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Islamic Republic of Mauritania

Mauritania location

Official language – Arabic,
French is widely used in media and among educated classes.
Capital – Nouakchott
National holiday – Independence Day, 28 November (from France since 1960)
Government type – Presidential Republic
Mauritania is named after the ancient Berber Kingdom of Mauretania, which later became a province of the Roman Empire, even though the modern Mauritania covers a territory far to the south of the old Berber kingdom that had no relation with it. The capital and largest city is Nouakchott, located on the Atlantic coast

Administrative division – Mauritania is divided into 12 regions (régions) called wilaya and one capital district in Nouakchott, which in turn are subdivided into 44 departments (moughataa). 12 regions: Adrar, Assaba, Brakna, Dakhlet Nouadhibou, Gorgol, Guidimaka, Hodh Ech Chargui, Hodh El Gharbi, Inchiri, Tagant, Tiris Zemmour, Trarza.

Area – 1,030,631sq km
Mauritania is the world's 29th-largest country (after Bolivia). It is comparable in size to Egypt

Border countries: Algeria (in the northeast), Mali (in the east and southeast), Senegal (in the southwest), Western Sahara (controlled by Morocco, in the north). In the west Mauritania is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean

Natural resources: iron ore, gypsum, copper, phosphate, diamonds, gold, oil, fish

Population – 4,7 mln (2020, UNCTAD)
Mauritania’s population is composed of several ethnic groups: the Moors (White or Arab) or Beidane, the Haratins, who are black-skinned descendants of freed slaves still attached to their former masters’ culture; the Soninke; the Serer (generally farmers and stock-breeders); the Hal-pulaar or Fulas which includes settled farmers called Toucouleur and nomadic stock-breeders.

The country is nearly 100% Muslim, most of whom are Sunnis. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Nouakchott, founded in 1965, serves the 4,500 Catholics in Mauritania

Spoken languages are: Hassaniya, Pulaar, Soninke, Imraguen language, Wolof, Serer and French (widely used in media and among educated classes, see African French). Modern Standard Arabic is also an official language. Zenaga, a Berber language, was once spoken throughout much of Mauritania, but today it is almost totally replaced by Hassaniya. Only a tiny group of about 200 to 300 speakers of the Zenaga language may be left.

Calling code: 222