Originally a Spanish colony, it handed the administration of the colony in 1975 to a joint effort by Morocco and Mauritania (the former had started claiming it since 1957). They couldnt get along and eventually a war erupted; thats when the Polisario Front, a liberation movement of the Sahrawis, nomads of mixed Arab-Berber blood, proclaimed the independence of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. When the war ended, Morocco took possession of the terrain, reclaiming it as such.
The place itself is almost a Death World with mostly desert, interrupted by the occasional highway that goes from town to town, its shores are too high and rocky to be used as beaches or ports and it doesnt seem to have much oil (or at least, its not that accessible). The population is barely over 500,000 people, mostly Moroccans and Sahrawis.
The place as of today is divided between a zone controlled by Morocco (next to the shore) and a zone controlled by the Polisario Front (the inland part). The Moroccan part is by far the more heavily populated, and the Moroccan government has been working like hell to develop the region and endear it to the government in Rabat. The Front is backed by Algeria, which Morocco claims to be the one pulling its strings, which sees the conflict as part of a wider grudge against Morocco that started when the latter attempted to take some territory off them (which had been transferred to them by the French... don't ask why both countries didn't even bother to bury the hatchet and chew out France for the geopolitical mess they just got into). Morocco, on the other hand, is supported by France and, occasionally, America. No side is willing to back down, though Morocco is willing to offer autonomy to the Sahrawis. This comes as no surprise since Spain, one of Morocco's two former masters (Spain controlled most of the Mediterranean coast of Morocco from 1912 to 1956), counts various autonomous communities as part of its dominion to this day.
The Sahrawi flag