Dakhla, Western Sahara

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Dakhla
الداخلة
ⴻⴷⴷⴰⵅⵍⴰ
Ed-Dakhla
Dakhla is located in Western Sahara
Dakhla
Dakhla
Location in Western Sahara
Coordinates: 23°43′N 15°57′W / 23.717°N 15.950°W / 23.717; -15.950
Territory Western Sahara
Controlled by Kingdom of Morocco
Claimed by Morocco Kingdom of Morocco,
Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
Population (2004)[1]
 • Total 55,618

Dakhla (Arabic: الداخلة‎, Berber: ⴻⴷⴷⴰⵅⵍⴰ, Ed-Dakhla, formerly Villa Cisneros), is a city in Western Sahara under Moroccan control. It is the capital of the Moroccan administrative region Oued Ed-Dahab-Lagouira. It has about 55,618 inhabitants[1] and is built on a narrow peninsula of the Atlantic Coast about 550 km south of El Aaiún (Laayoune).

History[edit]

Mosque in Dakhla.

The area was inhabited by Berbers since ancient times .[citation needed] Dakhla was expanded or possibly founded by Spanish settlers during the expansion of their Empire.[citation needed] The Spanish interest in Western Africa in desert coast of Sahara was the result of fishing activities carried out from the nearby Canary Islands by Spanish fishers and the Barbary pirates menace.

Spanish fishers were seal fur traders and hunters, fishers and whalers in Sahara coast from Dakhla to Cabo Blanco from 1500 to present, extending by West coast of Africa to whaling humpback whales and whale calves, mostly in Cape Verde, and Guinea gulf in Annobon, São Tomé and Príncipe islands just to 1940. These fishing activities have had a negative impact on wildlife causing the disappearance or endangered of many species, it highlighting marine mammals and birds.[2][3]

They established whaling stations with some cod fishing and trading. In 1881, a dock was anchored off the coast of the Río de Oro Peninsula to support the work of the Canarian fishing fleet.[citation needed]

However, it was not until 1884 that Spain formally founded the watering place as Villa Cisneros, in the settlement dated in 1502 by papal bull. It was included in the enclaves conceded to the Spanish at east of the Azores islands. In 1884, the settlement was promoted by the Spanish Society of Africanists and funded by the government of Canovas del Castillo. The military and Spanish Arabist Emilio Bonelli recognized the coast between Cape Bojador and Cabo Blanco, founding three settlements in the Saharan coast: one in Villa Cisneros in honor of cardinal Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros, another in Cabo Blanco for seal hunting, which gave the name of Medina Gatell, and another in Angra de Cintra with the name of Puerto Badia, in honor of the Arabist and adventurer Domingo Badia. Bonelli got the native inhabitants of the peninsula de Río de Oro signed an agreement which placing them under the protection of Spain. Thanks to the presence of the three seatlements in December that year The Spanish government put in communication of the colonial powers assembled at the Berlin conference, which was adjudged possession of the territory lying between Cape Bojador and Blanco.

During the colonial period, the Spanish authorities made Dakhla the capital of the province of Río de Oro, one of the two regions of what was known as Spanish Sahara. They built a military fortress and a modern Catholic church, both of which remain points of interest for visitors to the city, until the demolition of the fort by the Moroccans in 2004.[citation needed] A prison camp also existed at the fort during the Spanish Civil War, at which writers such as Pedro García Cabrera were imprisoned.

Seal of Villa Cisneros (nowadays Dakhla) during the Spanish colonization.

During the 1960s, the Francoist dictatorship also built here one of the three paved airports in Western Sahara at Dakhla Airport. It was from Dakhla, then known as Villa Cisneros, that on January 12, 1976, General Gomez de Salazar became the last Spanish soldier to depart what until that moment had been the colony of the Spanish Sahara; faced with Moroccan and Mauritanian pressure, Spanish authorities decided to peacefully give up the territory instead of undertaking a fight they believed they could win, but which would have cost many lives on all sides. Between 1975 and 1979, Dakhla was the provincial capital of the Mauritanian province of Tiris al-Gharbiyya, as Mauritania annexed the southern portion of Western Sahara. Dakhla Airport is used as a civilian airport and by Royal Air Maroc. The 3 km. long runway can accommodate a Boeing 737 or smaller aircraft.[citation needed] The passenger terminal covers 670 m² and is capable of handling up to 55,000 passenger/year.[citation needed]

The main economic activity of the city is fishing and tourism. In recent years the town has become a centre for aquatic sports,[citation needed] such as kitesurfing, windsurfing and surf casting.

Climate[edit]

Dakhla has a mild arid climate (BWh, according to the Köppen climate classification). Dakhla receives an average of less than 40 mm of precipitation per year. The temperature averages around 18°C during January, Dakhla's coldest month and around 23°C during September, its warmest month.

Climate data for Dakhla
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 28
(82)
31
(88)
37
(99)
36
(97)
31
(88)
36
(97)
38
(100)
33
(91)
41
(106)
38
(100)
35
(95)
32
(90)
41
(106)
Average high °C (°F) 22
(72)
23
(73)
23
(73)
23
(73)
24
(75)
25
(77)
25
(77)
26
(79)
27
(81)
26
(79)
25
(77)
22
(72)
24.3
(75.7)
Daily mean °C (°F) 17.5
(63.5)
18.5
(65.3)
19
(66)
20
(68)
20
(68)
21
(70)
22
(72)
22.5
(72.5)
23
(73)
23
(73)
21
(70)
18.5
(65.3)
20.5
(68.88)
Average low °C (°F) 13
(55)
14
(57)
15
(59)
16
(61)
17
(63)
18
(64)
19
(66)
19
(66)
19
(66)
19
(66)
17
(63)
15
(59)
16.8
(62.1)
Record low °C (°F) 11
(52)
10
(50)
10
(50)
10
(50)
15
(59)
11
(52)
16
(61)
16
(61)
13
(55)
8
(46)
7
(45)
7
(45)
7
(45)
Rainfall mm (inches) 2
(0.08)
1
(0.04)
1
(0.04)
1
(0.04)
1
(0.04)
0
(0)
0
(0)
2
(0.08)
10
(0.39)
2
(0.08)
3
(0.12)
10
(0.39)
33
(1.3)
Avg. precipitation days 2 1 1 1 1 0 0 2 3 2 2 2 17
Mean monthly sunshine hours 260.4 235.2 288.3 279.0 291.4 276.0 260.4 251.1 255.0 254.2 240.0 226.3 3,117.3
Source #1: ClimaTemps[4]
Source #2: Weatherbase[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b http://www.hcp.ma/Recensement-general-de-la-population-et-de-l-habitat-2004_a633.html
  2. ^ http://fis.com/fis/worldnews/search_brief.asp?l=s&id=47446&ndb=1&monthyear=&day=&country=194&df=1
  3. ^ http://sahara-news.webcindario.com/actividad_flota_pesquerasahara.pdf
  4. ^ "Dakhla Climate Information". Retrieved March 15, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Ad Dakhla, Western Sahara". Retrieved March 15, 2012. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 23°43′N 15°57′W / 23.717°N 15.950°W / 23.717; -15.950