Mauritania: History

  1. 1500s

    European mariners and traders begin to form settlements in present-day Mauritania.

  2. 1904

    Mauritania becomes a colony of France.

  3. 1960

    Mauritania gains its independence from France.

  4. 1973

    Mauritania joins the Arab League.

  5. 1980

    Traditional slavery is formally abolished, although it still prevails in some parts of the country.

  6. 1989

    Racial tensions between Arab-Berber and Black African communities erupt into violence and riots. Thousands of black African citizens are deported to Senegal and Mali, the government runs state-sponsored killings, and thousands of Black Africans are purged from the military and government.

  7. 2002

    $1.1 billion of the country’s debt is forgiven.

  8. 2006

    Offshore oil production begins.

  9. 2007

    The African Union readmits Mauritania after the country was suspended following the military coup in 2005.


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