Mauritania, Or Mauretania, in ancient geography, the N. W. coast of Africa, including the modern Morocco and part of Algeria. It was bounded N. by the Mediterranean, E. by the river Ampsaga, which separated it from Nu-midia, S. by the Atlas mountains, and W. by the Atlantic. Numerous rivers intersect this mountainous region and empty either into the Atlantic or the Mediterranean; among them, besides the Ampsaga, may be mentioned the ancient Sala, Subur, Lix, Mulucha, and China-laph. The Phoenicians at a remote age founded so many settlements here, that along the whole coast there was not a single town whose population was not of Canaanitish race. Herodotus does not mention the nations of this region. Later writers say that from the earliest times it was inhabited by Maurusii or Mauri (Moors), blacks, a tribe probably of the same race as the Numidians; but their accounts of the origin or immigration of this people seem to be fabulous. The people have by recent research been connected with the Libyans of the Egyptian monuments. (See Libyans.) They first became known to the Romans when the latter in their contests with the Carthaginians had carried the war into Africa. In the Jugurthine war Boc-chus, king of Mauritania, was conspicuous, and his sons Bogudes and Bocchus were confirmed as joint kings of the country by Julius Caesar in 49 B. C. In A. D. 42 the Romans divided the kingdom into two provinces separated from each other by the river Malua or Mulucha; the western province was called Mauritania Tingitana, and the eastern Mauritania Cossar-iensis. The Romans founded in these provinces 21 considerable colonies, and introduced into the population a large element of Italian origin.

In 429 the Vandals, led by Genseric, conquered Mauritania; but in 534 it was reconquered by Belisarius, and remained a province of the empire till it was overrun and subdued by the Mohammedan Arabs about the close of the 7th century. (See Mooes, and Morocco).