Its surrounding area, called Cape Juby Strip or Tarfaya Strip, while making up presently the far South of Morocco, is in a way a semi-desertic buffer zone between Morocco proper and the Western Sahara, and was under Spanish rule in the first half of the 20th century.
On May 28, 1767, Mohammed ben Abdallah, the Sultan of Morocco, signed a peace and commerce treaty with King Charles III of Spain. In the treaty, Morocco did not guarantee the security of Spanish fishermen in the coasts south of the Noun River, as Morocco did not have control over the Tekna tribes of that area (Art. 18).  
On March 1, 1799, Sultan Slimane of Morocco signed an accord with King Charles IV of Spain, in which he recognized that the Saguia el Hamra and Cape Juby regions were not part of his dominions (Art. 22).
In 1879, the British North West Africa Company established a trading post near Cape Juby called "Port Victoria". On March 26, 1888, Moroccan soldiers attacked the post, killing the director of the post and leaving two workers badly injured. In 1895, the company sold its post to the Sultan of Morocco.
In 1912, Spain negotiated with France (which controlled the affairs of Morocco at the time) for concessions on the southern edge of Morocco. Francisco Bens officially occupied the Cape Juby region for Spain on July 29, 1916. It was administered by Spain as a single entity with Spanish Sahara and Ifni, as Spanish West Africa.
The Spanish area 12,700 sq mi (33,000 km2), and had a population of 9,836. Its main town was founded by the Spanish as Villa Bens (now called Tarfaya). Villa Bens was used as a staging post for airmail flights.
When Morocco became independent in 1956, it asked for the cession of Moroccan areas controlled by Spain. After some resistance and some fighting during 1957 (the Ifni War), the Cape Juby strip was ceded by the Spanish government to Morocco in 1958.
In 1877 the Scottish engineer Donald Mackenzie was the first to propose the creation of a Sahara Sea. Mackenzie's idea was to cut a channel from one of the sand-barred lagoons north of Cape Juby south to a large plain which Arab traders had identified to him as El Djouf. Mackenzie believed this vast region was up to 61 metres (200 ft) below sea level and that flooding it would create an inland sea of 155,400 square kilometres (60,000 sq mi) suited to commercial navigation and even agriculture. He further believed that geological evidence suggested this basin had once been connected to the Atlantic via a channel near the Saguia el-Hamra. He proposed that this inland sea, if augmented with a canal, could provide access to the Niger River and the markets and rich resources of West Africa. There are several small depressions in the vicinity of Cape Juby; at 55 m below sea level, the Sebkha Tah[better source needed] is the lowest and largest. But it covers less than 250 km² and is 500 km north of the geographical area identified as El Djouf (also known as the Majabat al-Koubra) which has an average elevation of 320 m. Mackenzie never travelled in this area but had read of other sub-sea level desert basins in present-day Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt similar to those found near Cape Juby. These basins contain seasonally dry salt lakes, known as chotts or sebkhas. Egypt's Qattara Depression is perhaps the largest such basin in North Africa.