Abstract: Synthetic hematites prepared in the presence of phosphate can incorporate phosphorus (P) in forms other than phosphate adsorbed by ligand-exchange on the crystal surface. To investigate the nature of such occluded P, which is also found in some natural specimens, we prepared 13 hematites by aging ferrihydrite precipitated from Fe(NO3)3-KH2PO4 solutions. The P/Fe atomic ratio of the resulting hematites ranged from 0 to 3% and all incorporated significant amounts of OH. As P content is raised, particle morphology changes from rhombohedral to spindle or ellipsoid-shaped. Despite the grainy appearance in transmission electron microscope images, X-ray diffraction data indicate that the particles are single crystals. Specific surface area ranged from 66 to 91 m2 g−1, partly in micropores. The intensity of the absorption bands due to Fe3+ ligand field transition in the visible region, as measured by the second derivative of the Kubelka-Munk function, suggests that both OH and P contribute to an Fe deficiency in the structure. Such a deficiency is also apparent from the 104/113 peak intensity ratio in the X-ray diffraction patterns. The c unit-cell length increases with increasing P content. The infrared spectra exhibit four bands in the P-OH stretching region (viz., at 936, 971, 1005, and 1037 cm−1) which suggest that occluded PO4 possesses a low symmetry. Congruent dissolution of P and Fe was observed on acid treatment of the hematites, the dissolution rate being negatively correlated with the P content. All observations are consistent with the occluded P in the hematites being structural. A model is proposed where P occupies tetrahedral sites in the hematite structure, thus resulting in an Fe deficiency and facilitating proton incorporation.