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tiistai 4. elokuuta 2015

Mauritania, Cool Facts #56

<= 55. Kuwait                                                                                                               57. Oman =>


1. One railway track 

There is only one railway track in Mauritania. The railway track goes from the Zouerate iron ore mines to the coast. Iron ore is the most important export product of this poor country. The world's longest regularly operating train operates in the railway track. At its longest, the freight train is 3 kilometers long.





2. Slavery

Slavery is still a big problem in Mauritania although it was banished officially in 1981. It's estimated that Mauritania has the highest proportion of their population as slaves in the world. The black in the south are still suppressed by the Arabs in the north. 





3. Hassaniya Arabic

Hassaniya Arabic is the variety of Arabic spoken in Mauritania and elsewhere in Western Africa. The name Hassaniya comes from Beni Hassan tribe whose descendants formed the upper level of the society. The Beni Hassan tribe beat the last Berber rebellion in 1674. The Hassaniya Arabic has been influenced by Berber languages and local languages like Zenega and Wolof. Hassaniya Arabic is relatively different compared to the other variants of Arabic spoken in Northern Africa.

Dark Green = Hassaniya Arabic, Light Green = Tuareg


4. Population

- 2/3 of the population are Moors, descendants of Arabs and Berbers 
- 1/3 are black people
- Toucouleur, Fulani and Wolf tribes the biggest black tribes
- Moors live in the desert
- Blacks live in the south cultivating the fertile Senegal river delta
- Moors are the dominant population group
- Black people are second-class people in Mauritania 


Mauritanian children


5. Symbols

Religion is one thing that unites the country divided in the Black south and the Arab north. Both the blacks and the Arabs are Muslims. Islam is seen also in the flag of Mauritania. Unlike the other Western African French colonies, Mauritania didn't adopt the French tricolor as their model of the new flag with Pan-African colors red, yellow and green. Mauritania chose the islamic symbols on the green color which also represents Islam.



Timeline

1000 Berbers from Morocco conquer the area converting the local people into Islam
1500s Arabs spread to the area and suppress the black people as slaves
1674 Last Berber rebellion which ends in the victory of the Arabs
1920 Mauritania becomes a French colony
1958 Mauritania gets autonomy which wasn't accepted by Morocco
1960 Mauritania becomes independent
1974 Zouirate iron ore deposits are nationalized 
1976 Western Sahara declared independence, both Morocco and Mauritania demand the area for themselves 
1978 A military coup
1979 Mauritania withdraws their troops from Western Sahara
1981 Slavery is abolished officially
1984 Colonel Maaouya Taya declares himself the president
1989 Conflicts with Senegal at the border
2005 Taya is being overthrown finally from power after many attempts

Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mauritania
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hassaniya_Arabic
Maailman liput maat ja historia by Kimmo Kiljunen 

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