General issues: Spanish territory 1941-1969
Country name on general issues: Territorio de Ifni, Ifni
Currency: 1 Peseta = 100 Centimos
Population: 50 000 in 1960
Political history Ifni
Ifni is located in northern Africa. Ifni is a Spanish enclave in southern Morocco – claimed by the Spanish to be the site of a 15th century Spanish settlement on the Moroccan coast called Santa Cruz de la Mar Pequeña. Ifni is ceded to Spain in 1860 as a result of the 1859-1860 Hispano-Moroccan war. The exact borders are defined in a treaty with the French in 1912 when the surrounding part of Morocco becomes a French protectorate.
It is not until 1934 that the Spanish decide to actually establish themselves in Ifni. A military base is set up and the town of Sidi Ifni is founded to become the administrative center of the Spanish possessions in the region – aside from Ifni consisting of the colony of Spanish Sahara and the protectorate of Cape Juby – which de jure is the southern part of the protectorate of Spanish Morocco. Sidi Ifni develops rapidly, in subsequent years, to become a town with 50 000 inhabitants in 1960. The main economic activity in Sidi Ifni is fishing. In 1946, Ifni is grouped together with Spanish Sahara to form Spanish West Africa.
After Moroccan independence in 1956, Morocco claims the Spanish possessions to the south. In 1957, Morocco engages in a military conflict to gain control of Ifni. After initial setbacks, the Spanish manage to retain control over Ifni – albeit that effective control is now limited to the city of Sidi Ifni, the hinterland being controlled by Morocco. Also, in 1958, Spanish West Africa is dissolved. To forestall criticism on the slow process of decolonization, Ifni is proclaimed a Spanish province – as is Spanish Sahara further to the south.
Ifni is returned to Morocco in 1969. Currently, Sidi Ifni is a town of 20 000 inhabitants.
Postal history Ifni
The first stamps are issued for Ifni in 1941 – these being Spanish stamps overprinted ‘Territorio de Ifni’. The first set of definitives is issued in 1943. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, Ifni issues resemble the contemporary issues in Spain and other Spanish possessions. From 1960, the issues are inscribed ‘España’ in a larger font and ‘Ifni’ in a smaller font. The last stamps of Ifni are issued in 1968. The stamps of Ifni are superseded by those of Morocco from 1969.