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Mauritania History Timeline

300 BC - 1800s
  • (300 BC) Berber and Arab migrants settled the region of present-day Mauritania
  • (800s AD) The Empire of Ghana established its capital in present-day Mauritania
  • (1076) Berber warriors defeated the Empire of Ghana and claimed the region for themselves
  • (1644) The Mauritanian Thirty-Year War against the Berbers and Arab warriors occurred
  • (1850s) France gained control of the southern portion of Mauritania

1900s
  • (1904) Mauritania was established as a French colonial territory
  • (1920) The region was integrated into French West Africa
  • (1946) Mauritania became a French overseas territory
  • (1960) Mauritania gained independence; territorial claims are made for the neighboring Spanish Sahara
  • (1973) Mauritania joined the Arab League
  • (1976) Spanish Sahara was divided up between Morocco and Mauritania
  • (1978) President Daddah was deposed of in a military coup prompted by struggles against Polisario guerrillas and the subsequent financial strain
  • (1979) A peace agreement was signed with the Polisarios; Mauritania's share of Western Sahara was renounced
  • (1981) Ties with Morocco were severed following an attempted coup with alleged Moroccan involvement
  • (1984) Col. Maaouiya Ould Sid Ahmed Taya rose to power
  • (1989) Race riots were sparked following a border dispute with Senegal
  • (1992) Taya was elected president
  • (1997) Taya was re-elected

2000s
  • (2001) Moroccan King Mohammad visited Mauritania in spite of the often-strained relations between the two countries
  • (2002) An opposition party campaigning for greater rights for blacks and descendants of slaves, Action for Change, was banned
  • (2003) Rebel soldiers attempted a coup against President Taya; Taya was re-elected president with 67% of the vote
  • (2005) Troops seized government buildings and announced the overthrow of President Taya after he left the country on business
  • (2006) Offshore oil production began
  • (2006) Voters approved constitutional changes limiting the president to two 5-year terms
  • (2007) Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi was elected president
  • (2008) The Dakar Rally was canceled after four French tourists were killed by attackers linked to al-Qaeda
  • (2008) President Abdallahi was overthrown in a military coup and a state council was formed to run the country
  • (2008) Twelve soldiers were killed in an ambush claimed by al-Qaeda
  • (2009) Gen. Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz was elected president
  • (2009) The French embassy in Nouakchott was attacked by suicide bombers working for al-Qaeda; two Italians and three Spanish workers were kidnapped by al-Qaeda operatives
  • (2010) A new anti-terrorism law was adopted granting security forces more power to fight al-Qaeda
  • (2011) Widespread protests and rallies occurred in response to the state of the country's political system
  • (2012) Abolitionist leader Biram Ould Abeid was detained after the public burning of religious texts condoning slavery sparked a widespread controversy
  • (2014) President Abdelaziz was re-elected

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This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.