History of North Africa 1920-1939

Mauritania before 1920

Mauretania, the seat of states such as GHANA and KAARTA and the home of the ALMORAVIDS, is mostly desert country. In the 18th century, the earlier Maure state disintegrated and the Emirates of ADRAR, TRARZA, BRAKNA and TAGANT emerged. Until into the 18th century, Brandenburgers, Dutchmen, French and the British competed over coastal trade, the most important trade product being gum (rubber). The island of ARGUIN off the coast was a trading station. The Brandenburgers sold out to the Dutch in the early 18th century, Dutch withdrew in the 18th century, the British in an 1857 agreement with the French, leaving only the latter as a potential claimant among the colonial powers.
The French began to establish their presence on the north bank of the Senegal river under LOUIS FAIDHERBE, Governor of Senegal (1854-1861, 1863-1865). Maps printed in the 1880s indicate Adrar as located within the Spanish sphere of interest. By 1903, France claimed Mauretania; Governor XAVIER COPPOLANI (since 1889) established French sovereignty by showing French military force and signing agreements with Moorish dignitaries. Coppolani was killed in 1905; Adrar, the center of resistance against the French, was occupied by the latter in 1908, resistance seized in 1912. In 1911 EL HODH, located within FRENCH SOUDAN until a 1945 border revision, was occupied by the French. Until 1920, French Mauretania administratively was regarded a part of Senegal.

Mauritania, History of, from Infoplease
The Pacification of Mauritania, by Photius Coutsoukis (Library of Congress)
Mauritania - History, from Encyclopedia of the Orient
History of Mauritania, from Islam in Africa
Les Empires Anciennes du sud de la Mauretanie, from Mauretania Voyage, in French
Zakat in Pre-Colonial Sub-Saharan Africa. A Tentative Survey. Part Three. by Holger Weiss
DOCUMENTS French bar (medal) awarded for participants in the 1909 Adrar Campaign, 1909 Mauritanie Campaign posted on Hendrik's Medal Corner
Article Adrar, from Meyers Konversationslexikon, 1888-1890 edition, in German
REFERENCE Article : Mauritania, in : New International Year Book 1907 p.484, 1908 p.436, 1909 p.449, 1913 p.433, 1914 p.434, 1916 p.409, 1918 p.390, 1919 p.465 [G]
Article : Mauritania, in : Statesman's Year Book 1919 pp.874-875 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2001, last revised on August 19th 2007

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