The Western Sahara lies along the coast of West Africa between Mauritania and Morocco. It is a harsh land where the Sahara Desert falls from the cliffs into the Atlantic Ocean. It was known as the Skeleton Coast due to the remains of the wrecked vessels that line its shore. Its inhabitants had a ferocious reputation and were feared by passing Europeans sailors.
Formerly the Spanish colony of Rio de Oro, it was annexed by Morocco when Spain withdrew in 1976. Today, the country’s political future is still to be finalized. The United Nations has called for a referendum for independence, but the Moroccan government continues to delay the process.