History of Mauritania: The Almoravids

History of Mauritania: The Almoravids Last updated on Thursday 22nd April 2010

Had camels not been introduced into the area, the process of desertification that turned fertile plains into the Sahara desert would have separated southern Berbers from the Mediterranean coast. The groups that migrated southward in search of pastures kept in touch with their native culture, and later shared the benefits of the Islamic civilization, which flourished along the coast of the Mediterranean coast.

The southern part of present-day Mauritania was the scene of one of the most peculiar African civilizations, but the Almoravid conquest, and the Fulah migrations afterwards, resulted in the integration and unification of the people there.

Bani Hilal, who had invaded North Africa three centuries before, reached Mauritania in the 14th century. For over two centuries, Bani Hilal instigated a conflict in the region and fought with the Berbers throughout an area including present-day southern Algeria and Sahara. All the Berber groups in the region joined forces in 1644 to fight the Arabs, but the Cherr Baba War ended in 1674 with the Berber defeat. Known as the Hassani, the Arabs became a warrior caste monopolizing the use of weapons, while education, trade and other civilian activities ended up in the hands of the local population. The African shepherds from the south known as the Haratan, came beneath these two groups and kept as semi-serfs.

Several emirates arose towards the end of the 17thcentury. Because of their internal rivalries and dynastic feud, none of these emirates was able to achieve the political organization of the country. However, a limited degree of order was provided within the region, a fact that eventually resulted in a small revival of trade caravans.

The growing trade In the 19th century coincided with a French project to transfer Sudanese commercial activities to Senegal requiring the elimination of trans-Saharan trade and the frequent robberies in Senegal. The French invaded Mauritania in 1858 under General Faidherbe and the fighting continued until the 20th century. The resistance initially met in the emirates of Trarza and Brakna continued with the Sheikh Ma al-Aini, with his sons and later his cousin, Muhammad al-Mamun, the emir of Adrar. Muhammad al-Mamun died in combat in 1934 after being pursued by the French almost one thousand kilometers into the Sahara.

Following World War II, Mauritania became a French Overseas Province, sending deputies to the French Parliament; ten years later internal autonomy was granted, and in 1960 independence was gained.

As you like 'History of Mauritania: The Almoravids' you may also like following articles . . .

History of Mauritania: The Bafours and The Berbers

During the Neolithic Age, the area of the Sahara, which now covers the north of Mauritania, was much more fertile than at present. The original ancestors of the Soininke tribe, the Bafours...

History of Mauritania: European Rule

Traders from Europe arrived in Mauritania in the 15th century when the Portuguese set up a trading post on the island of Arguin. The Dutch followed and traded in gum arabic from the Sahel....

History of Djibouti: From the arrival of the French to independence

Tadjoura, one of the Sultanates on the Somali coast, sold the port of Obock and adjoining lands In 1862 to the French for 52,000 francs and in 1888 French Somaliland was established....

History of Mauritania: Rise of Nationalism

During the colonial period, Mauritania remained little more than an administrative appendage to Senegal. The first nationalist party, the Entente Mauritanienne, was set up by Ould Babana,...

History of Tunisia: French Colonisation

The demise of piracy and the resulting loss of revenue plunged the region into economic chaos. France, Italy and Great Britain all sought to realise their imperialistic ambitions in Tunisia...

History of Comoros: French Rule

The present culture of the Comoros is very similar to that of the Swahili people on the African coast from Somalia to Mozambique. Because of rival sultanates on the islands, in the...

People of Morocco

The Berber were the original people of Morocco and the majority of modern day Moroccans (about40%) are pure Berber with another 35% of Berber extraction. Arabs, who trace their presence in...