Mauritania Historythe_raft_of_the_medusa.jpg

  • At first, Mauritania started from the migration of Berber tribes from North Africa displaced the Bafours, the original inhabitants of present-day Mauritania and the ancestors of the Soninke. Continued Arab-Berber migration drove indigenous black Africans south to the Senegal River or enslaved them. By 1076, Islamic warrior monks (Almoravid or Al Murabitun) completed the conquest of southern Mauritania, defeating the ancient Ghana empire. Over the next 500 years, Arabs overcame fierce Berber resistance to dominate Mauritania.
  • Mauritania is named after the ancient Berber kingdom of Mauretania. The country gained it's independence in 1960 and the capital city of Nouakchott was founded at the site of a small colonial village. Ninety percent of the population was still nomadic. With independence, larger numbers of ethnic Sub-Saharan Africans entered Mauritania, moving into the area north of the Senegal River. Educated in French, many of these recent arrivals became clerks, soldiers, and administrators in the new state.