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State

Capital

Mauritania

Nouakchott

Currency unit

Ouguiya

Connections

Arabs

Francophonie

Islam

North

Sahel

West Africa

 Politics

 Economics

 Green

 Rights

 Climate

History

This is the area out of which came the Muslim movements, Almoravides (Al Murabitun - the people of the Rabat, teaching center) and Almohades (people of the unity of God) which conquered Spain, through Morocco. (And southward to Senegal, thus linking Europe and Africa from the 10th to the 12th centuries.)

Modern Mauritania (the land of the Moors) was considered in the French sphere of interest from 1817 and was a protectorate from 1903 until 1960. Like several other African countries it straddles the frontier between Arabs and black Africans. As in Sudan and Chad the Arab northerners have traditionally treated the black southerners as slaves, and there are reports from the Anti-Slavery Society that slavery is still practiced, or has resumed after being suppressed during the colonial period.

Mauritania has been claimed by Morocco.

When Spain left the Western Sahara it divided the territory between Mauritania and Morocco. However the guerrilla movement POLISARIO fought them both and in 1979 Mauritania agreed with POLISARIO to stop fighting and hand over its part of the territory. But Morocco occupied it.

Extreme drought and perhaps population increase has caused a collapse of the nomadic economy. In recent years there have been disputes with Senegal which have led to mutual expulsions of their citizens.

The links with the Arab countries of the north are increasing and the country is a member of the Arab Maghreb Union and the Arab league, which means the government sees the country more as an Arab than as an African country.

Languages

Arabic

Berber (Beydame)

west Saharan langs.

 History

 Economics

 Green

 Rights

 Climate

Politics

The independence leader, Ould Daddah, was overthrown in 1978 partly over the war in Western Sahara. After his fall in 1979 peace was made with POLISARIO and in 1980 gave up Mauritania's Western Sahara sector to POLISARIO but it was occupied by Morocco. Elections were held at the end of January 1992, marking the end of the previous military government. Opposition groups claimed the elections were rigged.

Elections in March 2007 resulted in a change of party, and are regarded by observers as the only free elections since independence.

August 2008: the military overthrew the elected leader, allegedly after he had tried to dismiss the commanders of the army.

 History

 Politics

 Green

 Rights

 Climate

Economics

The export economy is based on iron ore deposits for which a railway was built by the French for export.

The traditional grazing economy has collapsed because of the drought and attempts to graze more animals than were formerly considered sufficient.

The fishing industry has also collapsed because fishing vessels from the European Union have made an agreement to take the deep water fish, but are not policed.

 History

 Politics

 Economics

 Rights

 Climate

Green/Ecology

The whole country is affected by a serious dessication of the already arid land. Pastoralists have had to give up their occupation. It is unknown whether it is a result of climate change, over-grazing or a normal cyclical pattern.

 History

 Politics

 Economics

 Green

 Climate

Human Rights

Slavery has been reported.

Climate effects

Last revised 7/08/08


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