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August 19th, 2004
Sahara Marathon
Timeline: Sahrawi people
1400s Nomadic tribes from Yemen arrive in the area of Western Sahara.
1400-1700s Spain begins exploratory raids in the area, resident tribes fight them off.
Late 1700s Treaties are signed by the Spaniards and the Moroccans; intensity of fighting diminishes.
1884 Spain claims the area of Western Sahara as a protectorate.
1900 1900 Franco-Spanish Convention defines the southern border of Spain’s Sahrawi colony.
1912 Spanish-French Convention further defines the borders.
1923-34 French forces make headway into Morocco and Mauritania; Western Sahrawi tribesmen resist, leading to a deal between France and Spain to stamp out Sahrawi resistance.
1936 Spain takes full possession of the northern part of the territory.
1950s Large deposits of high-grade phosphates are discovered in Bucraa.
1956-1958 Sahrawi resistance fighters continue to battle Spain.
1958 An 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.
1961 Western Sahara declared a “Spanish province.”
1963 The U.N. places Western Sahara on the list of countries to be decolonized by resolution 1514.
1966 U.N. ratifies the Sahrawi people’s right to self-rule.
1968 The Sahrawi resistance movement reforms as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el Hamra and Rio de Oro (POLISARIO Front).
1973 The POLISARIO Front begins attacks against Spain.
1975 Spain pulls out of Western Sahara, Moroccan and Mauritanian forces invade, POLISARIO Front forces defend their positions and stage attacks.
1976 POLISARIO Front declares the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), which now serves as a government in exile. Thousands of refugees leave Western Sahara.
1982 Organization of African Unity (OAU) admits SADR as a full-fledged member.
1987 Construction — which began in 1980 — is completed on the Moroccan wall that protects occupation forces from POLISARIO attack.
1988 Morocco and POLISARIO Front accept U.N. peace plan.
1991 A U.N. brokered cease-fire is signed between Western Sahara and Morocco. Morocco sends settlers into the area.
1992 The U.N.-brokered referendum on statehood is delayed following disputes about who is eligible.
1997 James A. Baker III is appointed as U.N. Envoy to Western Sahara.
2004 James Baker resigns as U.N. Envoy in June of 2004. He is replaced by Peruvian diplomat Álvaro de Soto.

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