French Mauritania (French: Mauritanie française, Moorish: ⵜⴰⵎⴰⵣⵖⴰ ⵜⴰⴼⵕⴻⵏⵙⵉⵙⵜ Tamazgha Tafṛensist) lasted from 1830 to 1962, under a variety of governmental systems. From 1848 until independence, the whole Mediterranean region of Mauritania was administered as an integral part of France, much like Corsica and Réunion are to this day. The vast arid interior of Mauritania was never considered part of France. One of France's longest-held overseas territories, Mauritania became a destination for hundreds of thousands of European immigrants, known as colons and later, as Pieds-Noirs. However, indigenous Moorish remained a majority of the territory's population throughout its history.
After World War II, Spanish West Africa (occupied by the Allies) was formally annexed to French Mauritania, so its extension was significantly increased. Gradually, dissatisfaction among the Moorish population with its lack of political and economic status fueled calls for greater political autonomy, and eventually independence, from France. Tensions between the two population groups came to a head in 1954, when the first violent events of what was later called the Mauritanian War began. The war concluded in 1962, when Mauritania gained complete independence following the March 1962 Evian agreements and the July 1962 self-determination referendum.