Mauritania 1983

By | September 12, 2023

In 1983, the Islamic Republic of Mauritania was a West African nation with a diverse cultural heritage and a history shaped by its Saharan and Sahelian landscapes. The country faced various political, social, and economic challenges. This description provides an overview of Mauritania in 1983, covering its geography, history, society, economy, and political landscape.


Mauritania is located in the western part of the African continent and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Western Sahara to the north and northwest, Algeria to the northeast, Mali to the east and southeast, and Senegal to the southwest. It is a predominantly arid country, with vast expanses of desert and semi-arid regions.

The Sahara Desert covers much of the northern part of Mauritania, while the Sahelian region extends to the south. The Senegal River, which flows through the southwestern part of the country, provides vital water resources and supports agricultural activities.


Mauritania has a complex and diverse history, with influences from indigenous African peoples, Arab-Berber traders, and European colonial powers. In pre-colonial times, the region was home to various African kingdoms and empires, including the Ghana Empire and the Songhai Empire.

During the colonial era, Mauritania was divided into French and Spanish territories. The French administered the larger portion, known as French Mauritania, while the Spanish controlled a smaller coastal region. Mauritania gained independence from France on November 28, 1960, becoming the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.

Mauritania’s history was marked by ethnic and regional tensions, including conflicts between the Arab-Berber Moors in the north and the Sub-Saharan African populations in the south. The country experienced military coups and changes in leadership during the 1970s and 1980s.

Society and Culture:

Mauritania’s society in 1983 was characterized by a diverse ethnic and cultural landscape. The population included various ethnic groups, with the Arab-Berber Moors, Afro-Mauritanians, and Fulani being some of the prominent communities. The Arab-Berber Moors dominated the northern regions, while Sub-Saharan African ethnic groups were prevalent in the south.

Mauritania was known for its rich cultural heritage, which drew influences from both African and Arab traditions. Traditional music, dance, and storytelling played important roles in conveying cultural values and history. The country’s population practiced Islam, which was a fundamental part of Mauritanian identity and daily life.


In 1983, Mauritania’s economy was primarily based on agriculture, livestock herding, and fishing. Agriculture, however, faced significant challenges due to the country’s arid and semi-arid climate. Subsistence farming, focused on crops like millet and sorghum, was common in the southern regions, where rainfall was more reliable.

The fishing industry was vital to Mauritania’s economy, given its extensive coastline along the Atlantic Ocean. The country’s waters were rich in marine resources, including fish and seafood, which were exported to generate revenue.

Mining, particularly the extraction of iron ore, played an increasingly important role in the economy. Mauritania had significant iron ore reserves, and mining operations were expanding during this period.

Despite these economic activities, Mauritania faced issues of poverty, underdevelopment, and economic inequality. Efforts to address these challenges were ongoing.

Political Landscape:

In 1983, Mauritania was a one-party state under the control of the Mauritanian People’s Party (Parti du Peuple Mauritanien, PPM), led by President Maaouya Ould Sid’Ahmed Taya. The political landscape was characterized by authoritarian rule, with limited political freedoms and human rights abuses.

According to softwareleverage, the government’s policies and leadership faced criticism for perpetuating ethnic and regional tensions within the country. Mauritania experienced multiple military coups during the 1980s, reflecting the political instability and power struggles of the time.

International Relations:

Mauritania maintained diplomatic relations with various countries and was a member of international organizations such as the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity (OAU), now known as the African Union (AU). The country pursued a non-aligned foreign policy during the Cold War era, seeking cooperation with countries from both the Western and Eastern blocs.

Challenges and Changes:

In 1983, Mauritania was a nation grappling with political instability, economic difficulties, and social tensions. The country would go on to experience significant political changes and a transition toward democracy in the early 1990s. Mauritania’s path to political stability and economic development would be marked by efforts to address governance issues, improve infrastructure, and promote social development.

In conclusion, Mauritania in 1983 was a nation with a diverse cultural heritage, diverse society, and a history influenced by various ethnic groups and colonial legacies. It also faced political instability, economic challenges, and the need for social and political reforms. Mauritania’s subsequent years would see changes in leadership and a quest for stability, democracy, and sustainable development.

Location of Mauritania

Mauritania is a vast and predominantly arid country located in North West Africa. Its geographical location and landscape play a significant role in shaping its climate, natural resources, and overall identity. In this description, we will explore the location of Mauritania in detail, covering its geographical coordinates, borders, neighboring countries, and key geographical features.

Geographical Coordinates:

According to paulfootwear, Mauritania’s geographical coordinates place it in the northern hemisphere of the African continent. The approximate latitude and longitude of Mauritania’s capital city, Nouakchott, are 18.1°N and 15.9°W, respectively. The country spans a wide range of latitudes and longitudes, covering diverse geographical regions.

Borders and Neighboring Countries:

Mauritania shares land borders with several countries, which have historically influenced its interactions and regional dynamics:

  1. Western Sahara: To the north and northwest, Mauritania shares a border with the disputed region of Western Sahara. This region has been a source of tension and conflict due to competing territorial claims.
  2. Algeria: To the northeast, Mauritania borders Algeria, a fellow North African nation. The border region features arid desert landscapes.
  3. Mali: To the east and southeast, Mauritania shares a lengthy border with Mali, a West African nation. This border encompasses a transition from the Sahara Desert to the Sahel region.
  4. Senegal: To the southwest, Mauritania’s border with Senegal follows the course of the Senegal River. The river serves as a vital water source and supports agricultural activities.

Geographical Features:

Mauritania’s geography is characterized by diverse landscapes and natural features:

  1. Sahara Desert: Much of northern Mauritania falls within the Sahara Desert, one of the world’s largest deserts. This region is arid and features sand dunes, rocky plateaus, and vast stretches of barren land. Nomadic communities have adapted to desert life in this area.
  2. Sahel Region: South of the Sahara Desert, the central and eastern parts of Mauritania belong to the Sahel region. This transitional zone experiences semi-arid conditions and features dry grasslands, acacia trees, and seasonal rivers. The Sahel is prone to droughts and desertification.
  3. Senegal River: The Senegal River flows through the southwestern part of Mauritania, creating a fertile river valley known as the Senegal River Valley. This region supports agriculture, particularly rice cultivation, and is a critical water source.
  4. Atlantic Coast: Mauritania has a lengthy coastline along the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The coastal region includes sandy beaches, cliffs, and fishing villages. Nouakchott, the capital, is situated near the coast.
  5. Natural Resources: Mauritania is rich in natural resources, including iron ore, copper, gypsum, and fisheries in its coastal waters. These resources have played a significant role in the country’s economy and international trade.


Mauritania’s climate varies across its diverse regions:

  1. Desert Climate: The northern regions, within the Sahara Desert, experience extreme desert conditions with scorching daytime temperatures and cold nights.
  2. Semi-Arid Climate: The Sahel region has a semi-arid climate with a short rainy season from June to September. Rainfall is limited, and droughts are common.
  3. Sahel Climate: The Senegal River Valley enjoys a more temperate climate with relatively higher rainfall, making it suitable for agriculture.
  4. Coastal Climate: The Atlantic coast has a Mediterranean-like climate with mild temperatures and higher humidity compared to the inland regions.

Role in Regional Dynamics:

Mauritania’s location in North West Africa places it at the crossroads of different climatic zones and cultural influences. It has historical and contemporary ties to both North African and Sub-Saharan African regions. Additionally, its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean has contributed to its economic significance, particularly in terms of fisheries.

Mauritania has been involved in regional dynamics related to issues such as desertification, trans-Saharan trade, and regional security. Its role in regional organizations like the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) reflects its importance in addressing regional challenges and fostering cooperation.

In conclusion, Mauritania’s location is diverse and unique, spanning the Sahara Desert, Sahel, Senegal River Valley, and the Atlantic coast. This geographical diversity influences its climate, natural resources, and role in regional dynamics. While facing environmental challenges, Mauritania continues to play a significant role in regional diplomacy and cooperation, contributing to the stability and development of North West Africa.