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Country in Northwest Africa / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Mauritania,[lower-alpha 1] officially the Islamic Republic of Mauritania (Arabic: الجمهورية الإسلامية الموريتانية), is a sovereign country in Northwest Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Western Sahara to the north and northwest, Algeria to the northeast, Mali to the east and southeast, and Senegal to the southwest. Mauritania is the 11th-largest country in Africa and the 28th-largest in the world, and 90% of its territory is situated in the Sahara. Most of its population of 4.4 million lives in the temperate south of the country, with roughly one-third concentrated in the capital and largest city, Nouakchott, located on the Atlantic coast.

Quick facts: Islamic Republic of Mauritaniaالجمهورية الإسل...
Islamic Republic of Mauritania
الجمهورية الإسلامية الموريتانية (Arabic)
al-Jumhūrīyah al-Islāmīyah al-Mūrītānīyah
Motto: شرف، إخاء، عدل
"Honour, Fraternity, Justice"
Anthem: النشيد الوطني الموريتاني
"Land of the Proud, Guided by Noblemen"
Location of Mauritania (dark green) in western Africa
and largest city
18°09′N 15°58′W
Official languages
Spoken languages
Ethnic groups
Sunni Islam
GovernmentUnitary semi-presidential Islamic republic
Mohamed Ould Ghazouani
Mohammed Ould Bilal
Cheikh Ahmed Baye[2]
LegislatureNational Assembly
 Republic established
28 November 1958
 Independence from France
28 November 1960
 Current constitution
12 July 1991
1,030,000 km2 (400,000 sq mi)[3] (28th)
 Water (%)
 2021 estimate
 2013 census
3.4/km2 (8.8/sq mi)
GDP (PPP)2022 estimate
$30.013 billion[6] (146th)
 Per capita
$6,925[6] (132th)
GDP (nominal)2022 estimate
$10.091 billion[6] (151th)
 Per capita
$2,328[6] (144th)
Gini (2014) 32.6[7]
HDI (2021) 0.556[8]
medium · 158th
CurrencyOuguiya (MRU)
Time zoneUTC (GMT)
Date formatdd/mm/yyyy
Driving sideright
Calling code+222
ISO 3166 codeMR
  1. According to Article 6 of the Constitution: "The national languages are Arabic, Pulaar, Soninke, and Wolof; the official language is Arabic."

The country's name derives from the ancient Berber kingdom of Mauretania, located in North Africa within the ancient Maghreb. Berbers occupied what is now Mauritania beginning in the third century AD. Arabs under the Umayyad Caliphate conquered the area in the late seventh century, bringing Islam, Arab culture, and the Arabic language. In the early 20th century, Mauritania was colonized by France as part of French West Africa. It achieved independence in 1960, but has since experienced recurrent coups and periods of military dictatorship. The most recent coup, in 2008, was led by General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who won subsequent presidential elections in 2009 and 2014.[10] He was succeeded by Mohamed Ould Ghazouani following the 2019 elections, which were considered Mauritania's first peaceful transition of power since independence.[11]

Mauritania is culturally and politically part of the Arab world: it is a member of the Arab League and Arabic is the sole official language. The official religion is Islam, and almost all inhabitants are Sunni Muslims. Despite its prevailing Arab identity, Mauritanian society is multiethnic: the Bidhan, or so-called "white moors", make up 30% of the population,[12] while the Haratin, or so-called "black moors", comprise 40%.[12] Both groups reflect a fusion of Arab-Berber ethnicity, language, and culture. The remaining 30% of the population comprises various sub-Saharan ethnic groups.

Despite an abundance of natural resources, including iron ore and petroleum, Mauritania remains poor; its economy is based primarily on agriculture, livestock, and fishing. Mauritania is known for its poor human rights record, most notably the continued practice of slavery, a result of a historical caste system between the Bidhan and Haratin. It was the last country in the world to abolish slavery, in 1981, and criminalized it only in 2007.