Culture Mauritania

  • Mauritania,
    © Satina / 123RF
  • Mauritania
    © Hagit Berkovich / 123 rf
Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination Mauritania

Mauritania : Discover the country's culture


'Southern Mail' and 'Wind, Sand and Stars', Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.




Mauritania : Discover the country's history

Historical dates

The territory seems to have been inhabited since the Neolithic era. As the paintings, engravings, sculptures, pottery and other remains of the period prove , the Mauritanians were hunters, breeders and fishermen.
-500 BC: Settling of the Berbers.
4th century:The Empire of Ghana settles in the fertile regions between Sahara and the valleys of Senegal and Niger.
8th century:Trading with the Berbers leads to the construction of the first trans-Saharan roads, linking the Empire of Ghana to the rest of the Arab World.
12th century: In the north and the centre, the population consists mainly of Muslim Berbers and the Fleuve region of Islamized black people. The Ghana Empire is more and more influenced by the Mali Empire. Society is divided into professional castes.
15th century: The Hassane, Muslim nomads, create the emirates of the plains of Trarza, Brakna and Hodh.
1644-1674: War of Charr Bouba: resistance to the settling of the Hassane warriors. The Berbers are defeated and their rights limited. The monarchs convert to Islam. This long war does not solve the other tribal conflicts.
1727: The Dutch give up the land of Mauritania to the French and the English.
From end of 18th century to mid-19th century: Conflicts among the Portuguese, English and French colonizers. Mauritania becomes a French colony in 1920.
1949: Discovery of the copper ore of Guelb Moghrein.
1958: Mauritania is proclaimed an autonomous republic.
1959: The Party for Mauritanian Reunification, with Mokhtar Ould Daddah at its head, is elected to the Assembly.
28th November 1960: Independence of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.
1968: Arabic is declared the official language. Halpulaar, Wolof and Soninke (southern dialects) are national languages.
1973: Membership to the Arab League.
1975: Treaty of Madrid. Mauritania is sovereign of the southern part of Western Sahara. The Polisario Front, who wants the independence of this territory, raids Mauritania.
1979: Secret agreements between Mauritania and the Polisario. Mauritania pulls out of Western Sahara.
From 1973 to 1984: both political and economical situations deteriorate.
1984: Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya, a moderate conciliator comes to power with the aim of establishinga restructuring programme.
1989: Membership of the Arab Maghreb Union.
1990: Social tension. The (excluded) Senegalese refugees (they had come to Mauritania after a devastating heat wave in 1973) demand a new place in society.
1992: The economy picks up again.
1998: Development of tourism.
1999: Mauritania breaks the ties with Irak and joins forces with Israel.
2000: Agreement on the reduction of national debt.
2005: Maaouya Ould Sid Ahmed Taya has been head of state since 1983 and Sghair Ould M'Bareck has been Prime Minister since 2003. There is political instability.
3rd August 2005: Coup d'Etat performed by Colonel Ely Ould Mohammed Vall, head of the National Guard. This was unanimously condemned by the international community, but the local population did not express discontent. The government demands to remain two years in power in order to establish a democracy in Mauritania. Sidy Mohamed Ould Boubacar is appointed Prime Minister of the Mauritanian transitional government in the seat of Sghaïr Ould M'Bareck.
25th August 2005: Creation of the Social Democrat Party.
25th March 2007: Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi becomes President of the Republic of Mauritania.

Mauritania : Stay up to date on the country's holidays and events


1st January:New Year's Day.
29 December 2008: Muslim New Year (variable date).
11th April: Birth of the Prophet.
1st May: Labour Day.

1st October 2008: End of Ramadan.
28th November: Independence Day.

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