Nouadhibou

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Nouadhibou
نواذيبو  (Arabic)
Commune and town
A street in Nouadhibou
A street in Nouadhibou
Nouadhibou is located in Mauritania
Nouadhibou
Nouadhibou
Location in Mauritania
Coordinates: 20°56′N 17°2′W / 20.933°N 17.033°W / 20.933; -17.033Coordinates: 20°56′N 17°2′W / 20.933°N 17.033°W / 20.933; -17.033
Country  Mauritania
Region Dakhlet Nouadhibou Region
Elevation 0 m (0 ft)
Population (2013 census)
 • Total 118,167

Nouadhibou (Arabic: نواذيبو‎; formerly Port-Étienne) is the second largest city in Mauritania and serves as a major commercial centre. The city itself has about 118,000 inhabitants expanding to over 140,000 in the larger metropolitan area, a total of nearly 95% of the entire regional population and is the country's economic capital. It is situated on a 65-kilometre peninsula or headland called Ras Nouadhibou, Cap Blanc, or Cabo Blanco, of which the western side, with the city of La Güera, is part of Western Sahara. Nouadhibou is consequently located merely a couple of kilometres from the border between Mauritania and Morocco de facto, Western Sahara de jure. Its current mayor is Mohamed Fadel ould Aboubekrine.

Overview[edit]

The city consists of four major areas: the city centre, including the airport; Numerowatt to the north; Cansado, the main residential area, to the south; and a dormitory town for the workers of the harbour facilities which are located a few kilometers south of the city, near the tip of the Ras Nouadhibou peninsula, at Port Minéralier.

Ships in Nouadhibou's harbour

Attractions in Nouadibou include the Table Remarquable[clarification needed], several markets, a ships' graveyard and Mediterranean monk seals.

The port of Nouadhibou is the final resting place of over 300 ships and hence the world’s largest ship graveyard. Unlike the arrival en masse of ships at Mallows Bay, here the number of craft has built up over time, as corrupt officials accepted bribes from boat owners to allow them to dump their vessels in the area.

Nouadhibou has always been an important transit point for international transport. In the beginning of the 21st century, it was a stopover for the Latécoère air-transport network for mail and passengers for western Africa and overseas colonies like Martinique. Antoine de Saint-Exupery spent much time there as a pilot and as writer.

Near the harbour is the terminus of Mauritania's only railway line, which mainly brings iron ore from the mining areas near Fdérik and Zouérat, which are located up to 704 kilometres (437 mi) inland.

Processing iron ore forms the largest industry in Nouadhibou, although the overall major economic activity is fishing.

History[edit]

The town was founded on 15 August 1907 by the governor general of French West Africa Ernest Roume, it was named after the former French Minister of the Colonies Eugène Étienne.[1] Later it became the chief town of the Arguin Bay area replacing Arguin (also known as Agadir). After Mauritania became independent in 1960, the town name changed to Nouadhibou and its cape and bay were also renamed to Nouadhibou.

On 30 June 1973, at the time of the second-longest solar eclipse in the 20th century, an Aerobee rocket was launched at Nouadhibou for solar research.[2]

From February 2006 onwards Nouadhibou has become the departure point for African migrants trying to reach the Canary Islands. This extremely dangerous route to reach the European Union has become popular as a result of increased emigration controls along the Moroccan coast and around the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in the second half of 2005.

The city is reputedly also a centre of trading of meteorites found in the Sahara.[3]

Between 2010 and 2013, the city experienced huge population growth, with its number of inhabitants growing by 40,000 (a roughly 50% increase).

Population history[edit]

  • 2000: 72,337
  • 2013: 118,187

Climate[edit]

Nouadhibou features a mild desert climate (BWn) under the Köppen climate classification. The city sees virtually no rainfall during the course of the year averaging a paltry 18 millimetres (1 in) of precipitation annually. Despite the fact that it features a hot desert climate, the area does not quite see the extreme temperatures that other areas with this climate feature. The average annual temperature in the city is 21.7 °C (71 °F).

Climate data for Nouadhibou, Mauritania
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 32
(90)
35
(95)
37
(99)
37
(99)
37
(99)
38
(100)
37
(99)
38
(100)
38
(100)
38
(100)
37
(99)
34
(93)
38
(100)
Average high °C (°F) 24.5
(76.1)
25.1
(77.2)
26.1
(79)
25.9
(78.6)
26.3
(79.3)
27.9
(82.2)
27.1
(80.8)
28.2
(82.8)
30.6
(87.1)
30.3
(86.5)
27.5
(81.5)
24.6
(76.3)
27.0
(80.6)
Daily mean °C (°F) 18.9
(66)
19.4
(66.9)
20.2
(68.4)
20.3
(68.5)
21.0
(69.8)
22.4
(72.3)
22.8
(73)
23.9
(75)
25.3
(77.5)
24.5
(76.1)
22.0
(71.6)
19.4
(66.9)
21.7
(71.1)
Average low °C (°F) 13.3
(55.9)
13.7
(56.7)
14.3
(57.7)
14.7
(58.5)
15.8
(60.4)
17.0
(62.6)
18.6
(65.5)
19.6
(67.3)
20.1
(68.2)
18.7
(65.7)
16.5
(61.7)
14.3
(57.7)
16.4
(61.5)
Record low °C (°F) 7
(45)
10
(50)
12
(54)
12
(54)
12
(54)
15
(59)
17
(63)
17
(63)
16
(61)
15
(59)
10
(50)
5
(41)
5
(41)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 1
(0.04)
2
(0.08)
1
(0.04)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
1
(0.04)
3
(0.12)
5
(0.2)
3
(0.12)
2
(0.08)
0
(0)
18
(0.71)
Average precipitation days 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 1 1 16
Source: [1]

Transportation[edit]

Paved roads[edit]

Nouadhibou is linked with the Coastal Motorway RN2 to the capital Nouakchott (a distance of 450 km) and by highway to the Moroccan border in the north (a distance of 70 km).

Railway[edit]

Nouadhibou also is connected by railway to the iron mines in Zouérat, 670 km to the east. The freight trains can be as long as 3 km, reputedly the longest in the world. The railway also carries passengers and calls at Choum.

Aviation[edit]

The city is served by Nouadhibou Airport.

Economy[edit]

Plans were drawn up at the beginning of 1963 to build a port called Port Wharf in the fishing harbour, which included the construction of industrial and trade buildings. This became operational in 1966. This wharf was designed to accommodate traffic of up to 50,000 tonnes. In 1977 the wharf was lengthened to provide 3 extra berths for ships of average tonnage raising its capacity to 320,000 tonnes.[citation needed]

Sports[edit]

The most popular football club is FC Nouadhibou, another club is ASC Snim both inside the Mauritanian Premier League as of the 2014/15 season. Another club is Imraguens de Nouadhibou, the club of the Imraguen people in the area.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jean Abel Gruvel, Les pêcheries des côtes du Sénégal et des rivières du Sud, A. Challamel, Paris, 1908, p. 13 ISBN 2-11-091134-4
  2. ^ http://www.astronautix.com/sites/nouhibou.htm
  3. ^ "Meteorite smugglers anger scientists". BBC. London. 2007-04-16. Retrieved 2007-06-23.

External links[edit]