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Nouakchott (pop. 450,000), the capital of Mauritania and an important port city on the Altantic coast of West Africa. Once a small fishing village, it became the capital when Mauritania won independence from France in 1957. Severe droughts in rural areas have driven large numbers of people into the city, contributing to serious problems of overcrowding. Its industries include handicrafts, chemical products, and soft drinks.

See also: Mauritania.

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