Nouakchott

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Nouakchott (Arabic: نواكشوطor انواكشوط‎ (believed translation from Berber "The place of the winds", Nawākšūṭ)) is the capital and by far the largest city of Mauritania. It is one of the largest cities in the Sahara. The city is the administrative and economic centre of Mauritania.

Contents

History

A tiny fishing town until 1958, Nouakchott was mentioned little during pre-colonial and colonial history. It is possible that the Berber Muslim Almoravids were originally from the area. Despite its name, based on a Berber expression meaning "place of the winds",[1] the city was selected as the capital city for its moderate climate and central location within the country.[2] It did, however, sit on one of the most valuable trade routes to West Africa.[1]

Mauritania was part of the larger French colony of French West Africa, and as such had no capital during the colonial period: Saint-Louis, in Senegal, held that position. In 1957, this small port town was chosen to be the capital of the new country, and an ambitious building program was begun to increase its population to 15,000, starting a year later.[3] In 1958, Mauritania was formed as an autonomous republic in the French Community, and in 1960 it became an independent country, with Nouakchott as its capital.

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