Useful country information
Total area: 397, 953 sq mi (1,030,700 sq km)
Population (2014 est.): 3,516,806 (growth rate: 2.26%); birth rate: 31.83/1000; infant mortality rate: 56.06/1000; life expectancy: 62.28
Capital and largest city (2011 est.): Nouakchott, 786,000
Monetary unit: Ouguiya
National name: Al Jumhuriyah al Islamiyah al Muritaniyah
Languages: Arabic (official and national), Pulaar, Soninke, Wolof (all national languages), French, Hassaniya (a variety of Arabic)
Ethnicity/race: black Moors (Haratines - Arab-speaking slaves, former slaves, and their descendants of African origin, enslaved by white Moors) 40%, white Moors (of Arab-Berber descent, known as Bidhan) 30%, black Africans (non-Arabic speaking, Halpulaar, Soninke, Wolof, and Bamara ethnic groups) 30%
Religion: Islam 100%
National Holiday: Independence Day, Nov. 28
Literacy rate: 58.6% (2011 est.)
Destination Mauritania, a Northern African country in the Maghreb region bordering the North Atlantic Ocean in south west.
Independent from France in 1960, Mauritania annexed the southern third of the former Spanish Sahara (now Western Sahara) in 1976, but relinquished it after three years of raids by the Polisario guerrilla front seeking independence for the territory. Opposition parties were legalized and a new constitution approved in 1991.
Two multiparty presidential elections since then were widely seen as being flawed; Mauritania remains, in reality, a one-party state.
The country continues to experience ethnic tensions between its black minority population and the dominant Maur (White Moors, Arab-Berber) populace
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