Mauritania (/ˌmɒrɪˈteɪniə, ˌmɔːrɪ-/ Arabic: موريتانيا, Mūrītānyā, French: Mauritanie ), officially the Islamic Republic of Mauritania (Arabic: الجمهورية الإسلامية الموريتانية), is a sovereign state in Northwest Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Western Sahara to the north and northwest, Algeria to the northeast, Mali to the east and southeast, and Senegal to the southwest. Mauritania is the eleventh largest country in Africa, and 90 percent of its territory situated in the Sahara. Most of its population of 4.4 million lives in the temperate south of the country, with roughly one third concentrated in the capital and largest city, Nouakchott, located on the Atlantic coast. The country's name comes from the ancient Berber kingdom of Mauretania, located in what is now Morocco and Algeria. The Berbers occupied what is now Mauritania from around the third century A.D. In the eighth century, Arabs conquered the region, bringing Islam, Arab culture, and the Arabic language. In the late 19th century, Mauritania was colonized by France as part of French West Africa. It achieved independence in 1960, but has since experienced recurrent coups and periods of military dictatorship. Mohamed Ould Ghazouani was elected president of Mauritania following the 2019 elections, which were considered Mauritania's first peaceful transition of power since independence.
Mauritania is a culturally rich country. Mauritania is culturally and politically part of the Arab world, is a member of the Arab League, and has Arabic as its only official language. Reflecting its colonial heritage, French is widely spoken and serves as a common language, or unofficial national language. The official religion is Islam, and most of the inhabitants are Sunni Muslims. Despite its prevailing Arab identity, Mauritanian society is multi-ethnic: the Bidhan, or so-called "white moors", make up 30 percent of the population, while the Haratin, or so-called "black moors", comprise 40 percent. Both groups are something a fusion of Arab-Berber ethnicity, language, and culture. The remaining 30 percent of the population is made up of various sub-Saharan ethnic groups : (mainly from the Senegal River basin, including the Harpurars, Fulani, Soninke, Wolof, and Bambara ethnic groups).
Despite the abundance of natural resources such as iron ore and oil, Mauritania is very poor and its economy is mainly based on agriculture, animal husbandry, and fishing. Mauritania is also known for its human rights issues. In particular, slavery is known to persist as a result of the historical caste system between the Bidan and Haratin peoples; it was the last country to abolish slavery in 1981, and it was only criminalized in 2007.
These photos are not intended to be works of art, but rather simply as pre-reconnaissance reference aids.