Population: 3 516 806

GDP: 4 183 000 000.00 $



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. Maaouya Ould Sid Ahmed Taya seized power in a coup in 1984 and ruled Mauritania with a heavy hand for more than two decades. A series of presidential elections that he held were widely seen as flawed.



A bloodless coup in August 2005 deposed President Taya and ushered in a military council that oversaw a transition to democratic rule. Independent candidate Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi was inaugurated in April 2007 as Mauritania's first freely and fairly elected president. His term ended prematurely in August 2008 when a military junta led by General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz deposed him and installed a military council government.



Aziz was subsequently elected president in July 2009 and sworn in the following month. Aziz sustained injuries from an accidental shooting by his own troops in October 2012 but has continued to maintain his authority. The country continues to experience ethnic tensions among its black population (Afro-Mauritanians) and white and black Moor (Arab-Berber) communities, and confronts a terrorism threat by al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).



Population: 3,516,806 (2014).


Nationality: noun: Mauritanian(s), adjective: Mauritanian.


Ethnic groups: black Moors (Haratines - Arab-speaking slaves, former slaves, and their descendants of African origin, enslaved by white Moors) 40%, white Moors (of Arab-Berber descent, known as Bidhan) 30%, black Africans (non-Arabic speaking, Halpulaar, Soninke, Wolof, and Bamara ethnic groups) 30%.


Languages: Arabic (official and national), Pulaar, Soninke, Wolof (all national languages), French, Hassaniya (a variety of Arabic).


Religions: Muslim (official) 100%.



GDP: $ 4 183 000 000.00 (2013).

Military Organization


Mauritanian Armed Forces: Army, Mauritanian Navy (Marine Mauritanienne; includes naval infantry), Islamic Republic of Mauritania Air Group (Groupement Aerienne Islamique de Mauritanie, GAIM).

Conflicts and Disputes


Mauritanian claims to Western Sahara remain dormant.


Refugees (country of origin): 26,001 (Western Saharan - Sahrawis) (2013); 52,647 (Mali).

Geographical Information and Map


Capital: Nouakchott


Location: Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Senegal and Western Sahara. Most of the population is concentrated in the cities of Nouakchott and Nouadhibou and along the Senegal River in the southern part of the country.


Geographic coordinates:

20 00 N, 12 00 W



total: 1,030,700 sq km

land: 1,030,700 sq km

water: 0 sq km



Land boundaries:

total: 5,074 km

border countries: Algeria 463 km, Mali 2,237 km, Senegal 813 km, Western Sahara 1,561 km


Coastline: 754 km.


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