance fighters continue to battle Spain.
1958An agreement between Spain, France, and Morocco results in a weakening of the Sahrawi liberation army. Further agreements put the area of Saguia el Hamra and Rio de Oro under the authority of Spain.
1961Western Sahara declared a “Spanish province.”
1963The U.N. places Western Sahara on the list of countries to be decolonized by resolution 1514.
1966U.N. ratifies the Sahrawi people’s right to self-rule.
1968The Sahrawi resistance movement reforms as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el Hamra and Rio de Oro (POLISARIO Front).
1973The POLISARIO Front begins attacks against Spain.
1975Spain pulls out of Western Sahara, Moroccan and Mauritanian forces invade, POLISARIO Front forces defend their positions and stage attacks.
1976POLISARIO Front declares the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), which now serves as a government in exile. Thousands of refugees leave Western Sahara.
1982Organization of African Unity (OAU) admits SADR as a full-fledged member.
1987Construction — which began in 1980 — is completed on the Moroccan wall that protects occupation forces from POLISARIO attack.
1988Morocco and POLISARIO Front accept U.N. peace plan.
1991A U.N. brokered cease-fire is signed between Western Sahara and Morocco. Morocco sends settlers into the area.
1992The U.N.-brokered referendum on statehood is delayed following disputes about who is eligible.
1997James A. Baker III is appointed as U.N. Envoy to Western Sahara.
2004James Baker resigns as U.N. Envoy in June of 2004. He is replaced by Peruvian diplomat Álvaro de Soto.

Produced by THIRTEEN    ©2015 WNET.ORG Properties LLC. All rights reserved.