The people of Mauritania are called Mauritanians. Members of the main ethnic group, the Maures (also called Moors or Maurs), speak Hassaniyya Arabic (a dialect of Arabic).


Mauritania is part of the west-Saharan region of West Africa. This area is known to have supported a flourishing culture in the centuries preceding Christianity.


The people of Mexico are called Mexicans. About 75 percent are mestizoes, a mixture of Amerindian (native people) and Spanish heritage.


Mexico was the home of several native American civilizations before the arrival of the Spanish in 1519. The Maya, Olmecs, Toltecs, and Aztecs built cities and pyramids.


Today's Maya are descended from one of the great civilizations of the Americas. They live in the same regions of Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, and Honduras as their ancestors and retain many of their ancient traditions.


The islanders of Micronesia are called Micronesians. A small number are of Polynesian descent.



The people of Moldova are called Moldovans. About 65 percent are ethnic Moldovans.



The people of Monaco are called Monégasques. The native-born population is about 15 percent of the total.


Aside from Vatican City, Monaco is the world's smallest independent state. It is a principality—a state ruled by a prince.


Almost 90 percent of the population of Mongolia are Mongols. The Kazaks are the leading minority group, making up about 6 percent of the population.


The term "Mongol" originated from a tribe called Mengwushiwei in the Chinese book Jiu Tang Shu (The Ancient History of the Tang Dynasty), written in the tenth century. Mengwushiwei was changed to "Mongol" for the first time during the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368).


Until the mid-twentieth century, the Ewenki living in different areas were called by various names: Suolun, Tongusi, Yakute, and others. In 1957, they chose a unified name: Ewenki, which means "people living in the wooded mountains." The ancestors of the Ewenki lived northeast of Lake Baikal and in the forest bordering the Shilka River.


Berbers make up about 34 percent of the population, and Arabs, 66 percent. In the past, the Jewish community played a significant role in the economic life of Morocco, but its numbers have decreased as many have emigrated to Israel since it was established in 1948.


Morocco has been invaded many times throughout its history. Arab invaders brought Islam to Morocco during the seventh century.


The people of Mozambique are called Mozambicans. There are ten major ethnic groups.


Mozambicans inhabit primarily Mozambique, a nation in southern Africa that was colonized by Portugal. However, Mozambicans cannot be described as a single distinct cultural group.


The people of Myanmar are called Burmese. The population is comprised of a number of ethnic groups.


The country, Union of Myanmar, is known by two names: Myanmar and Burma. The Burman people pronounce the name of their country as "Bamah." In 1990, the military government of the Union of Burma named the country "Myanmar" (which the people pronounce as "Myanmah").


The Karens are a large ethnic group spread throughout Southeast Asia. They trace their origins to the Gobi Desert, Mongolia, or Tibet.


A people known as the Tai have long inhabited a vast area of Asia, including Thailand, Laos, and northeastern Myanmar. The name for the Tai ethnic group of Myanmar is "Shan." The Shans migrated into Myanmar from China, to the north, many centuries ago, and settled in the valleys.


The people of Namibia are called Namibians. The largest ethnic group is the Ovambo, who live in northen Namibia and number about 665,000.


Namibia sits in the extreme southwest corner of Africa, just north of the Republic of South Africa. Namibians lived under South African apartheid (separation of the races) for over forty years.


The people of Nepal are called Nepalis or Nepalese. Sherpas, the people who live in the Himalaya Mountains, have become well known as guides for mountain-climbing expeditions.



The Sherpas are a tribe of Tibetan origin who occupy the high valleys around the base of Mount Everest in northeastern Nepal. In the Tibetan language, Shar Pa means "people who live in the east," and over time this descriptive term has come to identify the Sherpa community.

The Netherlands

The people of the Netherlands are called Netherlanders or Dutch. Ethnically, they are a unified people, but ethnic makeup changed slightly in the 1980s and 1990s when about 300,000 immigrants and returning Dutch arrived from from Indonesia, and more than 140,000 arrived from Suriname.



The Frisians live in Friesland, one of the Netherlands' northern provinces. They value their independence as a unique ethnic group.

New Zealand

The people of New Zealand are called New Zealanders. About 80 percent of the population is classified as European; the majority are of British descent.

New Zealanders


The ancestors of the present-day Maori created an outpost of Polynesian culture on the North and South islands of New Zealand. They remained relatively isolated from external contact until 1769.



The people of Nicaragua are called Nicaraguans. The population is estimated to be about 70 percent mestizo (mixture of white and Amerindian or native), 14 percent white, and 13 percent black.


Nicaraguans inhabit Nicaragua, a country in central America. Nicaragua was originally occupied by Indians, who were conquered by the Spanish explorers and colonists in the 1520s.

Sumu and Miskito

The Sumu and Miskito are indigenous (native) groups living on the eastern coasts of two Central American countries, Nicaragua and Honduras. The area is commonly known as the Atlantic or Miskito (also spelled Mosquito) Coast.


The people of Niger are called Nigeriens. The Hausa are the largest ethnic group living in Niger, forming 53 percent of the total population.




The people of Nigeria are called Nigerians. The main ethnic groups, distinguished by different languages, are the Hausa, the Igbo (Ibo), the Yoruba, and the Fulani.


The territory that is now Nigeria has witnessed the rise and decline of many different kingdoms and empires since AD 600.




The Yoruba are one of the largest African ethnic groups south of the Sahara Desert. They are, in fact, not a single group, but rather a collection of diverse people bound together by a common language, history, and culture.