In colonial times, the Oued Drâa was the border between the French and Spanish protectorates. The land to the south, the Tarfaya strip, was part of the Spanish Protectorate in Morocco, along with the area around Tetouan and Al Hoceima in the north. It was not considered part of Spain’s two Saharan colonies (together known as the Spanish Sahara), of which the northernmost, Seguiat el Hamra, began at the 27°40´ N line just south of Tarfaya, while the southern one, Rio de Oro, began at the 26th parallel, just south of Boujdour. In 1958, two years after the rest of Morocco gained independence, the Spanish gave back the Tarfaya strip, but they kept the Spanish Sahara until November 1975.

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