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Western Sahara

Physical Map of Western Sahara

Physical Map of Western Sahara showing desert occupying most of its territory.
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Western Sahara is located in North Africa, bordering the Atlantic Ocean. It is nearly entirely covered by the Sahara Desert, the largest desert in the world. Subsequently, the landscape is mostly low, flat desert representing one of the Earth's most inhospitable areas. Wadis or dry river beds that sometimes have intermittent flowing rivers dot the landscape in many parts. Water being the scarcest resource here, Western Sahara is one of the world's most sparsely populated areas.

    First Administrative Division of Western Sahara

    Political Map of Western Sahara showing major cities including the largest city of Laayoune or El Aaiún. It is a disputed territory with no official administrative divisions of its own.
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    Western Sahara is a disputed territory and as such, does not have any official administrative divisions of its own. The political status of Western Sahara is considered undetermined by the US Government. 80% of the territory is controlled and administered by Morocco. Portions of the regions Guelmim-Es Smara and Laayoune-Boujdour-Sakia El Hamra, as claimed by Morocco, lie within Western Sahara; Morocco also claims Oued Eddahab-Lagouira, another region that falls entirely within Western Sahara.

    The remaining 20% is under the control of the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. 

    Western Sahara does not have an official national capital. Laayoune (El Aaiún) is the largest city.

    Where is Western Sahara?

    Where Is Western Sahara?
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    As observed on the location map of Western Sahara (a disputed territory), it is located on the Atlantic Ocean coast in northwest Africa. It is part of the Maghreb region of North and West Africa. It is located in the Northern and Western Hemisphere regions of the Earth. Western Sahara shares its land borders with Morocco and Algeria to the north and northeast respectively, and Mauritania to the east and south. The Atlantic Ocean borders it to the west and northwest.

    Western Sahara Bordering Countries: Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania.

    Regional Maps: Map of Africa

    Outline Map of Western Sahara

    Blank Outline Map of Western Sahara

    The blank outline map respresents Western Sahara. The above map can be downloaded for free, and used for educational purposes like map-pointing activities.

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    Outline Map of Western Sahara

    The outline map of Western Sahara represents the disputed territory of Western Sahara. The land borders of the territory appear quite well-defined and straight while the Atlantic coast is undulated. Given its long history of conflict, some might even view its shape to resemble that of a pistol.

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    Key Facts

    Legal Name Western Sahara


    Total Area 266,000 km2
    Land Area 266,000 km2
    Water Area 0 km2
    Total Border 2,049 km
    Coastline 1,110 km
    Bordering Countries Algeria 41 km, Mauritania 1564 km, Morocco 444 km
    Climate Hot, dry desert; rain is rare; cold offshore air currents produce fog and heavy dew
    Coordinates 24 30 N, 13 00 W
    Mean Elevation 256 m
    Lowest Elevation -55 m
    Sebjet Tah
    Highest Elevation 805 m
    unnamed elevation


    Population 619,551
    Ethnic Groups Arab, Berber
    Languages Standard Arabic, Hassaniya Arabic, Moroccan Arabic, Berber, Spanish, French
    Religions Muslim


    Currency Moroccan dirhams (MAD)
    GDP $0.00 Trillion
    GDP Per Capita $0.00
    Exports Phosphates 62% (2012 est.)

    This page was last updated on September 14, 2020

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