Spanish Civil War in Africa

Africa between the World Wars

Sub-Saharan Africa 1939.0204

Spanish Civil War in Africa

League of Nations Africa, Second Italo-Ethiopian War (4 February 1939)

Historical Map of Sub-Saharan Africa

In July 1936 the Spanish Civil War broke out, with the Spanish Nationalists quickly seizing power in Spanish Morocco. The rest of Spain's African empire soon followed suit and by mid-October the Nationalists were in control of the Spanish colonies in the Sahara and Guinea.

Main Events

Military uprising in Melilla

Having planned to stage a coup in Spanish Morocco on 18 July 1936 only to discover that the authorities had been alerted the day before, Spanish Nationalist plotter Emilio Mola ordered the Army of Africa to immediately revolt and seize control in Melilla. The success of the uprising was transmitted to Ceuta and Tetuán, where rebel forces of the Spanish Legion quickly took control. The Nationalists took Larache the following morning, completing their seizure of Spanish Morocco that same day.

Spanish Civil War

When the leftist Popular Front narrowly won elections in Spain in February 1936, a group of officers of the Spanish Republican Armed Forces disputed the result and denounced the instability of the new government. Following months of tension between these two sides, Nationalist officers led by General Francisco Franco mounted a full-scale insurrection against the Republican government in July. The resultant civil war lasted almost three years, before the Nationalists - supported by Germany and Italy - defeated the Republicans - supported by the Soviet Union - and installed a right-wing dictatorship in Spain under Franco.

Civil War in Spanish Guinea

The Spanish Colonial Guard launched an uprising on Fernando Poo, Spanish Guinea, in support of the Nationalist rebels in Spain. After six days, they established control of the island - which was the center of power in the colony - but were unable to defeat the pro-Republican forces on the continent. Eventually Nationalist troops from the Canary Islands arrived, disembarking at Bata, Río Muni
(continental Spanish Guinea), in October and thence securing Nationalist control of the colony.

Ingrams' Peace

Harold Ingrams, the first British political officer in Al Mukalla, capital of the Qu'aiti Sultanate of Shihr and Mukalla in the Hadhramaut, brokered a peace between the Qu'aiti Sultanate and its rival, the Kathiri Sultanate of Seiyun. The peace was financed by Sayyid Abu Bakur of Tarim, who was intent on building a motor road from Tarim to the port of Shihr, and established some stability in the Hadhramaut.

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