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Area on Morocco's coast ceded to Morocco by Spain.

Formerly Santa Cruz de Mar Pequena, Ifni was a 675-square-mile Spanish enclave on the coast of southern Morocco. The population of the area was about 40,000, made up mainly of seven predominantly sedentary Berber-speaking tribes. The Spanish held a trading post in the area from 1476 to 1524. Under the 1860 treaty of Tetuan, the area was designated as Spanish, and permission was given to build a fishing harbor. However, an exploratory expedition to the area in 1879 ended in failure. The Span-ishFrench treaty of 1912 recognized Spain's sovereign right to the Ifni enclave, distinct from the protectorate zones, and similar to Spain's rights over Ceuta and Melilla. Spanish general Osvaldo Capaz finally occupied the area in March 1934. In 1946 the coastal town of Sidi Ifni, the capital of the enclave, was made the seat of a single centralized administration for Spanish West Africa. The 1956 SpanishMoroccan treaty restored to Morocco 15,000 square miles of Spanish Sahara, now known as the province of Tarfaya. But the Ifni enclave remained in Spanish hands, with Spain insisting that Ifni had been ceded in perpetuity by the 1860 treaty. In November 1957 fighting broke out between Morocco's irregular Army for the Liberation of the Sahara and Spanish forces. In December 6,000 Spanish troops took up positions around Sidi Ifni and held on for twelve years. The area was made a Spanish province under the authority of the military commander of the Canary Islands. Morocco first raised the issue of Spain's control of Ifni at the UN General Assembly session in 1957. In 1965 the General Assembly resolved that Ifni should be liberated from colonial domination. On 4 January 1969 Spain and Morocco signed an agreement to turn the area over to Morocco. The actual transfer was made on 30 June. In return, Spain was awarded fishing rights off Morocco's Atlantic coast. Today, Sidi Ifni has a population of 17,000.

See also morocco.


Jones, D. H. "Ifni." In Encyclopaedia of Islam, New Edition, edited by B. Lewis, V. L. Ménage, Ch. Pellat, and J. Schacht. Netherlands: Brill, 1991.

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