Mauritania: population and cities
Countryaah website, Mauritania has about 4.5 million residents. Life expectancy in Mauritania is
around 60 years, and infant mortality is 7.8% of live births.
The population of Mauritania is roughly composed as follows:
- more than 30% light-skinned Moors
- more than 30% Haratin (black Africans belonging to the Moorish-Arab culture)
- more than 30% black Africans (Wolof, Toucouleur, Saracolé, 1% Fulbe, Bambara,
- approx. 5,000 Europeans (mostly French).
The Islam is the state religion Mauritania. Over 99% of the population belong to
it (mostly Malakite Sunnis). There is also a very small Christian minority,
which comprises around 0.3% of the population
The official language of the country is Arabic; French is used as a commercial
and educational language. The Mauritanians of Arab or Berber descent speak the
Arab Hassaniya dialect. There are also various Niger and Congo languages such
as Solinke, Pular and Wolof.
As far as social legislation and the health system are concerned, these are
completely inadequate in Mauritania. Despite the general compulsory schooling
for 6 to 11 year olds, around 25% of children do not go to school at all. About
57% of women and 40% of men are illiterate. Schools may only be attended by
children who have complete pedigree papers. As a result, orphans and street
children are denied access to school education. Around 20% of 10 to 15 year old
children have to work. Child slavery is also very common.
Unemployment is also a major problem. She drove hundreds of thousands of
Mauritanians to leave their country in search of work. Water and housing
shortages are further problems in the country. They are particularly evident in
the capital, Nouakchott.
Many different ethnic groups still practice female genital cutting in
Mauritania. It is estimated that around 70% of women and girls are affected. In
response to this, a law was passed in 2005 that punishes this "intervention in
the sexual organs of a female child" if the child has suffered damage from it
". The Association des Imams et des Oulémas also opposed this cruel tradition
and in 2006 issued a fatwa (= Islamic judgment).
Capital and other cities
The capital of the administrative region of the same name extends in
the western Sahara in a date palm oasis. The economic center of the north of the
country is the birthplace of the former Mauritanian President Maaouya Ould
Sid'Ahmed Taya (born 1941), who ruled the country from 1984 to 2005. Atar is
mostly used by tourists as a starting point for excursions, but with its old
town (Ksar) and the old residential and craft district, it also offers
interesting insights into the history and the present of the country.
The former capital of the Almoravids is now a sanctuary, as the tomb of
Iman El-Hadrami is located there.
Chinguetti, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996 together with the
caravan sites Ouadane, Oualata and Tichitt, has existed since the 13th century
when it was launched at the crossroads of several Sahara caravan routes. The new
establishment quickly developed into a central trading post, but also an
important place of Islamic learning. Today the ancient city delights with its
well-preserved ruins that go back to Chinguetti's wedding. In addition to
travelers interested in architecture, there are also Islamic scholars, because
they particularly wanted to admire the libraries. In the old town alone there
are five old libraries in which, among other things, Koran texts dating back to
the Middle Ages are stored.
Around 15,000 people live in Néma, a town in southeast Mauritania on
the border with Mali. The city is known as the end point of the Route de
l'Espoir, the only major road in Mauritania that leads in a west-east
direction. Near the city is Qualata, the former refuge for scholars.
The former Port-Étienne is the second largest city and the most
important economic center of Mauritania. Around 84,000 people currently live in
the city, which also has an international airport. The district with the largest
population is Numerowat. The business district Nouadhibous is the Ville (French:
city), which extends mainly on the Boulevard Médian and is determined by banks,
shops and the police.
The capital of Mauritania is Nouakchott (Nuwahsut) with a population of
about 950,000 (Foreign Office), but those who know the country speak of over 2
million residents. The city is located in the south-west of the country
directly on the The capital is the absolute opposite of most large
cities. There are only a few entertainment options such as cinemas, theaters or
restaurants. The old town is well worth seeing for tourists. The place was built
in 1960 on the foundations of an old Moorish village.
The historic town of Oualata, which has been on the UNESCO World
Heritage List since 1996, together with Chinguetti, Ouadane and Tichitt, extends
into the southeast of Mauritania and was once one of the most important trading
centers for caravans. At that time it played a particularly important role in
the gold and salt trade. Oualata also served as an important meeting point for
travelers on their pilgrimage to Mecca. Today's Oualata is rather sleepy, looks
deserted and is only inhabited by just under 3,000 people. This is also due to
the difficult accessibility of the city. But every year around 20 students from
different countries make the way to Oualata to visit the ancient madrasa, the
city's renowned Islamic school. The house paintings in Oualata are particularly
The city, founded in 1680 by the Moors "Idawali", is characterized by a very
special architecture with geometric drawings. The largest palm grove in
Mauritania is also located here.
Mauritania: Geography and Map
Area and boundaries
Defined by DigoPaul, Mauritania covers an area of 1,030,700 km². Thereof:
Around 10% of the country is forested.
- Meadow and pasture land
Around 38% of the land is used as meadow or pasture land.
- Fields and fields
Around 0.2% of the land is used as arable land or fields, especially for
growing vegetables, millet, rice and dates.
About 50% of the country consists of desert.
Mauritania shares a border with the following four states.
Algeria with a length of 463 km,
Mali with a length of 2,237 km,
Senegal with a length of 813 km and
Western Sahara with a length of 1,561 km.
Mauritania has a coast to the Atlantic Ocean with a length of 755 km.
Tidal range in Mauritania
At the Banc d'Arguin, the mean tidal range is between 0.6 and 2.1 m.
The world's highest tidal range can be found in the Bay of Fundy in
Canada, where it is up to 16 m, and at spring tide even over 20 m. The Bay of
Fundy is located on the Atlantic between the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick
and Nova Scotia, which is called Nova Scotia in German and whose capital is
Halifax. On the German North Sea coast it varies between 1 m and 3 m. In the
western Baltic Sea, on the other hand, the tidal range is only 0.3 m, while it
is barely noticeable in the eastern Baltic Sea. For detailed explanations of ebb
and flow, see Tides, Ebb and Flow.
Longitude and latitude
Mauritania extends over the following geographical latitude (abbreviation Δφ)
and geographical longitude (abbreviation Δλ):
|Δφ = from 14 ° 30´ to 27 ° 30´ N
Δλ = from 004 ° 54´ to 017 ° 03´ W.
You can find detailed information on this subject under Longitude and
For Mauritania, the following value applies to Central European Time (CET),
i.e. the time without summer time. A minus sign means that it is earlier there,
a plus sign that it is later than CET:
|Δ t (CET) = - 1 h (= GMT)
Further and detailed explanations of the time can be found under Time zones,
The highest point of the sun in Nouakchott
Mauritania's capital Nouakchott is located at a northern
latitude of around φ = 18 °.
If the declination δ of the sun has the value of 18 ° north and the image point
of the sun is therefore exactly above the city, the sun is perpendicular
there. This happens exactly twice a year, roughly 21 days before June 21st and
then again 21 days after June 21st (for details see position of the sun).
If the image point of the sun and thus the declination δ is north of the
latitude of Nouakchott, the sun is not in the south at noon, as in our
latitudes, but in the north. In this case, the sun moves from east to north to
west, where, like us, it sets.
The highest point in the country is the Kediet Ijill with a
height of 910 m.
The longest river in the country is Senegal with a length of
around 1,430 km.
The country includes several smaller lakes. The largest of these is Lac
The small island Île Tîdra is in front of the country.
The Sahara covers an area of around 9 million km², making it the largest
dry desert in the world. However, only about 20% of the Sahara is what can be
described as a sandy desert. In contrast, 80% of it is a stone or rubble
desert. The Sahara in northern Africa stretches from the Atlantic Ocean in the
west to the Nile and on the other side further to the Red Sea in the east. In
the north it is bounded by the Maghreb - Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya, in
the south lies the Sahel zone. Countries in which parts of the Sahara are
located: Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Mauritania, Niger, Sudan, Chad
and Tunisia. The few residents of the Sahara are Arabs, Berbers and Moors as
well as small groups of Tubu or Tuaregs.
Mauritania borders the Atlantic Ocean in the west of the country with a
length of around 755 km.