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Its position on the Western Sahara conflict is, since the s, one of strict neutrality. Potential nationalization was based on the concept of "dead land", [28] i. A practical effect was government seizure of traditional communal grazing lands. Political parties , illegal during the military period, were legalized again in By April , as civilian rule returned, 16 major political parties had been recognized; 12 major political parties were active in President Taya won elections in and Most opposition parties boycotted the first legislative election in For nearly a decade the parliament was dominated by the PRDS.

The opposition participated in municipal elections in January—February , and in subsequent Senate elections — most recently in April — and gained representation at the local level, as well as three seats in the Senate. This period was marked by extensive ethnic violence and human rights abuses. Between and , a campaign of particularly extreme violence took place against a background of Arabization , interference with blacks' association rights, expropriation and expatriation. Following the incident, several riots erupted in Bakel , Dakar and other towns in Senegal, directed against the mainly Arabized Mauritanians who dominated the local retail business.

The rioting, adding to already existing tensions, led to a campaign of terror against black Mauritanians, [35] who are often seen as 'Senegalese' by Bidha'an, regardless of their nationality. The tension culminated in an international airlift agreed to by Senegal and Mauritania under international pressure to prevent further violence. The Mauritanian Government expelled tens of thousands of black Mauritanians.

Most of these so-called 'Senegalese' had no ties to Senegal, and many have been repatriated from Senegal and Mali after The government initiated a military investigation but never released the results. The government offered compensation to families of victims, which a few accepted in lieu of settlement. In the late s, Ould Taya had established close co-operation with Iraq , and pursued a strongly Arab nationalist line. Mauritania grew increasingly isolated internationally, and tensions with Western countries grew dramatically after it took a pro-Iraqi position during the Gulf War.

During the mid-to late s, Mauritania shifted its foreign policy to one of increased co-operation with the US and Europe. It was rewarded with diplomatic normalization and aid projects. Ould Taya also started co-operating with the United States in anti-terrorism activities, a policy which was criticized by some human rights organizations. A group of current and former Army officers launched a violent and unsuccessful coup attempt on 8 June The leaders of the attempted coup escaped from the country, but some of them were caught, later on.

Mauritania's presidential election , its third since adopting the democratic process in , took place on 7 November Six candidates, including Mauritania's first female and first Haratine descended from former slaves candidates, represented a wide variety of political goals and backgrounds. Taking advantage of Taya's attendance at the funeral of Saudi King Fahd , the military, including members of the presidential guard, seized control of key points in the capital Nouakchott. The coup proceeded without loss of life. Calling themselves the Military Council for Justice and Democracy, the officers released the following statement:.


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Vall, once regarded as a firm ally of the now-ousted president, had aided Taya in the coup that had originally brought him to power, and had later served as his security chief. Sixteen other officers were listed as members of the Council. Though cautiously watched by the international community, the coup came to be generally accepted, with the military junta organizing elections within a promised two-year timeline. The leader of the junta , Col. Vall, promised to abide by the referendum and relinquish power peacefully. They considered that position as a legacy of the Taya regime's attempts to curry favor with the West.

Parliamentary and municipal elections in Mauritania took place on 19 November and 3 December Mauritania's first fully democratic presidential elections took place on 11 March The elections effected the final transfer from military to civilian rule following the military coup in This was the first time since Mauritania gained independence in that it elected a president in a multi-candidate election.

On 6 August , the head of the presidential guards took over the president's palace in Nouakchott, a day after 48 lawmakers from the ruling party resigned in protest of President Abdallahi's policies. The coup was co-ordinated by General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz , former chief of staff of the Mauritanian Army and head of the presidential guard, who had recently been fired. Mauritania's presidential spokesman, Abdoulaye Mamadouba, said the President, Prime Minister, and Interior Minister had been arrested by renegade Senior Mauritanian army officers and were being held under house arrest at the presidential palace in the capital.

A Mauritanian lawmaker, Mohammed Al Mukhtar, claimed that many of the country's people supported the takeover of a government that had become "an authoritarian regime" under a president who had "marginalized the majority in parliament. However, Abdel Aziz's regime was isolated internationally, and became subject to diplomatic sanctions and the cancellation of some aid projects.

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It found few supporters among them Morocco, Libya and Iran , while Algeria, the United States, France and other European countries criticized the coup, and continued to refer to Abdallahi as the legitimate president of Mauritania. Domestically, a group of parties coalesced around Abdallahi to continue protesting the coup, which caused the junta to ban demonstrations and crack down on opposition activists.

International and internal pressure eventually forced the release of Abdallahi, who was instead placed under house arrest in his home village. The new government broke off relations with Israel. In March , Mauritania's female foreign minister Mint Hamdi Ould Mouknass announced that Mauritania had cut ties with Israel in a "complete and definitive way.

After the coup, Abdel Aziz insisted on holding new presidential elections to replace Abdallahi, but was forced to reschedule them due to internal and international opposition. During the spring of , the junta negotiated an understanding with some opposition figures and international parties.

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As a result, Abdallahi formally resigned under protest, as it became clear that some opposition forces had defected from him and most international players, notably including France and Algeria, now aligned with Abdel Aziz. The United States continued to criticize the coup, but did not actively oppose the elections. Many of Abdallahi's former supporters criticized this as a political ploy and refused to recognize the results. They argued that the election had been falsified due to junta control, and complained that the international community had let down the opposition.

Despite complaints, the elections were almost unanimously accepted by Western, Arab and African countries, which lifted sanctions and resumed relations with Mauritania. By late summer, Abdel Aziz appeared to have secured his position and to have gained widespread international and internal support. Some figures, such as Senate chairman Messaoud Ould Boulkheir , continued to refuse the new order and call for Abdel Aziz's resignation.

In February , the waves of the Arab Spring spread to Mauritania , where thousands of people took to the streets of the capital. In November , Mauritania was invited as a non-member guest nation to the G20 summit in Brisbane.

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As of [update] , Mauritania had a population of approximately 4. The local population is divided into three main ethnic tiers: Bidhan or Moors , Haratin , and West Africans. They speak Hassaniya Arabic and are primarily of Arab-Berber origin. They are descendants of former slaves and also speak Arabic.

There are extreme restrictions on freedom of religion and belief in Mauritania; it is one of thirteen countries in the world which punishes atheism by death. The new law eliminates the possibility under article of substituting prison terms for the death penalty for certain apostasy-related crimes if the offender promptly repents. Arabic is the official and national language of Mauritania. The local spoken variety, known as Hassaniya , contains many Berber words and significantly differs from the Modern Standard Arabic that is used for official communication.

Pulaar , Soninke and Wolof also serve as national languages. Life expectancy at birth was The obesity rate among Mauritanian women is high, perhaps in part due to the traditional standards of beauty in some regions in the country , in which obese women are considered beautiful while thin women are considered sickly. Since , all teaching in the first year of primary school is in Modern Standard Arabic ; French is introduced in the second year, and is used to teach all scientific courses. Mauritania has the University of Nouakchott and other institutions of higher education, but the majority of highly educated Mauritanians have studied outside the country.

Public expenditure on education was at The government bureaucracy is composed of traditional ministries, special agencies, and parastatal companies. The Ministry of Interior spearheads a system of regional governors and prefects modeled on the French system of local administration. Control is tightly concentrated in the executive branch of the central government, but a series of national and municipal elections since have produced limited decentralization.

These regions are subdivided into 44 departments moughataa.

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The regions and capital district in alphabetical order and their capitals are:. Mauritania is in the western region of the continent of Africa, is generally flat, its 1,, square kilometres forming vast, arid plains broken by occasional ridges and clifflike outcroppings. A series of scarps face southwest, longitudinally bisecting these plains in the center of the country. The scarps also separate a series of sandstone plateaus, the highest of which is the Adrar Plateau , reaching an elevation of metres.

Isolated peaks, often rich in minerals, rise above the plateaus; the smaller peaks are called guelbs and the larger ones kedias. The concentric Guelb er Richat is a prominent feature of the north-central region. Approximately three-fourths of Mauritania is desert or semidesert.

The plateaus gradually descend toward the northeast to the barren El Djouf , or "Empty Quarter," a vast region of large sand dunes that merges into the Sahara Desert. To the west, between the ocean and the plateaus, are alternating areas of clayey plains regs and sand dunes ergs , some of which shift from place to place, gradually moved by high winds. The dunes generally increase in size and mobility toward the north.

Only sandy desert is found in the centre and north of the country. Despite being rich in natural resources, Mauritania has a low GDP.


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  • Gold and copper mining companies are opening mines in the interior. The country's first deepwater port opened near Nouakchott in In recent years, drought and economic mismanagement have resulted in a buildup of foreign debt. The economic objectives have been set for — Privatization remains one of the key issues.

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    Oil was discovered in Mauritania in in the offshore Chinguetti field. Although potentially significant for the Mauritanian economy, its overall influence is difficult to predict. Mauritania has been described as a "desperately poor desert nation, which straddles the Arab and African worlds and is Africa's newest, if small-scale, oil producer. United Arab Emirates government, via its pilot green city Masdar, announced it will install new solar plants in the city of Atar which will supply an additional The plants will power about 39, homes and save 27, tonnes of carbon emissions per year.

    The Abdallahi government was widely perceived as corrupt and restricted access to government information. Sexism, racism, female genital mutilation , child labour, human trafficking , and the political marginalization of largely southern-based ethnic groups continued to be problems. Following the coup, the military government of Mauritania faced severe international sanctions and internal unrest. Amnesty International accused it of practicing coordinated torture against criminal and political detainees.

    The organization has said that the Mauritanian government has practiced institutionalized and continuous use of torture throughout its post-independence history, under all its leaders. Mauritanian blogger Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mkhaitir was sentenced to death after he wrote an article critical of religion and the caste system in Mauritania.

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    He is a designated prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International. Slavery persists in Mauritania. No cases have been successfully prosecuted under the antislavery law despite the fact that de facto slavery exists in Mauritania. Only one person, Oumoulmoumnine Mint Bakar Vall, has been prosecuted for owning slaves and she was sentenced to six months in jail in January In , a government minister stated that slavery "no longer exists" in Mauritania. Filming for several documentaries and films has taken place in Mauritania, including Fort Saganne , The Fifth Element , Winged Migration , and Timbuktu From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

    Islamic republic in Northwest Africa. This article is about the modern country. For the ancient kingdom, see Mauretania. For the archipelago country in the Indian Ocean, see Mauritius. For the ocean liner, see RMS Mauretania This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.

    Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. October Learn how and when to remove this template message. Location of Mauritania dark blue in Africa. According to Article 6 of the Constitution: History of Mauritania and Politics of Mauritania. This section needs additional citations for verification.

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    September Learn how and when to remove this template message. Status of Western Sahara and Tiris al-Gharbiyya. Mauritania Religions [2] Islam. Largest cities or towns in Mauritania http: Regions of Mauritania and Departments of Mauritania. Economy of Mauritania and Transport in Mauritania. Human rights in Mauritania. Mauritanian cuisine , Music of Mauritania , and Sport in Mauritania. Le Quotidien de Nouakchott. Archived from the original on 14 April National Statistical Office of Mauritania. Retrieved 20 December Retrieved 10 September Retrieved 2 March Meeting other singles in Mauritania has never been easier than when you have an account with us.

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