Mauretania (also spelled Mauritania; both pronounced ) is the Latin name for an area in the ancient Maghreb. It stretched from central present-day Algeria westwards to the Atlantic, covering northern Morocco, and southward to the Atlas Mountains. Its native inhabitants, seminomadic pastoralists of Berber ancestral stock, were known to the Romans as the Mauri and the Masaesyli. Beginning in 27 BC, the kings of Mauretania became Roman vassals until about 44 AD when the area was annexed to Rome and divided into two provinces: Mauretania Tingitana and Mauretania Caesariensis. In the late 3rd century, another province, Mauretania Sitifensis, was formed out of the eastern part of Caesariensis. When the Vandals arrived in Africa in 429, much of Mauretania became virtually independent. Christianity had spread rapidly there in the 4th and 5th centuries but was extinguished when the Arabs conquered the region in the 7th century.
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