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.

Area: 397,953 sq. mi. (1,030,700 sq. km.).

Population: 2,548,157 (2000C); 3,086,859 (2005E), excluding an estimated 170,000–240,000 former residents of Senegal who fled or were expelled to Mauritania following a 1989 border dispute.

Major Urban Center (2000C): NOUAKCHOTT (588,195). In recent years the population of Nouakchott has grown rapidly, many former nomads having taken up permanent residence at the capital since the 1970s.

Official Language: Arabic. (Three languages of the Black African community–Poular, Soninke, and Wolof–are constitutionally designated as national languages. French, an official language until 1991, is still widely ...

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