Alternative History
Western Sahara
País del Oro
Timeline: 1983: Doomsday

OTL equivalent: Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Canary Islands, Balearic Islands, Melilla
Flag of Western Sahara
Flag of Western Sahara
Capital El Aaiún
Largest city Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Language Spanish, Arabic, Catalan
Population appr. 2,358,000 
Independence 1985
Currency peseta

Western Sahara, which was officially known as País del Oro (the golden land), was a successor state to Spain. Its territory consisted of the Spanish Canary Islands, the former colony of Western Sahara, the Balearic Islands and the city of Melilla on the North African coast. It is now a part of the newly created Republic of Spain.

Before Doomsday

Western Sahara

After an agreement among the European colonial powers at the Berlin Conference in 1884 on the division of spheres of influence in Africa, Spain seized control of the Western Sahara and established it as a Spanish protectorate after a series of wars against the local tribes reminiscent of similar European colonial adventures of the period, in the Maghreb, sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere. After 1939 this area was administered by Spanish Morocco. As a consequence, Ahmed Belbachir Haskouri, the Chief of Cabinet, General Secretary of the Government and Head of the palace for the caliph of Spanish Morocco cooperated with the Spaniards to select governors in that area. The Saharan Lords who were already in prominent positions such as the members of Maa El Ainain family provided a list recommending new governors. Together with the Spanish High Commissioner, Belbachir selected from the list of recommendations. During the prophet's birthday celebration these Lords paid their due respect to the caliph to show loyalty to the Moroccan monarchy. As time went by, Spanish colonial rule began to unravel with the general wave of decolonization after World War II which saw Europeans lose control of North African and sub-Saharan African possessions and protectorates. Spanish decolonization in particular began rather late, but internal political and social pressures for it in mainland Spain built up towards the end of Francisco Franco´s rule, in the context of the global trend towards complete decolonization. Spain began rapidly and even chaotically divesting itself of most of its remaining colonial possessions. After initially being violently opposed to decolonization, Spain began to give in and by 1974–75 issued promises of a referendum on independence The nascent Polisario Front, a nationalist organization that had begun fighting the Spanish in 1973, had been demanding such a move.

At the same time, Morocco and Mauritania which had historical claims of sovereignty over the territory based on competing traditional claims, argued that the territory was artificially separated from their territories by the European colonial powers. The third neighbour of Spanish Sahara, Algeria viewed these demands with suspicion, influenced also by its long-running rivalry with Morocco. After arguing for a process of decolonization guided by the United Nations, the government of Houari Boumédiènne committed itself in 1975 to assisting the Polisario Front, which opposed both Moroccan and Mauritanian claims and demanded full independence.

The UN attempted to settle these disputes through a visiting mission in late 1975, as well as a verdict from the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which declared that Western Sahara possessed the right of self-determination. On November 6, 1975, the Green March into Western Sahara began when 350,000 unarmed Moroccans converged on the city of Tarfaya in southern Morocco and waited for a signal from King Hassan II of Morocco to cross into Western Sahara.

In the waning days of General Franco's rule, the Spanish government secretly signed a tripartite agreement with Morocco and Mauritania as it moved to abandon the Territory on 14 November 1975, mere days before Franco's death. Although the accords foresaw a tripartite administration, Morocco and Mauritania each moved to annex the territory, with Morocco taking control of the northern two-thirds of Western Sahara as its Southern Provinces and Mauritania taking control of the southern third. Spain terminated its presence in Spanish Sahara within three months, even repatriating Spanish corpses from its cemeteries. The Moroccan and Mauritanian moves, however, met staunch opposition from the Polisario, which had by now gained backing from Algeria. In 1979, following Mauritania's withdrawal due to pressure from Polisario, Morocco extended its control to the rest of the territory, and gradually contained the guerrillas through setting up the extensive sand-berm in the desert to exclude guerrilla fighters.

With the construction of the first Western Sahara wall (Aug 1980 – Jun 1982) surrounding the "useful triangle" of El Aaiún, Smara and the phosphate mines at Bou Craa, built with the help of South African military engineers and Portuguese and French renegade mercenaries (c. 500 km (310 mi)), the main settlements of that "useful triangle" were separated from the Polisario-held territory. Plans for a second phase were being created by Rabat, and those were going to happen at December of the same year.

Canary Islands

The Canary Islands had been part of Spain since the 15th-16th century. They were the last place visited by Christopher Columbus before his historical travel to the Americas. During the following three centuries, the Canary Islands were one of the favored points where people were exiled to, due to the distance between the peninsula and the archipelago. However, its position near the Western Sahara colony made the islands useful for the supplying of troops in there, as well as to maintain contact with it and the other few colonies Spain had. In 1936, Francisco Franco was sent to the Canary Islands to prevent him from contacting potential conspirators for the coup d'etat that was said to be about to happen, but instead this allowed him to easily reach the Army of Africa, which played an important role in the Spanish Civil War. Between 1964 and 1979, the so-called Movement for the Independence and Self-determination of the Canaries Archipelago (Spanish: Movimiento por la Autodeterminación e Independencia del Archipiélago Canario, MPAIAC) lead by Antonio Cubillo, made terrorist attacks on the islands (and it was used by the CIA and the US to pressure Spain to join NATO). Finally, in 1982 (after Franco's death and the re-establishment of democracy) the Canary Islands became an Autonomous Community, and on June 11, 1983, the first regional elections happened, giving victory to the socialist Jerónimo Saavedra Acevedo.

Balearic Islands

The Balearic Islands were first colonised by humans during the 3rd millennium BC.

Menorca was finally returned to Spain by the Treaty of Amiens during the French Revolutionary Wars, following the last British occupation, which lasted from 1798 to 1802. The continued presence of British naval forces, however, meant that the Balearic Islands were never occupied by the French during the Napoleonic Wars.

The 25 of February of 1983, the Balearic Statute of Autonomy was aproved, and the power was held by the conservative Gabriel Cañellas Fons during Doomsday.


Being an isolated region of Spain before Doomsday, Melilla was part of the Province of Málaga. Founded by the phoenicians, the region was inhabited by Phoenicians, Romans, Byzantines and then it fell to the morrocan sultanates until it was part of the Kingdom of Fez. On the 17 of September of 1497, the city was captured by the Duke of Medina Sidonia, and became a presidio under the Spanish Crown.

Between 1909 and 1945, the modernista (Art Nouveau) style was very present in the local architecture, making the streets of Melilla a "true museum of modernista-style architecture", second only to Barcelona (in Spain), mainly stemming from the work of prolific architect Enrique Nieto.

The city was used as one of the staging grounds for the July 1936 military coup d'état that started the Spanish Civil War.

On territorial administration, the city was part of the province of Málaga since 1836.


Due to Spain's ties with both the United Kingdom, France and United States, along with its NATO membership (since the 30 of May of 1982, the Socialists organized a protest campaign, and the PSOE leader, Gonzalez, made the NATO issue a major feature of his electoral platform in 1982, promising a popular referendum on withdrawal from NATO in the event of a Socialist victory.

No immediate steps were taken to fulfill this promise, following the overwhelming Socialist victory in October 1982, although the PSOE confirmed in June 1983 that it would campaign in favor of withdrawal when the referendum was held.) Spain was one of the countries hit by nuclear weapons on Doomsday. Targets included:

  • Madrid-Torrejón Air Base
  • Barcelona
  • Valencia
  • Morón Air Base
  • Bilbao
  • Zaragoza AFB
  • Naval Station Rota
  • Gibraltar (at the time British controlled, but the strike still affected Spanish lands)

Among the deaths included the Commander-in-chief of the Spanish Armed Forces (Spanish: Fuerzas Armadas Españolas), the King of Spain, Juan Carlos I, and Felipe González, President of government. The blast also killed all the parliamentarians who were gathered in those days because of the debate on the state of the nation and virtually all government and defense staff. The casualty figures will never be known, but estimates are about two thirds of the nearly 38 million people who lived in the nation on the eve of Doomsday. When, in mid-1984, the military Juntas of Emergency that still survived in the peninsula agreed to evacuate to the islands, they only looked at the military troops: civilians were not taken into account. They had to tend to themselves.

Western Sahara

In the months following Doomsday, Morocco, overwhelmed by the humanitarian crisis in the northern half of the country created by the strike on Gibraltar, was forced to withdraw troops from the south. The Polisario seized the opportunity to reinforce their positions, cornering the Moroccan army in Laayoune (El Aaiún) and destroying the so-called, saharan wall. Polisario troops conquered Smara and the phosphate mines at Bou Craa.

Canary Islands

In Doomsday, the president of the Canary Islands government Jerónimo Acebedo Saavedra declared a state of emergency in the islands, and after military threats, he had to gave the command of the military units on the islands to the captain-general of the islands, Miguel Fontenla Fernández. Under that state, the 1978 spanish constitution and the Statute of Autonomy were suspended until contact with the outside world. Both Fontenla and the other parties (People's Coalition, an electoral alliance comprising the People's Alliance (AP), the People's Democratic Party (PDP) and the Liberal Union (UL), being the second largest party and the main opposition force in the Parliament with 17 seats, the PCE, Democratic and Social Centre (CDS) with 6 seats; the Gomera Group of Independents (AGI), with 2 seats; or the Canarian Nationalist Convergence (CNC) and the Independent Herrenian Group (AHI) with 1 seat each.) had to cooperate the unequal distribution of food to host the thousands of tourist stranded at the archipielago (despite the Nordic Countries as Sweden and Finland were less affected, the finnish consulate at Las Palmas de Gran Canaria became the main link with their countries).

Balearic Islands

Having 665.945 inhabitants on the last Spanish census in 1981, the region increased them thanks to refugees from the mainland. In the following weeks after Doomsday, many refugees from Catalonia and Valencia and, to a lesser extent, other parts of the peninsula, came to the Balearic Islands. The Balearic Islands Government submitted without discussion to the Captaincy General, who in turn obeyed the authority of the Balearic Emergency Cabinet, composed of the Teniente General/Capitan General Joaquín Ruiz de Oña González, who along the civil governor Carlos Martín Plasencia, the regional goverment under Gabriel Cañellas Fons with help of the opposition and the Infantry Regiment "Palma" No. 47, tried to relocate the refugees from the mainland (mostly from Valencia province and parts of Tarragona and Alicante), and created a list to make the islands to substain along the natives, refugees and foreigners stranded on the islands, relocating those stranded people to military barracks and having them to employ in agriculture and vital economy.


Melilla, due to being near to Spain and yet far enough from the Peninsula that it was not directly affected by the explosions, saw several thousands of people arriving there. Those refugees came from Morroco and Spain, mostly from Ceuta and the Málaga province

Creation of País del Oro

Spanish legionaries in Sahara

País del Oro was created after the the provincial government of the Spanish Canary Islands (In Doomsday, the president of the Canary Islands government Jerónimo Acebedo Saavedra declared a state of emergency in the islands, and had to gave the command to the captain-general of the islands, Miguel Fontenla Fernández), the constitution and the Statute of Autonomy was suspended, soon established contact with most of the survivor rulers of the peninsula together despite the difficulties brought (disorders, radioactive contamination of the area of the Straits of Gibraltar, opposed by some provinces that survived); while General Ponciano Fernández Fernández led the evacuation of the tightly stretched garrison of Ceuta before the nukes destroyed Gibraltar. The garrison crossed the Morrocan territory to Melilla, and they joined forces with the general José Manuel Frasquet Barber.

Meanwhile, the surviving military forces created the Junta de Emergencia, when the General Captaincy of Baleares was isolated and tried to save people from the mainland, the General Commandancy of Melilla tried to restore order and contact with the other Plazas de Soberanía of Spain in the area, along with the IX Military region headquarters on Granada. Due to the lack of communication, and that the region suffered from chaos and refugees from the Rif area, the General Commandancy of Mellila, and the mayor of the city, Gonzalo Hernández Martínez, tried to administrate the problems of the city until help from Málaga could reach them.

Western Sahara/POLISARIO Front

According to the Covenants in Madrid in November 1975 Spain ceded the administration (the administration, not sovereignty) to Morocco and Mauritania (the latter declined a part). The Spanish military appealed to this sovereignty to take possession of the territory, then gave the local civilian administration and the Western Saharan region.

Hipólito Fernandez-Palacios

Meanwhile, the POLISARIO, led by Mohamed Abdelaziz since 1978, rebels in the Western Sahara mainland unified to form a single country after the Spanish government was destroyed in the nuclear war on doomsday. The union, which was originally a military alliance, quickly developed under the auspices of Abdelaziz and General Hipolito Fernandez-Palacios y Nuñez in a new kind of union with some kind of parallel to the Austro-Hungarian monarchy (although without monarchy) was confirmed in late 1985 in El Aaiún pacts.

In 1984, the goverments of the Canary Islands, Western Sahara and Mellila reestablished a short-wave radio communication, thanks to the employees of the Spanish embassy in Rabat. The goverment of the Balearic Emergency Cabinet joined the communications network, being able to be a base for any future reclamations on mainland Spain.

In the Laayoune pacts signed in 1985 (and considered the founding act of what became known as Pais del Oro) the four entities established a joint military, economic, monetary and foreign policy. The two signatories retained their respective sovereignties and this point has continued to follow formally.

In the late '90s the four regions managed to being unified with help of the morrocan states, and the remnants of the military goverments were back to civilian hands since Doomsday. In mid-2003, at the Cabildo of Las Palmas de Gran Canaría, representatives of the four regions were called a kind of Constituent Assembly, that enacted the following year the "Constitución Transitoria de los territorios de España de Ultramar" (Transitional Constitution of the overseas territories of Spain). Starting a period of democratization of national politics that today there is called Segunda Transición (Second Transition).


Western sahara.gif

Obviously not all were favorable to the Saharawi union with the Spanish, many, probably half of the population saw a betrayal of the Laayoune Pacts. A new Sahrawi government (the Independent Republic Sahrawi Arab or IRSA) took control of the east and south of the territory and established his capital at the oasis of Tindouf in Algeria, taking advantage of the chaos prevailing in the neighboring country.

Since then a state of intermittent warfare last between Pais del Oro and Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, this retains control of much of the territory without Pais del Oro has undertaken major operations against rival. Only between 1986 and 1990 Pais del Oro took control of large areas in southern territory, but not so with the aim of reducing the Sahrawi state rival as the communication to achieve a Federal district very rich in Mauritania iron mines and because of disorders in this country had fallen into the hands of a faction of pro-Sahrawi. In 2015, a higher degree to autonomy was given to the region, allowing both nationalities candidates and creating the Sahrawi Autonomous Community on the areas under El Aaiún control.

Moreover, the hispanic sahrawi were busy on other fronts: In 1986 the death of Hassan II (by pancreatic cancer) caused a succession crisis in the Kingdom of Morocco, Mohammed VI, Hassan's young son is acknowledged in Marrakech, while Moulay Hicham (Hassan´s cousin) took power in Agadir. Pais del Oro providing assistance to Moulay Hicham.

The War of Succession in Morocco left the PdO Army dealing with refugees during the next decade, from 1986 until 1994, when a revolt of officers in Marrakech forced Mohammed into exile to Monaco, leaving Moulay Hicham as the king in the south while in northern Morocco took the power the Islamists and several warlords. The PdOr continued in subsequent years holding militarily to Moulay Hicham in his reconquest of the northern territories and the consolidation of a democratic order in Morocco.

Exploration and contact

In the beginning of the third millennium, the goverments of the IGPI and the PdO joined the ADC, and along the help of the Rif Republic. vessels from the "Aragonese Bishop" in the Ebro delta and military patrols on the western Mediterranean coast, they knew about the so-called "Spanish National Republic", lead from Murcia by Ricardo de la Cierva, the grandson of Juan de la Cierva, and a former senator of Murcia who survived Doomsday. Being himself a heavily defensor of francoism, who couped the regional goverment lead by Andrés Hernández Ros and Carlos Collado, after he began to claim that Doomsday was the new "dawn of Spain", and calling the regional goverment to left "those filthy catalonians", as he named refugees from Valencia, who fleed to Alicante and Murcia after Doomsday. The "National Republic" would took Albacete, Alicante, Málaga and Almería provinces with help of radicalized members of the military, despite some members of the Cartagena Naval Base and Los Llanos aerodrome fleed to Mallorca after the coup. The so-called "black years" made refugees to fleed to Cazorla, Granada, and Morroco. In 2010, a joint operation with Algeria, the Rif, Cazorla and local rebels destroyed the francoist state, making a referendum with it, to merge into the Republic of Spain

Attempts to reoccupy the Spanish Mainland

In 1988 an expedition took Almeria, but it left a few weeks later because of attacks by local guerrillas.

In 1990 Chipiona, in the mouth of the Guadalquivir River and near the former Rota Naval Base, was occupied, but had to be abandoned because of the radioactivity was still strong.

In 1992 a new attempt to conquer Almeria met with opposition from the emerging Spanish Republic in the southeast.

In the years following the aggressiveness of the Sicilian State (and allies) held PdO forces engaged in defending their own territory in the Balearic Islands and Melilla.

After the occupation of Cartagena by the forces of the Atlantic Defense Community, and under the auspices of the League of Nations, a process of negotiation is opened between PdO and the Spanish Republic, in the future that could culminate in the unification of both states. A referendum has been called after long negotiations by 21 June of 2010, a month later than the convening in Cleveland.

The outcome of the referendum was favorably for the unification of the two successor states and the Republic of Spain was officially proclaimed.


Pais del Oro was a Confederal Union of two States: The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and the Interim Government of Spain.

El Aaiún/Laayoune was the Confederal Capital and also the capital of the Saharawi State.  The presidency was dual, held by the chairmen of the Interim Government of Spain and the Sahrawi Republic. Legislative power was held by the Confederal Parliament, located on the Palacio del Congreso of El Aaiún, and was divided into two chambers, based on the pre-Doomsday spanish goverment: the Congreso de los Diputados (Chamber of Deputies) with 270 members and the "Senado" (Senate) with 100 members (50 of the Spanish part and 50 of the Saharawi). The Confederal Parliament prepared a common law, that could be expanded or corrected by autonomous parliaments of each region, which later became the base of the Republic of Spain goverment: The Saharawi Parliament, Parlamento de Canarias (Canary Parliament), Parlament de les Illes Balears (Balearic Parliament) or the Consejo Municipal de Melilla (Municipal Council of Melilla).


Pais del Oro controlled exports of phosphates (fertilizer needed to further reduce levels of radiation from the ground), both the extracted directly in Western Sahara as the extracted in Morocco (controlled the trade by the Hispanic-Saharans). PdOr also controls exports of iron from mines of Frederîck in Mauritania and from other mines of the Rif. The Hispanic-Saharan fishing fleet keeps control of fishing grounds off the Moroccan coast and the Strait area, however, this activity is threatened by the general depletion of fish stocks caused by the incidence of solar radiation.

In the Canary Islands is a highly developed agriculture in the early years oriented to self-sufficiency, some years shifts towards exports (wine, tobacco, bananas).


The Canary Islands were the most populated region of the state with approximately 1,808,000 inhabitants, the Sahara, despite its greater extension has only 270,000 inhabitants, Melilla, although its population has risen sharply from 58,449 people, from the last census in 1981, just over 112,000, while the Balearic Islands, very affected by radioactive contamination and devastated by the famine and pirate raids has a population 168,000 people. The census gives a total population of 2,358,000 people in 2010.


The PdO Army was formed by the guerrillas of the Polisario and the remnants of the Spanish army, especially the Legion (with headquarters in Melilla, Almeria, Fuerteventura and remains of other garrisons in Doomsday), the regulars of Melilla and remains of Ceuta, members of the Brigada Ligera Paracaidista (a paratroop brigade, headquartered in Murcia-San Javier airfield during Doomsday, some of them fleed from the region thanks to rogue navy units against the Murcia goverment) and other surviving units of the Spanish army, navy and aviation in the regions, recruits performing military service and those recruited in the early days were also rehired necessarily (course, those who do not deserted from the army). Numerous contingents of former policemen, guardias civiles and militarized professional as firefighters, forest rangers, doctors joined the army to support them.

Military service was extended to four years and has been extended to women (fertile women are exempt from it). Recently there is the option of completing the last two years of service in periods of one semester in the next four years.

The Spanish Navy that before 1983 was one of the top ten navies in the world was not much affected by nuclear strikes, only the Strait fleet was badly damaged, but the fleets serving in the Canary Islands, the Mediterranean or the Cantabric Sea only received damage to the navigation and communications systems. Over time, the Spanish Navy has become obsolete, because of the lack of shipyards, to renew it, the navy had to resort to buy ships and other equipment to other countries (Brazil and ANZC).

Foreign Relations

Since 86 had stepped up diplomatic contacts with the interim Portuguese interim government and indirectly Canada. In the decade 90s they re-established normal relations with South America through the SAC. Since 26 September 2007, it has been a part of the Atlantic Defense Community. It was also a member of the League of Nations.

Pais del Oro claimed all the territories that had formed the old Spain. This claim that was recognized by the LoN, but today is unrealizable, for the flourishing of new actors on the peninsula, in 2004 the government officially recognized Galicia, Asturias and the Basque Country, after diplomatic pressure from Portugal, the SAC and the Celtic Alliance, but maintained their claims on the rest of the peninsula. A committee for the reunification Spanish was created under the auspices of the LoN, but supporters of union with Pais del Oro are rare on the peninsula with the exception of the Spanish National Republic in the southeast, where the union with Pais del Oro is viewed as the end of isolation and famine and the beginning of a new democratic normality. On 2010, the PdO and the Spanish National Republic merged into the Republic of Spain.

With regards to the Saguenay crisis, Pais del Oro remains silent, to not cause suspicion in peninsular governments.

Due to indirect information via Andorra, little is officially known at this time about the government's situation in metropolitan Spain.


The partnership between the Spanish and the Saharawi has resulted in one of the most original society of the post-nuclear world. Saharawi Muslims aren't too religious and have modernized without trouble. In contrast, the Spanish in contact with the Saharawi have taken many of their customs, such as clothing, the use of turbans and headscarves and beards grown. The Arab influence is also seen other aesthetic aspects such as architecture, music, food and furniture.

Backed by the religious freedom and the crisis of conscience after doomsday, Islam has spread among the Spanish settlers in the Sahara and Melilla, and even among the islands. Conversions to Christianity among the Saharawi by contrast are poor, despite the establishment of the archbishopric of Laayoune.

The Balearic Islands are an exception and have not taken part in these changes. By contrast, the Catalonian language and culture were imposed after the arrival of refugees from Catalonia and Valencia in the first days after Doomsday.

See also