26 Momentous Facts About Mauritania
Looking to boost your local knowledge of this vast African country? Take a look at these 26 interesting facts about Mauritania!
- Mauritania is a sparsely populated country in North Africa.
- It is bordered by Western Sahara to the north, Algeria to the northeast, Mali to the east and south and Senegal to the southwest; it also has a coastline along the Atlantic Ocean to the west.
- To witness the incredible sights of the crystal clear waters that surround Mauritania or its vast sandy desert, head for the coordinates of 18.1500° N, 15.9667°
- The terrain here is mostly barren, flat desert, with some hills in the centre of the country.
- In fact, 2/3 of the country is covered by the Sahara desert!
- The total land area of Mauritania is 397,955 square miles (1,030,700 square kilometres)…
- …that’s more than 4 times the size of the UK.
- Mauritania’s population was 3,596,702 in 2015…
- …that’s less than 1/17 of the UK population; that means it’s around 68 times less densely populated than the UK!
- In fact, that makes it one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world!
- Residents here are known as Mauritanians.
- The capital is Nouakchott; it covers an area of 400 square miles (1,036 square kilometres) and had a population of 968,000 in 2015.
- Mauritanians enjoy a desert climate with generally hot, dry and dusty weather!
- The Richat Structure is a natural geological feature in the Saharan desert that can be seen from space! Known as the ‘Eye of Africa’, the reason for the 50km wide wonder is still unknown!
- The bay of Nouadhibou is home to one of the world’s largest ‘ship graveyards’. More than 300 ships have been dumped within the bay once they’ve reached the end of their useable life.
- Like many African countries, Mauritania boasts Lions, Gazelles, Leopards, Elephants, Baboons, Hyenas, Wolves, Giraffes and many more wild and endangered animals.
- Whilst Mauritania only has 2 endemic mammals, both of which are species of gerbil, it does have 6 endemic species of scorpion! Other endemic vertebrates include a jumping spider and several species of beetle.
- Once a territory of France, Mauritania gained independence in 1960.
- The official language of Mauritania is Arabic. There are also 6 other languages spoken here, including French.
- Mauritanian Ouguiya is the official currency here.
- The average life span here is 63 years.
- Mauritania was one of the last countries in the world to abolish slavery in 1981!
- Mauritania is one of only two countries in the world to not use a decimal currency! The other is Madagascar.
- Mauritania grows millet, rice, dates and sorghum (a cereal); they also rear cattle and catch fish.
- Its industry consists of fish processing and mining for iron ore, gypsum and gold.
- This vast country exports iron ore, gold, fish and fish products.