An area of dispute between the government and the rebel Polisario Front, the Western Sahara region of Laâyoune-Boujdour-Sakia El Hamra consists of just two provinces: Boujdour and Laâyoune. Its capital is El Aaiún.
A Western Saharan city with a dynamic economy, El Aaiún was once a Spanish colony. It has been part of Morocco since 1976. It is also known as Laâyoune, a French transliteration of its Arabic name, which means “the springs”. It is populated by Moroccans from the North as well as natives of Western Sahara and Sahrawis from Southern Saharan Morocco. The Sahrawi Arab Republic claims this city as their rightful capital.
The town of Cape Boujdour lies on the northern coast of the Western Sahara. Its Arabic name, Abu Khatar, means “the father of danger.” It lies about 220 kilometres south of the Canary Islands.