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

Province of Ifni
Province of Spain
Coat of arms

Ifni is the very small central red area
CapitalSidi Ifni
1,502 km2 (580 sq mi)
Government Delegate 
 1934-1935 (first)
Rodríguez de la Herranza
 1967-1969 (last)
José Rodríguez
12 January 1884
 Returned to Morocco
30 June 1969
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Spanish Sahara
Ifni had been a Spanish possession since 1860
Map sheet showing boundary of the former Ifni Province.

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.

The present-day Moroccan province in the same area is called Sidi Ifni, with its capital in the city of the same name, but encompassing a much larger territory.


Spain's presence in the area can be traced to a settlement called Santa Cruz de la Mar Pequeña, founded in 1476. After attacks by the Berbers, the Spanish decided to focus on colonising other areas of North Africa and abandoned the region.

In the mid-19th century, when the European powers looked again to Africa for resources, Spain suddenly mooted an interest in its lost late medieval fortress in order to stake a claim to the southern part of Morocco. This served as a pretext for a short war with Morocco in 1859.

The territory and its main town of Sidi Ifni were ceded to Spain by the Sultanate of Morocco on 26 April 1860, but there was little interest in this colonial acquisition until 1934, when the Governor-General of Spanish Sahara took up residence. The airport had become a crucial stopover for flights between the mainland and the Canary Islands, and in 1938 a commercial route was established by airline Iberia linking Seville, Larache, Sidi Ifni, Cape Juby and Gando in the Canaries.[1]

Until 1952, Ifni region had the status of a protectorate. In this year, the region became part of Spanish West Africa (entity that grouped the colonies of Spanish Sahara and Cape Juby).

After the Ifni War (1957), most of the territory became occupied de facto by Morocco. In 1958, the colony was made into a Spanish province in order to forestall United Nations criticism of continued colonisation.

Following a treaty signed on 4 January and ratified 22 April, Spain formally returned the territory to Morocco on 30 June 1969.[2][3]

Postage stamps

Spain began issuing postage stamps for Ifni in 1941, initially overprinting Spanish stamps with "TERRITORIO DE IFNI", then issuing new designs in 1943. Issues followed at the rate of about ten per year with the last on 23 November 1968. Most are commonly available and are more often seen unused than used.

See also


  1. "Iberia 'descubrió' Canarias hace 80 años". www.laprovincia.es. Retrieved 2020-08-23.
  2. United Nations Yearbook 1969, pp. 661–64.
  3. "United Nations General Assembly Twenty-fourth session, Agenda item 63" (PDF). 7 November 1969. Retrieved 3 November 2020.

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