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 (the Cape Juby Strip) of the Spanish protectorate in Morocco with the colonies of Ifni and the Spanish Sahara into a single administrative unit. Following the Ifni War (1957–58), Spain ceded the Cape Juby Strip to Morocco by the Treaty of Angra de Cintra, and created separate provinces for Ifni and the Sahara in 1958.[1][2]

Spanish West Africa
África Occidental Española (Spanish)
  • غرب افريقيا الاسبانية (Arabic)
Flag of Spanish West Africa
Anthem: Marcha Real
"Royal March"
Spanish Northwestern African possessions in 1912.
StatusFederation of Spanish colonial possessions
CapitalSidi Ifni
Common languagesSpanish
GovernmentColonial administration
Head of State 
• 1946–1958
Francisco Franco
Governor General 
• 1946–1949 (first)
José Bermejo López
• 1957–1958 (last)
Mariano Gómez-Zamalloa
Historical eraCold War
• Established
20 July 1946
• Disestablished
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 overseas provinces completely independent of one another.[3][4]

Governors Edit

Overview of governors of Spanish West Africa
Tenure Incumbent Notes
24 July 1946 to 17 August 1949 José Bermejo López,


17 August 1949 to 29 March 1952 Francisco Rosaleny Burguet,


29 March 1952 to 26 February 1954 Venancio Tutor Gil,


26 February 1954 to 23 May 1957 Ramón Pardo de Santayana y Suárez,


Apostolic Prefecture of Spanish Sahara and Ifni established on 5 July 1954, with Félix Erviti Barcelona OMI as the first apostolic prefect.
23 May 1957 to 10 January 1958 Mariano Gómez-Zamalloa y Quirce,


Served at the start of the Ifni War.

References Edit

  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. ISBN 9780275993573
  2. ^ Susan Martin-Márquez, Disorientations: Spanish Colonialism in Africa and the Performance of Identity (Yale University Press, 2008), p. 378. ISBN 978-0-300-15252-4
  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 Edit