Spanish West Africa

Spanish West Africa (Spanish: África Occidental Española, AOE) was a grouping of Spanish colonies along the Atlantic coast of northwest Africa. It was formed in 1946 by joining the southern zone of the Spanish protectorate in Morocco, the colony of Ifni and the colony of Spanish Sahara into a single administrative unit. Following the Ifni War (1957–58), Spain ceded the southern protectorate to Morocco and created separate provinces for Ifni and the Sahara in 1958.[1][2]

Spanish West Africa

  • الافريقية الغربية الاسبانية
  • África Occidental Española
Northwestern African territories under Spanish control in 1912.
Some of these would later be grouped to form Spanish West Africa.
StatusSpanish colony
CapitalVilla Cisneros
Common languagesSpanish
Roman Catholicism
 1946–1949 (first)
José Bermejo López
 1958 (last)
José Héctor Vázquez
20 July 1946
10 January 1958
CurrencySpanish peseta
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Spanish Morocco
Spanish Sahara
Spanish Sahara

Spanish West Africa was formed by a decree of 20 July 1946. The new governor sat at Ifni. He was ex officio the delegate of the Spanish high commissioner in Morocco in the southern zone of the protectorate, to facilitate its government along the same lines as the other Spanish possessions on the coast. On 12 July 1947, Ifni and the Sahara were raised into distinct entities, but still under the authority of the governor in Ifni. On 10 and 14 January 1958, respectively, the Sahara and Ifni were raised into regular Spanish provinces completely independent of one another.[3][4]



  1. Shannon E. Fleming, "Decolonization and the Spanish Army, 1940–76", in Wayne H. Bowen and José E. Alvarez, eds., A Military History of Modern Spain: From the Napoleonic Era to the International War on Terror (Praeger Security, 2007), p. 129.
  2. Susan Martin-Márquez, Disorientations: Spanish Colonialism in Africa and the Performance of Identity (Yale University Press, 2008), p. 378.
  3. Robert Rézette, The Western Sahara and the Frontiers of Morocco (Nouvelles Éditions Latines, 1975), p. 101.
  4. José Luis Villanova, "La organización política del territorio de Ifni duranta la dominación colonial española (1934–1969)", Anales: Revista de Estudios Ibéricos e Iberoamericanos 3 (2007): 49–82, esp. 62–72.

Further reading

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