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Brief History of Mauritania:
Mauritania was originally inhabited by the Bafour tribe. During a period from 200-600 AD Berber tribes entered the land and became the dominant peoples. The southern portion of Mauritania still had the Ghana Empire until the 11th century when Islamic warrior monks defeated the Ghana empire. For the next 500 years the Arabs conquered the Berbers and took full control of the land.
At the beginning of the 30th century the French colonized the area. This brought the end of slaver and wars between clans. In 1960 Mauritania became an independent country. The capital city Nouakchott was founded at the time. At this time 90 percent of the population was still nomadic tribes. The first president was Moktar Ould Daddah.
The Geography of Mauritania
Total Size: 1,030,700 square km
Size Comparison: slightly larger than three times the size of New Mexico
Geographical Coordinates: 20 00 N, 12 00 W
World Region or Continent: Africa
General Terrain: mostly barren, flat plains of the Sahara Desert ; some central hills
Geographical Low Point: Sebkhet Te-n-Dghamcha -5 m
Geographical High Point: Kediet Ijill 915 m
Climate: desert; constantly hot, dry, dusty
Major cities: NOUAKCHOTT (capital) 709,000 (2009)
The People of Mauritania
Type of Government: republic
Languages Spoken: Arabic (official), Pulaar, Soninke, French, Hassaniya, Wolof
Independence: 28 November 1960 (from France)
National Holiday: Independence Day, 28 November (1960)
Religions: Muslim 100%
National Symbol: star and crescent
National Anthem or Song: Hymne National de la Republique Islamique de Mauritanie (National Anthem of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania)
Economy of Mauritania
Major Industries: fish processing, mining of iron ore and gypsum
Agricultural Products: dates, millet, sorghum, rice, corn; cattle, sheep
Natural Resources: iron ore, gypsum, copper, phosphate, diamonds, gold, oil, fish
Major Exports: iron ore, fish and fish products, gold
Major Imports: machinery and equipment, petroleum products, capital goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods
Currency: ouguiya (MRO)
National GDP: $7,115,000,000
** Source for population (2012 est.) and GDP (2011 est.) is CIA World Factbook.
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