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      n   a republic in NW Africa, on the Atlantic: established as a French protectorate in 1903 and a colony in 1920; gained independence in 1960; lies in the Sahara; contains rich resources of iron ore. Official language: Arabic; Fulani, Soninke, Wolof, and French are also spoken. Official religion: Muslim. Currency: ouguiya. Capital: Nouakchott. Pop.: 2511000 (1998 est.). Area: 1030700 sq. km (398000 sq. miles),   (Official name)    Islamic Republic of Mauritania         
   Mauritanian             adj, n  
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