General information about Mauritania
The official name is The Islamic Republic of Mauritania. Located in northwest Africa. The area is 1030.7 thousand km2, the population is 2.75 million people. (2001). The official language is Arabic. The capital is Nouakchott (426.3 thousand people, 2001). Public holiday – Independence Day November 28 (since 1960). The monetary unit is ouguiya (equal to 5 khums).
Member of the UN (since 1961), OAU, LAS, KEAO, OIC, etc.
Geography of Mauritania
In the west it is washed by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The coast is low-lying and replete with sandbanks, islands and lagoons. To the west are Cape Timiris and Nouadhibou.
It borders Western Sahara to the north, Algeria to the northeast, Mali to the east and south, and Senegal to the south. The river flows along the southern border. Senegal.
Most of the territory is occupied by sandy and rocky deserts of the Sahara. Along with them there are flat or hilly desert plains. In the northeast, there is the Adrar plateau (altitude 829 m), interspersed with large hilly terrain. In the south there are sandstone plateaus with abrupt ledges. In the west – ridges of dunes located in a northeasterly direction. In the north and northeast there are large ergs. In the center is a thin sand cover.
The soil cover is poor. In the desert zone there are bare rocks and sand dunes. Salt marshes occur in places. Gray-brown prevails on the southern plains, reddish-brown in dry savannahs, in the river valley. Senegal fertile soil. Water supply is provided by groundwater.
The vegetation is represented mainly by shrubs and herbs. In the south and southwest of the country, it is richer. The flora of the Atlantic zone is relatively diverse. In the savannah, semi-desert and desert, it is much poorer. The animal world is small and does not differ in the richness of the species composition.
Of the minerals – large reserves of iron ore (1 billion tons). There are also reserves of copper ore (32 million tons), gold, diamonds, gypsum, phosphorites (136 million tons), cobalt, oil and other valuable minerals.
According to bridgat, the climate is tropical, desert. The influence of the ocean extends only to a narrow coastal strip, where there is high humidity. The average monthly temperatures in January are +16–20°С; July +30—32°С; maximum +45°С. The average annual rainfall in most of the country is approx. 50-100 mm, but in the northeast – less than 50 mm, in the south – 200-400, and in some places even 600 mm. At the same time, 2/3 of the country’s territory is defined as “Saharan”: not a drop of precipitation falls in them for years.
The population of Mauritania
Average annual growth rate 2.6% (2001). Population density – 2.7 people. per 1 km2. Birth rate 42.95%, mortality 13.65%. Child mortality is one of the highest in the world. Average life expectancy 51.14 years (estimated), incl. men – 49.04; women – 53.29 years.
Most of the population (about 70%) are Moors of Arab-Berber origin – representatives of the Caucasoid race. They live in the northern and central regions of the country, practice Malekite Islam and speak the dialect of Hassaniya Arabic. There are “white” Moors (bidans) and “black” Moors (kharatins) – the descendants of slaves liberated in the past. Previously, 2/3 of the Moors led a nomadic and semi-nomadic lifestyle, engaged in cattle breeding. But it started in the 1970s. A ten-year drought caused significant damage to livestock and forced many nomadic pastoralists to switch to a sedentary lifestyle. In 2000, the share of this group of the Mauritanian population in its total population was 4.8% (against 83% in 1965).
Due to the reduction in the rural population, the number of urban residents increased: in 1996, almost 53% of its total number (against 14% in 1970). St. 80% of the townspeople live in the capital. Up to 40% of the townspeople huddle in slums.
1/3 of the population is made up of Negroid peoples: Tukuler, Sarakole, Fulbe (20%; also called Fula, Fulani and Pol), Wolof (12%), Bambara, etc. They live in a relatively narrow zone in the south of the country, mainly in the valley of the river.Senegal, and lead a settled way of life, along with agriculture, they are also engaged in livestock breeding, fishing, some crafts, and trade. Their native languages are Soninke, Wolof, Pulaar.
The official religion is Islam of the Malekite persuasion. The vast majority of the population (99.6%) adheres to the Muslim religious and legal school, 0.1% adheres to local beliefs and cults. Animistic ideas are strong in the religious beliefs of the Negroid peoples in the south of the country. A few immigrants from West Africa (Senegalese and Malians), as well as Europeans (French, Spaniards) are Christians, the vast majority are Catholics. Several dozen Mauritanians are Protestants.