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Province of Spain


Coat of arms of Spanish West Africa

Coat of arms

Location of Spanish West Africa
Map showing Ifni as the very small
central red area (click to enlarge).
Capital Sidi Ifni
 •  Established 12 January 1958
 •  Returned to Morocco 4 January 1969
 •  1969 1,502 km2 (580 sq mi)
 •  1964 51,517 
File:Ifni txu-oclc-6949452-nh29-10.jpg
Map sheet showing boundary of the former Ifni Province.

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

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.


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 colonizing other areas of North Africa and abandoned the region.

In the mid-19th century the European powers looked again to Africa for resources, Spain suddenly mooted an interest in its lost 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 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.

During Francisco Franco's dictatorship, the colony was made into a Spanish province in order to forestall United Nations criticism of continued colonization.

After the "Forgotten War" (1957) most of the territory became occupied by Morocco.

Spain formally returned the territory to Morocco on 30 June 1969.[1] The territory was integrated into the Moroccan region of Souss-Massa-Drâa.

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. United Nations Yearbook 1969, pp. 661-64.

External links

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