The civilian government of Mauritania was overthrown on 6 August 2008, in a military coup d'état led by General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. On April 16, 2009, General Aziz resigned from the military to run for president in the July 19 elections, which he won. In Mauritania about 20% of the population live on less than US $1.25 per day.
The Sahara has an intermittent history that may go back as much as 3 million years. Some of the sand dunes can reach 180 metres (600 ft) in height. The name comes from the Arabic word for desert: (صَحراء), "ṣaḥrā´" (صحراء (help·info); [sˤɑħrɑːʔ]). (Read more...)
Born in the town of Atar (Adrar Region), Ould Taya attended a Franco-Arabic Primary School from 1949 to 1955. He then attended Rosso High School in southern Mauritania. After graduation, he attended a French military school in 1960 and graduated as an officer. In 1975, he received strategic training at the French War Academy. In 1978 the Mauritanian army seized power and ousted President Moktar Ould Daddah, in an attempt to forestall government collapse in the war over Western Sahara against the Polisario Front (1975-79). Ould Taya was among the conspirators, and quickly gained influence within the government. (Read more...)