For period 1944-1958 see French West Africa
A republic in northwestern Africa, bordering on the Atlantic Ocean. A former French colony, Mauritania was part of French West Africa from 1904 to 1958 and used French West African stamps 1945-49. In 1958, Mauritania, as the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, became autonomous within the French Union, and in 1960 it became fully independent. At one time, the territory of Mauritania was ruled by Morocco, and Morocco claimed the area until 1970. In 1976, the mineral-rich Spanish Sahara was divided between the two countries. In 1980, Mauritania, after four years of war with the Polsario Front, renounced its share of the former Spanish Sahara, which was then occupied by Morocco.