Year Founded: 1956
Morocco is located in North Africa, facing Spain which sits on the opposite side of the Mediterranean Sea. The shortest distance between the two countries is a 15 kilometer span across the Strait of Gibraltar. The state broke away from Spanish colonial rule in 1956, but Spain still maintained sovereignty over several coastal cities for decades. Spain’s eventual complete withdrawal from this region resulted in the sovereignty issue over Western Sahara. Morocco claims de facto control over 80% of that territory on the side of the Atlantic Ocean, leaving the remaining 20% under the control of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic led by the Polisario Front. In 2020, the United States recognized the legitimacy of Morocco’s claim to the entire Western Sahara region.