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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Dutch fort of Arguin in 1721.
Plan of Arguim (1721).

Arguin (Portuguese: Arguim) is an island off the western coast of Mauritania in the Bay of Arguin, at 20° 36' N., 16° 27' W. It is six km long by two broad. Off the island are extensive and dangerous reefs. It is now part of The Banc d'Arguin National Park.


Arguin has long been coveted by seafaring nations for its strategic location, and control over the island has changed hands numerous times. The first European to visit the island was the Portuguese explorer Nuno Tristão in 1443. In 1445, Prince Henry the Navigator set up a trading post on the island, which acquired gum arabic and slaves for Portugal. By 1455, 800 slaves were shipped from Arguin to Portugal every year.

In 1633, during its war against Spain (which then controlled Portugal), the Netherlands seized control of Arguin. It remained under Dutch rule until 1678, although Dutch governance was interrupted by English rule in 1665. France briefly controlled the island in September 1678, but the island was then abandoned until 1685.

Arguin was a colony of the German electorate of Brandenburg, and its successor, the Kingdom of Prussia, from 1685 to 1721. France then took control of the island, only to lose it again the following year to the Netherlands. France regained it in 1724. This period of French rule lasted four years, because, in 1728, it reverted to the control of Mauritanian tribal chiefs. The island became a French possession once more during the early twentieth century, as part of the French colony, Mauritania, and it remained under Mauritanian rule when that country became independent in 1960.


Coordinates: 20°36′N 16°27′W / 20.6°N 16.45°W / 20.6; -16.45


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

ARGUIN, an island (identified by some writers with Hanno's Cerne), off the west coast of Africa, a little south of Cape Blanco, in 20° 25' N., 16° 37' W. It is some 4 m. long by 22 broad, produces gum-arabic, and is the seat of a lucrative turtle-fishery. Off the island, which was discovered by the Portuguese in the 1 5th century, are extensive and very dangerous reefs. Arguin was occupied in turn by Portuguese, Dutch, English and French; and to France it now belongs. The aridity of the soil and the bad anchorage prevent a permanent settlement. The fishery is mostly carried on by inhabitants of the Canary Isles. In July 1816 the French frigate "Medusa," which carried officers on their way to Senegal to take possession of that country for France, was wrecked off Arguin, 350 lives being lost.

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