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For centuries, the area where present-day Mauritania is located has been a junction point between the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa. The French arrived in the region at the end of the 19th century. In 1903, Mauritania became a French protectorate, then a colony. Six decades later, Moktar Ould Daddah proclaimed the country’s independence on November 28, 1960. The capital is Nouakchott, a city that has just been created. The country has almost no infrastructure because French settlers in the region had mainly developed the Senegalese city of Saint-Louis, a little further south. Politically, Mauritania has experienced a series of military coups since independence. In this huge country where 4 million people live, the first peaceful transition only dates back to 2019.