Mauritania is an Arab Maghreb country in West Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean in the west, by Western Sahara (controlled by Morocco) in the north, by Algeria in the northeast, by Mali in the east and southeast, and by Senegal in the southwest. It is named after the ancient Berber Kingdom of Mauretania, which later became a province of the Roman Empire, even though the modern Mauritania covers a territory far to the south of the old Berber kingdom that had no relation with it. The capital and largest city is Nouakchott, located on the Atlantic coast.
The government of Mauritania was overthrown on 6 August 2008, in a military coup d'état led by General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. On 16 April 2009, General Aziz resigned from the military to run for president in the 19 July elections, which he won. In Mauritania about 20% of the population live on less than US$1.25 per day.
Slavery in Mauritania has been called a major human rights issue as well as female genital mutilation, child labour, and human trafficking.
Spoken languages are: Hassaniya, Pulaar, Soninke, Imraguen language, Wolof, Serer and French (widely used in media and among educated classes). Literary Arabic is also an official language.
Zenaga, a Berber language, was once spoken throughout much of Mauritania, but today it is almost totally replaced by Hassaniya. Only a tiny group of about 200 to 300 speakers of the Zenaga language may be left.