Nouakchott


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Nouakchott

(nwäkshôt`), city (1991 est. pop. 500,000), capital of MauritaniaMauritania
, officially Islamic Republic of Mauritania, republic (2005 est. pop. 3,087,000), 397,953 sq mi (1,030,700 sq km), NW Africa. It borders on the Atlantic Ocean in the west, on Western Sahara in the northwest and north, on Algeria in the northeast, on Mali in the east
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 and Nouakchott dist., W Mauritania, a port on the Atlantic Ocean. Located between the Atlantic and the Sahara in a basin that is at or below sea level, Nouakchott was a small village until 1957, when it was chosen as the capital of Mauritania, in part because of the aquifer there. A large-scale construction program began in 1958, when Mauritania became an autonomous republic with the French CommunityFrench Community,
established in 1958 by the constitution of the Fifth French Republic to replace the French Union. Its members consisted of the French Republic, which included metropolitan France (continental France, Corsica, Algeria and the Sahara), the overseas territories
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. Today Nouakchott is Mauritania's largest city and its administrative center. Its ocean port, which is c.4 mi (6.4 km) from the city proper, has modern storage facilities, especially for petroleum; a deepwater harbor was built in the 1980s. Handicrafts are made, and light industry is carried on in the city. Nouakchott is located on a major highway and has an international airport. The city's growth has depleted the aquifer on which it depends, and the city is now threatened by encroaching seawater; construction of a pipeline to the distant Senegal River has made additional water available. Some historians believe that nearby stood the ribat (monastery) from which the Muslim AlmoravidsAlmoravids
, Berber Muslim dynasty that ruled Morocco and Muslim Spain in the 11th and 12th cent. The Almoravids may have originated in what is now Mauritania. The real founder was Abd Allah ibn Yasin, who by military force converted a number of Saharan tribes to his own
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 set out on their conquests of Africa and Spain in the 11th cent.

Nouakchott

 

the capital of Mauritania and the country’s economic and cultural center, situated between 5 and 6 km from the Atlantic Ocean. It has a tropical desert climate, with temperatures averaging 21°C in January and 28°C in July. The annual precipitation is 150 mm.

Since Nov. 28, 1960, Nouakchott has been the capital of the independent Islamic Republic of Mauritania. Its population increased from 600 in 1960 to 130,000 in 1973. Nouakchott constitutes an independent administrative district ruled by a governor appointed by the president.

Nouakchott is a seaport connected by highway with Rosso and Akjoujt. It also has an airport. In 1974 preliminary work was under way to build a deepwater port capable of handling up to 400,000 tons of freight annually. The city has insufficient fresh water, and facilities to desalt seawater have been in operation since 1969. The principal industries are food processing, woodworking, and metallurgy. Construction of a steam power plant with a projected capacity of 24,000 kW began in 1974.

Nouakchott, the construction of which began in 1957, has a regular layout, with a rectangular network of streets. Most of the houses are two-story buildings, and, interspersed among them, are large administrative and public buildings combining modern European and traditional architectural styles (Presidential Palace, National Assembly, Palace of Justice). The city is also the site of the Direction des Mines et de l’Industrie, a research institute; the Central Public Library; the National Library; and a pedagogical institute, founded in 1974.

REFERENCE

“Nouakchott la capitale.” Europe-France Outremer. Paris, 1962, no. 384, February, pp. 31–32.

Nouakchott

the capital of Mauritania, near the Atlantic coast: replaced St Louis as capital in 1957; situated on important caravan routes. Pop.: 559 000 (2002 est.)
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