Regions of Mauritania

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An update issued by ISO on 2015-11-27 assigns ISO 3166-2 codes to the three regions formed from Nouakchott, as shown in the table below.

Sorin Cosoveanu informed me of the split of Nouakchott into three regions.

Update 3 to Geopolitical Entities and Codes, the successor to FIPS PUB 10-4, was issued on 2011-02-28. It changes the capitalization of two province names, and assigns a code for Nouakchott district.

Erratum: The population of Assaba in 1988 was apparently 168,123, not 167,123 as it appears in "Administrative Subdivisions of Countries". That makes the total population of Mauritania 1,865,236, not 1,864,236.

Country overview: 

ISO codeMR
LanguageArabic (ar), French (fr)
Time zone+0


Mauritania was an indigenous state within the French sphere of influence in 1900. It became a French protectorate in 1903-05. In ~1920 it became a colony within the gouvernement général of French West Africa (Afrique Occidentale Française). It became independent on 1960-11-28.

Other names of country: 

  1. Danish: Mauretanien
  2. Dutch: Mauritanië, Islamitische Republiek Mauritanië (formal)
  3. English: Islamic Arab and African Republic of Mauritania (formal)
  4. Finnish: Mauritania
  5. French: Mauritanie, République f Islamique Arabe et Africaine de Mauritanie f (formal)
  6. German: Mauretanien n
  7. Icelandic: Máritanía
  8. Italian: Mauritania f
  9. Norwegian: Den islamske republikk Mauritania (formal) (Bokmål), Den islamske republikken Mauritania (formal) (Nynorsk), Mauritania
  10. Portuguese: Mauritânia, República f Islâmica da Mauritânia f (formal)
  11. Russian: Исламская Республика Мавритания (formal)
  12. Spanish: Mauritania, República f Islámica de Mauritania f (formal)
  13. Swedish: Mauretanien
  14. Turkish: Moritanya İslam Cumhuriyeti (formal)

Origin of name: 

Latin name, derived from Maurus: Moor (ethnic name)

Primary subdivisions: 

Mauritania is divided into fifteen wilayat (regions).

Dakhlet NouadhibouMR.DN08MR08VIIIHuitième123,77975,97663,03022,3008,600Nouadhibou
Hodh ech CharguiMR.HC01MR01IPremière430,668275,288212,203182,70070,500Néma
Hodh el GharbiMR.HG02MR02IIDeuxième294,109219,167159,29653,40020,600Aioun el Atrouss
Nouakchott NordMR.NN14MR13366,912611,883393,325306118Dar-Naïm
Nouakchott OuestMR.NW13165,81414656 Tevragh-Zeïna
Nouakchott SudMR.NS15425,67325297 Arafat
Tiris ZemmourMR.TZ11MR11XIOnzième53,26153,58633,147252,90097,600Zouérate
15 divisions3,537,3682,548,1571,865,2361,031,700398,300
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
  • ISO: Codes from ISO 3166-2.
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4.
  • Rom: Each region is given a Roman numeral to identify it in reports, etc.
  • Spelled: French ordinal corresponding to the Roman numeral.
  • Pop-2013: 2013-03-25 census.
  • Pop-2000: 2000-11-01 census.
  • Pop-1988: 1988-04-05 census.

Further subdivisions:

See the Departments of Mauritania page.

The regions are further subdivided into 55 moughataas (departments; Fr. départements) and 218 communes. Each of the regions of Nouakchott has three subdivisions, which rank as both departments and communes, and are included in both of those figures.

Territorial extent: 

Dakhlet Nouadhibou includes Île Tidra, just off shore.

The UN LOCODE page  for Mauritania lists locations in the country, some of them with their latitudes and longitudes, some with their ISO 3166-2 codes for their subdivisions. This information can be put together to approximate the territorial extent of subdivisions.

Origins of names: 

  1. Adrar: Touareg for mountain
  2. Nouakchott: from Berber in: place of, akchuz: shell

Change history: 

Before independence, the divisions were called cercles (circles).

  1. 1954-01-01: Hodh district of French Sudan annexed to Mauritania.
  2. 1958: Capital of Mauritania moved from Saint-Louis du Sénégal (in Senegal) to Nouakchott, which had been founded the year before.
  3. ~1962: Tiris Zemmour region split from Adrar.
  4. 1976-02-28: Mauritania annexed the southern part of Spanish Sahara as Tiris el Gharbia region. The 1976 census (source [2]) apparently includes this region:
1st205,545Hodh Ech Chargui
2nd133,952Hodh El Gharbi
8th24,460Dakhlet Nouadhibou
11th22,467Tiris Zemmour
Wilaya du Tiris12,897Tiris el Gharbia
  • Region: Nouakchott is a district.
  • Population: 1976-12-22 census (provisional).
  1. 1979-08-14: Mauritania withdrew from Tiris el Gharbia, which was annexed to Western Sahara by Morocco.
  2. ~1979: Name of Lévrier Bay region changed to Dakhlet Nouadhibou.
  3. 1990-09-10: Nouakchott, previously classed as a district, became a region as well.
  4. ~1998: Capital of Tiris Zemmour moved from Fderik (colonial name Fort-Gouraud) to Zouérate.
  5. 2014-11-25: Nouakchott region (former HASC code MR.NO, ISO code NKC, FIPS code MR13) split into Nouakchott Nord, Nouakchott Ouest, and Nouakchott Sud regions.

Other names of subdivisions: 

  1. Assaba: Açaba, el-`Açâba (variant)
  2. Dakhlet Nouâdhibou: Baie du Lévrier (French-obsolete); Lévrier Bay (obsolete)
  3. Guidimaka: Guidimagha, Guidimakha (variant)
  4. Hodh ech Chargui: Eastern Hodh, Hodh Charghi (variant); Hodh Oriental (French)
  5. Hodh el Gharbi: Hodh Occidental (French); Western Hodh (variant)
  6. Nouadhibou: Port-Étienne (French-obsolete)
  7. Nouakchott: Nuakchot (Spanish)


  1. [1] Toupet, Charles. Les Atlas Jeune Afrique: Atlas de la République Islamique de Mauritanie. Édition J.A., Paris, 1977.
  2. [2] 1979 Demographic Yearbook , 31st Ed. Statistical Office, United Nations, New York, 1980 (retrieved 2011-12-28).
  3. [3] Recensement Général de la Population et de l’Habitat 2013 , Office National de la Statistique (retrieved 2014-08-15).
  4. [4] Découpage administratif, apparently on a government website, had a map showing department boundaries (, dead link, retrieved 2001-09-14).
  5. [5] "Découpage administrtaif [sic] de Nouakchott (retrieved 2014-12-21).
  6. [6] "Des membres du Gouvernement commentent les résultats du conseil des ministres ("Members of the government comment on the cabinet's results," dated 2014-11-25, retrieved 2014-12-21).
  7. [7] "Nouakchott dépasse les bornes (Nouakchott outgrows its limits). Carrefour de la République Islamique de Mauritanie news site (dated 2013-09-09, retrieved 2014-12-21).
  8. [8] "Nouveau découpage de wilaya de Nouakchott. Observatoire des Services et du Patrimoine Urbains de Nouakchott (dated 2014-12-15, retrieved 2014-12-21).
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