This West African country is rich in both history and culture. Did you know:
- Mauritania was a French colony for 100 years (from 1860-1960). This greatly affected the culture and many still speak French to this day.
- Many scenes in the movie ‘The Fifth Element’ were shot in Mauritania
- Early Mauritanians were the first Saharans to abandon the nomadic lifestyle
- Slavery was abolished in 1981, but it was not a crime to own slaves until 2007
- The majority of Mauritanian music come from the Moor group and is often in a “call and response” format
- Soccer is the most popular sport in Mauritania
Isolated from the rest of the world because of its mainly desert landscape and because it is ruled by an oppressive regime, Mauritania is very proud to officially be a pure Muslim country. The constitution does not include any provisions for religious freedom and its laws prohibit conversion to Christianity. The sentence for apostasy is death. Pressure on Muslim-background believers from family, tribe members and leaders of local mosques is very high. There is some freedom for expat churches, but Mauritanian Christians must meet in secret.