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Mauritania - Country facts

Map

Small map of Mauritania
Click for a larger map

Flag

Country flag: Mauritania

Capital

Nouakchott

Currency

ouguiya (MRO)

Internet Code

.mr

Location

Northern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Senegal and Western Sahara

Background

Independent from France in 1960, Mauritania annexed the southern third of the former Spanish Sahara (now Western Sahara) in 1976, but relinquished it after three years of raids by the Polisario guerrilla front seeking independence for the territory. Opposition parties were legalized and a new constitution approved in 1991. Two multiparty presidential elections since then were widely seen as flawed, but October 2001 legislative and municipal elections were generally free and open. Mauritania remains, in reality, a one-party state. The country continues to experience ethnic tensions between its black population and the Maur (Arab-Berber) populace.

Climate

desert; constantly hot, dry, dusty

Terrain

mostly barren, flat plains of the Sahara; some central hills

Population

3,086,859 (July 2005 est.)

Ethnic Groups

mixed Maur/black 40%, Moor 30%, black 30%

Religions

Muslim 100%

Languages

Arabic (official), Pulaar, Soninke, French, Hassaniya, Wolof

Map of Mauritania

Large map of Mauritania
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