name for the capital of Western Sahara
, which has been under Moroccan (and briefly part-Mauritania
n) occupation since 1976.
It is a French spelling of the local Arabic name. Before 1976 the region was the colony of Spanish Sahara, and the city was known by the form El Aaiún. Both names correspond to the classical Arabic al ?a&yuun "The Wells" (plural of &ayn 'well').