Nationalism and Imperialism
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
During the 19th century, an idea became very common in European: Imperialism. An idea that was based on taking over other territories to benefit from their resources, an idea based on capitalism. This period was called the Age of imperialism. European powers imperialized Central and Latin America, large parts of Southeast Asia and Africa . These imperialized territories were divided into colonies. Western Sahara is an African territory situated on the western edge of the Sahara desert, along the Atlantic Ocean. It borders with Morocco to the north, Algeria to the northeast and Mauritania to the southeast. Spain claimed ownership of this territory in 1884 during the Berlin Conference, which had the purpose to divide African territory among European countries and set up rules for colonizing Africa to avoid conflict between Europeans. It is worth pointing out that Africans were not invited to the conference, their opinion were not valid or important in the decision-making even though they were the inhabitants of the territory that was given to European powers.
However, after World War II a decolonization wave reached the African continent. In early 1975, Spain began the decolonization of Western Sahara. A Madrid-Baked political party, Partido de Unión Nacional Saharaui (PUNS) proposed that Spain eliminated his presence in Western Sahara gradually. Meanwhile, Western Sahara’s neighboring countries, Morocco and Mauritania, claimed that part of Western Sahara’s territory belonged to them before European powers had taken control of it . The two countries wanted this territory to go back to them. On the other hand, the Polisario Front (Abbreviation of Frente Popular de Liberación de Saguía el Hamra y Río de Oro), wish was a Sahrawi rebel movement, demanded immediate independence. The Polisario front was supported by Algeria, which had