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Islamic Republic of Mauritania
al-Jumhuriyah al-Islamiyah al-Muritaniyah
Political Status: Independent republic since November 28, 1960; 1961 constitution suspended by the Military Committee for National Recovery on July 20, 1978; present constitution, providing for multiparty civilian government, approved by referendum July 12, 1991; constitution suspended by the High Council of State following bloodless coup on August 6, 2008; multiparty civilian government restored following presidential election on July 18, 2009.
Area: 397,953 sq. mi. (1,030,700 sq. km.).
Population: 3,629,960 (2012E—UN); 3,359,185 (2012E—U.S. Census).
Major Urban Center (2005E): NOUAKCHOTT (644,000). In recent years the population of Nouakchott has grown rapidly, as many former nomads have taken up permanent residence in the capital since the 1970s.[Page 917]
Official Language: Arabic. (Three languages of the Black African community-Poular, Soninke, and Wolof-are constitutionally designated as national languages. ...