Moroccans celebrate the Anniversary of the Recovery of Oued Ed-Dahab every year on August 14 to commemorate the day this territory returned to Morocco. Western Sahara was occupied by Spain from 1884 to 1976. Morocco’s attempt to reclaim the territory caused a war that lasted nearly 16 years. After many years of struggling to reclaim the land that was once there, Morocco was able to claim a large portion of Western Sahara. This national holiday celebrates this achievement. It’s a very important day in Moroccan history as it was the last step in claiming independence after Spanish colonization.
History of Anniversary of the Recovery Oued Ed-Dahab
The Spanish Empire was one of the largest empires in history, colonizing the Americas, the Caribbean, and parts of Africa. Spain colonized a territory of Africa called Western Sahara — then named the Spanish Sahara — from 1884 to 1976. The Spanish-American war which occurred in 1898 ended Spain’s hold over the Philippines, Cuba, Guam, and Puerto Rico. Western Sahara was the last holding of the Spanish Empire. After pressure from Morocco and the United Nations, Spain gave up its hold over Western Sahara. Western Sahara previously belonged to Morocco before the occupation. When Morocco gained independence in 1956, it attempted to reclaim this territory.
Mauritania, Morocco, and Spain fought for claim over the land. This initiated the Western Sahara War which lasted from 1975 to 1991, with Mauritania withdrawing in 1979. The war lasted almost 16 years and ended at a stalemate. It ended with Spain, Morocco, and Mauritania signing the Madrid Accords — a treaty that concluded Spain’s colonization of the land. The International Court of Justice rules that neither Mauritania nor Morocco can claim sovereignty over the territory. The Polisario Front and Morocco decided on a ceasefire.
Western Sahara is now a disputed territory. Morocco occupies the remaining 20% of the land, which is controlled by the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. The United Nations does not recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over a substantial chunk of this territory. Dakhla-Oued Ed-Dahab, which lies under this disputed territory, is one of Morocco’s 12 regions. Dakhla-Oued Ed-Dahab is 50,880 km² in size and home to 142,955 people. Its capital is Daklah, although, under the Spanish occupation, it was known as Villa Cisneros. Oued Ed-Dahab was officially returned to Morocco on August 14, 1979.
Anniversary of the Recovery Oued Ed-Dahab timeline
Spain occupies Western Sahara
The Spanish Empire crumbles after losing its hold over South America.
A war ensues over the claim of Western Sahara.
Morocco recovers Oued Ed-Dahab and claims most of Western Sahara.
Anniversary of the Recovery Oued Ed-Dahab FAQs
Are Moroccans Arabs?
Moroccans are Arab and Berber.
What language is spoken in Morocco?
The official languages of Morocco are Moroccan Arabic and Amazigh.
What religion is practiced in Morocco?
Morocco is a Muslim country, but it is known for freedom of thought and expression.
How to Observe Anniversary of the Recovery Oued Ed-Dahab
Read up on the history
Morocco has a rich history that goes back way before this dispute. Take the day to learn more about the Moroccan Empire — one of the most influential empires in the Mediterranean.
Join in the festivities
If you live in Morocco, you’re bound to see many festivals and parades all around celebrating this important holiday. This is a day for every Moroccan citizen to show their patriotism and celebrate their independence. If you live outside Morocco, invite some friends and host your own party!
Host an event
Host an event in your community to teach others about the history of Western Sahara. Teach people about Moroccan culture. Bring some traditional Moroccan food and put on some Moroccan music.
5 Interesting Facts About Morocco
Home to the World’s oldest university
The University of Al Quaraouiyine, established in 859, is the world’s oldest university that’s still operational today.
The first country to recognize the U.S.
In 1777, Morocco signed a treaty of friendship with the United States, becoming the first country to recognize the U.S. as an independent nation.
In 2013, Morocco welcomed 10 million tourists!
They have snake charmers
Not only is snake charming a real thing, but it’s an ancient skill in Morocco that is used to lure dangerous snakes away from public areas.
The highest ski resort in Africa
The highest ski resort in all of Africa is in the Atlas Mountains at an altitude of 8,500 to 10,500 ft.
Why Anniversary of the Recovery Oued Ed-Dahab is Important
This holiday allows all Moroccans to celebrate their independence and show love for their country. We love this.
It helps preserve the culture.
With the growing Westernization, this is a great opportunity for Moroccans to appreciate their culture. With parades and festivities, Moroccans commemorate this day by celebrating what makes them stand out.
It teaches future generations
Many Moroccans have lived through the war, but the new generations know little about it. This is a great opportunity to teach younger generations about their history and heritage.
Anniversary of the Recovery Oued Ed-Dahab dates