Open menu Close menu Open Search Close search Open sharebox Close sharebox
. . Support our Sponsor

. . Maps of All Countries Home Page Countries Index

Mauritania - Glossary Index
Sources: The Library of Congress Country Studies; CIA World Factbook

      Glossary -- Mauritania

      Title of an independent chieftain or regional political leader. Literally, "commander." Also seen as emir.
      a narrow ledge typically at the top of a slope. Here, walls of bulldozed sand constructed within the Western Sahara virtually paralleling its borders with Mauritania. Moroccan forces constructed the berms, which were subsequently fitted with special sensory devices to prevent Polisario guerrillas from infiltrating into territory controlled by Morocco.
      Northern bank of the Senegal River, extending sixteen to thirty-two kilometers north of the river and containing fertile alluvial soil.
      System under which a religious hierarchy exerts political authority. Historically, clericalism was common among smaller polities in Muslim areas of West Africa.
      Franc Zone
      Collection of thirteen francophone African countries whose currency is based on the French franc.
      Gross Domestic Product. A measure of the value of domestic goods and services produced by an economy over a period of time, such as a year. Only output values of goods for final consumption and investment are included because the values of primary and intermediate production are assumed to be included in final prices. GDP is sometimes aggregated and shown at market prices, meaning that indirect taxes and subsidies are included; when these have been eliminated, the result is GDP at factor cost.
      gum arabic
      water-soluble gum obtained from several varieties of acacia and used in textile finishing and in inks, confectionery, pharmacy, and the manufacture of adhesives.
      hartani (pl., harratin)
      term referring to freed former slaves. In Arabic, literally "plowman," referring to the low status of harratin.
      Muslim leader who is a recognized authority on Islamic theology and law; also, the prayer leader of a mosque. The term is used to designate the leader of the Islamic community in a particular locale.
      International Monetary Fund. Established along with the World Bank (q.v.) in 1945, the IMF is a specialized agency affiliated with the United Nations and is responsible for stabilizing international exchange rates and payments. The main business of the IMF is the provision of loans to its members (including industrialized and developing countries) when they experience balance of payments difficulties. These loans frequently carry conditions that require substantial internal economic adjustments by the recipients, most of which are developing countries.
      Refers to denizenship and rights of natives. In colonial French West Africa, the colonial system of discipline characterized by arbitrary and summary judgments accorded Africans living in rural areas. The indigènat was abolished in 1945.
      in Arabic, community or group.
      Mauritanian Kadihine Party
      Clandestine leftist political party compromised primarily of Mauritanian's proletariat and other low-wage workers. The party was formed in 1973 after the Mauritanian People's Party, Mauritania's sole political party, absorbed the country's previously independent trade union. Literally kadihine means "the oppressed" or "downtrodden."
      Maghrib (adj. Maghribian)
      The western Islamic world (northwest Africa); distinguished from the Mashriq or eastern Islamic world (the Middle East). Traditionally includes Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and what is now Libya. Literally, "the time or place of the sunset--the west." For its Arab conquerors, the region was the "island of the west" (jazirat al maghrib), the land between the "sea of sand" (Sahara) and the Mediterranean Sea. Also translated as Maghreb.
      Maliki Rite
      Interpretation of Islamic theology and law based on the teachings of Imam Malik, an Egyptian jurist of the eighth century.
      In West Africa, a Muslim prayer leader, teacher, and sometimes a healer who is venerated locally and believed to be touched by divine grace, which sometimes conferred the right to rule as well. Frequently called upon to arbitrate disputes. Translation of al murabitun (those who have made a religious retreat). In some locales, the title became the monopoly of certain families, who thus formed maraboutic castes.
      Organization of African Unity. Inter-African organization with a membership of thirty African states.
      ouguiya (UM)
      Mauritanian currency; UM74.43 equals US$1.
      Paris Club
      A noninstitutional framework whereby developed nations that have made loans or guaranteed official or private export credits to developing nations meet to discuss borrowers' ability to repay debts. The organization, which met for the first time in 1956, has no formal or institutional existence and no fixed membership. Its secretariat is run by the French treasury, and it has a close relationship with the World Bank (q.v.), International Monetary Fund (q.v.), and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
      Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el Hamra and Rio de Oro (Frente Popular por la Liberación de Saguia el Hamra y Río de Oro). Sahrawi liberation group seeking national self-determination in the Western Sahara. Polisario guerrillas constitute the military wing of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), a government-in-exile for what in 1987 was known as the Western Sahara. The main base for the SADR and Polisario was Tindouf, Algeria.
      Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. The governing arm of the Polisario (q.v.).
      Pertains to the region south of the Sahara encompassing Cape Verde, Mauritania, southern Mali, Burkina Faso, southern Niger, and northern Nigeria. Literally, "coastal," in which the Sahara is figuratively considered to be a sea.
      Traditional code of Islamic law, both civil and criminal, based in part on the Quran. Also drawn from the hadith sayings and teachings of the Prophet), from the consensus of Islamic belief (ijma; i.e. consensus of the authorities on a legal question); and analogy (qiyas; i.e. an elaboration of the intent of the law).
      The currency symbol for the ouguiya (q.v.).
      West Sahara(n)
      Region of West Africa comprising parts of Mauritania, Mali, Morocco, and Algeria.
      Western Sahara
      Formerly Spanish Sahara. Region of West Africa bordered on the west by the Atlantic Ocean, on the north by Morocco, on the south and nearly all of its west by Mauritania. In the northwest corner, it shares a very short border with Algeria. Spain divided Spanish Sahara between Morocco and Mauritania--ignoring the sentiments of indigenous groups--when it relinquished colonial control in 1976. Subsequently Polisario (q.v.) guerrillas supported by Algeria among other states waged a war for independence primarily against forces of Morocco.
      World Bank
      Informal name used to designate a group of three affiliated international institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). The IBRD, established in 1945, has the primary purpose of providing loans to developing countries for productive projects. The IDA, a legally separate loan fund but administered by the staff of the IBRD, was set up in 1960 to furnish credits to the poorest developing countries on much easier terms than those of conventional IBRD loans. The IFC, founded in 1956, supplements the activities of the IBRD through loans and assistance designed specifically to encourage the growth of productive private enterprises in the less developed countries. The president and certain senior officers of the IBRD hold the same positions in the IFC. The three institutions are owned by the governments of the countries that subscribe their capital. To participate in the World Bank group, member states must first belong to the International Monetary Fund (IMF--q.v.).

    NOTE: The information regarding Mauritania on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies and the CIA World Factbook. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Mauritania Glossary information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Mauritania Glossary should be addressed to the Library of Congress and the CIA.

    Support Our Sponsor

    Support Our Sponsor

    Please put this page in your BOOKMARKS - - - - -

    Revised 20-Mar-05
    Copyright © 2004-2020 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)