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Mauritania: West African Country with Mystic Allure

Blacks and Berbers were the first settlers on Mauritania and later on in the 11th century it was center for the Berber Almoravid movement, which spread Islam through out the western Africa. Mauritania became a French colony in the 19th century after a long struggle and in 1946 it became a French Overseas Territory. After decades of independence struggle Mauritania finally gained freedom from French rule in 1960. In 1961 Mauritania became a UN member. In 2006 for the first time local and regional elections were held throughout the country in which Sidi Ould Sheik Abdellahi became Mauritania’s first president. In 2008 the country's top four military leaders deposed Prime Minister Boubacar and President Abdellahi in a bloodless coup.

Mauritania Profile: Overview of Facts and Figures
    · National Name: The Islamic Republic of Mauritania
    · Capital: Nouakchott
    · Total area: 1.04 million sq km (398,000 sq miles)
    · Population: 3.2 million (UN, 2008)
    · Currency: Ouguiya
    · Languages: Arabic (official and national), Pulaar, Soninke, Wolof (all national languages), French, Hassaniya
    · Ethnicity/ Races: Mixed Moor/black 40%, Moor 30%, black 30%
    · Religion: Muslim 100%
    · GDP (Per Capita): $1,900 (2008 est.)
    · Life Expectancy: Male: 51.61 years, Female: 56.28 years (2008 est.)
    · Literacy Rate: Male: 59.5%, Female: 43.4% (2000 census)

Geographical Information on Mauritania:
Mauritania is a country located in the northwest Africa. It is bordered by Morocco on the north, Algeria and Mali on the east, and Senegal on the south. The country is mostly desert with fertile Senegal River valley in the south and extended grazing land in the north.
The climatic condition of Mauritania is desert with hot, dry, dusty wind blowing round the clock with little rainfall. In the south rainfall is higher with a rainy season from July to September. Deserts are cooler and windy in March and April.

Culture, Cuisine and Tradition of Mauritania:
The culture of Mauritania is based upon the philosophy and teaching of Sunni sect of Islam, particularly the Maliki rite. Apart from Islam the past nomadic pastoral practices also influence the Mauritanian culture. Mauritania being composed of different ethnic groups, the conflicts among them are fairly common.

The cuisine of Mauritania has a strong Arabic influence and Mauritanian dishes have a strong North African flavor. The French influence in the Mauritanian cuisine is visible in the form of stews. Local cuisine of Mauritania includes mechoui (roasted lamb), dates, spiced fish and rice with vegetables, fish balls, dried fish, dried meat and couscous.

Mauritania Economy:
The economy of Mauritania is based on agriculture, livestock, iron ore mining, fishing and recently discovered oil reserves. Iron ore is one of the main natural resources of Mauritania and its export contributes much to Mauritanian national income. The fish processing is another sector that that contributes much to Mauritanian economy. The foreign aids from International Monetary Fund remain the major source investments in Mauritanian economy.

Tourist Attractions of Mauritania:
Mauritania has ample places that lure tourists from world over. The vast desert expanse provides some rare views of beautiful sun bathed sand dunes. For the more indulgent tourist the sand sports and camel safari offer untrammeled fun. The Islamic holy sites remain an important pilgrimage center for the Muslims for its religious and historic significance.

Chinguetti: Small world heritage town located in the oasis of the desert plane Adrar. It is one of the seven holy Muslim locations and an important crossroad of traveling caravans. Chinguetti is a starting point of traditional annual pilgrimage to Mecca.

Banc d'Arguin: it is famous for its bird habitat and is particularly exciting during the migratory season. It is paradise for bird watchers as well as for ornithologists.

Major Sight-seeing Places in Mauritania include:
    · Nouakchott
    · Nouadibou-Zouerate train.
    · Choum
    · Fderik
    · Musee de Ouadane

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