23 Amazing Mauritania Facts That Will Leave You Astonished

Mauritania, a sovereign country in Northwest Africa, is bordered by Western Sahara to the north and northwest, the Atlantic Ocean to the West, Mali to the east and southeast, Algeria to the northeast, and Senegal to the southwest๐ŸŒ.

Most of Mauritania receives very little rainfall throughout the year and is seriously exposed to the effects of desertification๐Ÿœ๏ธ. However, this country is rich in mineral resources, like iron, ore, and many other exciting and fun facts.

So, in this article, we will now discuss some fun and exciting Mauritania Facts ๐Ÿค—.

Fascinating Facts About Mauritania That Trigger Your Curiosity

The origin of its name, Mauritania

Mauritania originates from the ancient kingdom of Mauretania ๐Ÿ”, which came from the word Mauri, meaning Moors, the Berber-speaking people of northeast Africa.

Also, this country is bordered by Algeria, the Atlantic Ocean, Mali, Western Sahara, and Senegal.

Mauritania is huge but sparsely populated.

Population of Mauritania

The country of Mauritania is surprisingly big. It is about 397,955 square miles, or over one million square km large ๐Ÿ˜ฎ ๐Ÿ’จ. Mauritania is sparsely populated, With almost 4.6 million people residing here. 

Also, Mauritania is large enough to accommodate the United Kingdom within its boundaries about four times.

The flag of Mauritania says about the country’s struggle for independence

 Flag Of Mauritania

The flag of Mauritania has a green background with a star and central crescent and red bands at the top and bottom ๐Ÿšฉ. The star, green color, and crescent are traditional Muslim symbols, and red symbolizes the bloodshed during the struggle for independence from France.

The last nation in the globe to abolish slavery

Mauritania was the last nation in the world to abolish slavery when, at last, the practice was banned in 1981 โ›“๏ธ.

In 2012, it was estimated that almost 10% to 20% of the entire population still lived in slavery, mainly from the minority Afro-Mauritanian or Haratine groups, finding themselves living as domestic servants, bonded laborers, or even child brides.

These people are forced to work in homes or on farms without freedom, pay, or education ๐Ÿ˜”.

Mauritania has part of the largest desert in the globe

Part of Sahara Desert in Mauritania

Mauritania has part of the largest desert in the world, known as the Sahara Desert, with a total area of almost 3320000square miles or 8600000 square kilometers, which covers a lot of North Africa ๐Ÿ˜ฎ. 

Approximately 90% of Mauritania is desert which has caused continuous droughts throughout the nation.

Mauritania created part of the Dakar Rally.

Mauritania formed part of the Dakar Rally in 1978-79 and covered almost 15000 km between Europe and Southern Senegal. It is regarded as the most grueling automobile race in the world ๐Ÿš—๐Ÿ’จ. 

In 2009, the rally was relocated to South America after its organizers canceled the event because of safety concerns in Mauritania in 2008 which resulted in its cancellation that year.

Mauritania is hilly in parts, but it is primarily dry and flat.

Mauritania has some hills ๐Ÿ”๏ธ towards the center; however, it is mainly well-known for its arid desert plains. Moreover, the coastline shares a border with the Atlantic Ocean.

Mauritania is home to the Richat Structure.

In Mauritania, you will see the Richat Structure, sometimes called the “Eye of the Sahara” or the “Eye of Africa.” ๐Ÿ‘๏ธ

Seen from space, the circular-looking geologic feature measures 28 miles or 45 km and is considered to be caused by an uplifted dome. This dome has been eroded to expose onion-like layers of rock.

The UNESCO-listed Archaeological Site

Mauritania's Archaeological Site

Founded in the 3rd century, the famous UNESCO-listed Archaeological Site ๐Ÿ›๏ธ of Volubilis, located in modern-day Morocco, was Mauritania’s capital and showcased extensive and captivating remains of the Roman city created there.

Also, the modern capital of Mauritania, Nouakchott, likely derives from the Berber word “nawakshut,” which means “place of the winds.”

The History and Independence of Mauritania

Mauritania had been a tribal kingdom since around the 6th century B.C. Carthaginians and Phoenicians were later annexed to Rome around A.D. 44 ๐Ÿ“œ.

During the 1850s and 1860s, France gained complete control of southern Mauritania. In 1904, Mauritania was established as a colonial territory of France. 

After gaining self-governance in the year 1958, Mauritania gained complete independence in the year 1960.

In 1984, Colonel Maaouiya Ould Sid Ahmed was brought to power by a coup. He remained in force until 2005, when the military ousted him while out of the country.

Mauritania is not safe for tourists due to its crime rates and terrorism

Mint Tea of Mauritania

As per the U.K. Foreign Office, Mauritania is one of the 17 countries deemed completely unsafe for visitors to visit in 2020 because of the risk of terrorism ๐Ÿ˜ฐ. 

Also, alcohol is banned nationwide due to an Islamic decree; hence, mint tea is the most popular drink nationwide.

It is one of the least densely populated nations.

It is one of the least densely populated countries in the world, with less than four people per square kilometer of land area. 

Also, 22.1% of the population of Mauritania lives in poverty. Here malnutrition is widespread, with almost 9.8 % of young children suffering from acute malnutrition.

The reason is climate-related effects on crops, like inconsistent rain and droughts. Hence, nearly 25 percent of Mauritanians live on less than only USD 1.25 daily.

Moreover, the life expectancy in Mauritania is only 65 years old.

Here, you will see the largest ship graveyard.

In Mauritania, you will get to see the largest ship graveyard ๐Ÿšข. Near Nouadhibou, numerous wrecks have been grounded in shallow water, where they are scavenged or left to decay.

The currency of Mauritania is the ouguiya

Currency Of Mauritania

The currency of Mauritania is the ouguiya ๐Ÿ’ฐ, which is divided into five khoums. It is one of only two non-decimal currencies, meaning these are not divisible by units of 10 or even 100, while the other one is the Malagasy ariary currency of Madagascar.

Also, the country of Mauritania is rich in mineral resources, including gold, iron ore, copper, gypsum, phosphate rock, and many more.

Mauritania is well-known for its fish and meat.

Alongside its mineral and metal exports, Mauritania is famous for its fish and meat, and people grow copious amounts of millet and rice here ๐Ÿ˜‹. 

It has one of the longest trains in the globe.

The country of Mauritania has one of the longest trains in the globe. The “Iron-ore Train” or “Train du Desert” ๐Ÿš‚ is often 2.3 km long when it travels from the iron ore mines at Zouerat to Nouadhibou.

It is one of the newest oil producers in Africa.

Mauritania is famous as one of the newest oil-producing countries in Africa after the Chinguetti oil field was discovered in 2001, with potential oil reserves of around 120 million barrels of oil ๐Ÿ›ข๏ธ.

In addition, one of the most significant discoveries of natural gas was also discovered in Mauritanian offshore waters, with a potential of around 50 trillion cubic feet of gas, equivalent to about 8.9 billion barrels of oil.

Race riots erupted in Mauritania.

In the year 1989, race riots erupted in the countries of Mauritania and Senegal after a border dispute. More than 40,000 black people of Mauritania were driven out of the nation into Senegal.

It has one of the best birdwatching sites

The UNESCO-listed site Parc National du Banc d’Arguin is one of Africa’s most popular and best birdwatching sites ๐Ÿฆ…. It is also home to an array of wildlife, including a massive variety of thousands of migrating birds and also several species of dolphin and sea turtle.

Moreover, Mauritania is also home to a wild variety of wild animals, like elephants, gazelles, giraffes, hyenas, lions, and many more.

Mauritania and its access to electricity

Here, only 29 percent of the country has access to electricity ๐Ÿ’ก. However, the government of Mauritania has made it a priority to increase its electricity supply in a bid to reduce poverty. Efforts to increase access to electricity involve encouraging investment in the renewable energy sector to stimulate the economy.

Mauritania and gender equality

Women and girls of Mauritania face many social and cultural battles ๐Ÿšบ. Grooming young girls to be a wife and then forcing them to marry before 18 is a common practice. Moreover, freedom of choice remains elusive for young girls in Mauritania. 

Female Genital Mutilation is even a commonplace practice with a 66 percent of prevalence rate.

Mauritania and its access to health care

Recently, the nation has suffered from a poor healthcare system leading to very high infant and maternal mortality rates ๐Ÿ˜”. Moreover, the famous national insurance scheme covers only a tiny percentage of the population.

Divisions in political and government agendas have made coordination efforts much more challenging for NGOs and donors ๐Ÿฅ. Also, half of the population of Mauritania needs access to clean drinking water.

Mauritania is home to the most significant number of Malian refugees

The country of Mauritania hosts the most significant number of Malian refugees. As of March 31, 2015, more than 52000 refugees reside in the Mbera refugee camp ๐Ÿ‘ฅ.

Since the start of the political turmoil in Mali, WFP has offered life-saving food assistance to refugees who depend a lot on external support to meet their basic survival needs.

So, Mauritania is an exciting country with its fascinating and rich history, unique culture, rich mineral resources, heart-breaking poverty, fantastic landscape, captivating wildlife, and many more ๐Ÿ˜‡.

At the end of this article, we learned 23 interesting facts that give us a clear picture of Mauritania’s unique territory. You can see our website if you want to know other interesting facts.

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