Week 21: Focus Senegal

Every crumb of life must be used to conquer dignity!
Fatou Diome (Le ventre de l’Atlantique)

SENEGAL Official name: Republic of Senegal

State form: Presidential republic

Languages: French, Wolof, Fulbe, Serer, Madingue, Diola

Capital: Dakar Independence: 04/04/1960

Area: 196,722 km2

Population: 16,209,125 ( 2019)

Religion: Islam, (94%), Christianity (5%), animism (1%)

Currency: CFA

International / regional organizations: UN, ILO, FAO, UNESCO, WHO, IMF, IAEA AU, ECOWAS, UEMOA, OIF.

History of Senegal

The history of Senegal is first of all the one of empires and kingdoms, migrations and conquests, long before the arrival of the first European settlers.

Before the colonial period, several kingdoms succeeded each other with a wave of migration which led to the settlement of Senegal with the formation of large empires (Ghana empire, Mali empire in the middle of the 13th century, Songhai empire) which exercised their authority over the Senegal valley, real axis of trade between peoples. Several kingdoms have also settled. The kingdom of Tekrour, was the first and was under the domination of Ghana Empire until the end of the 10th century. As for the Djolof kingdom, the nucleus of Senegal, was founded by King Ndiadian Ndiaye, and brought together the Wolof tribes in the 14th century.

From the 15th century several powers tried to establish their domination over Senegal. From 1677 to 1814, fierce competition took place between foreign powers in order to ensure total domination of Senegal. Indeed, the first wave was that of the Portuguese with the establishment of vast trading posts for the transit of goods such as gold, spices and ivory… The second wave at the end of the 15th century was that of the British and Dutch, with the establishment of a fort. The French presence, around the 17th century, was marked by the construction of a fortified trading post on the island of Nadar, in Rufisque and in Joal. It was not until 1814, on 30th May, that the Treaty of Paris gave France control over Senegal.

It was with General de Gaulle’s assistance during the Brazaville conference in 1944 that the wave of domination gradually ended. This period was marked by a succession of politico-legal decisions. In fact, in 1946, the “Lamine Gueye” law conferred French citizenship, the 1957 law  divided French West Africa into eight states and established the local executive in Senegal. In 1958, Senegal became a Republic within the French community with the capital being Dakar. 25th August, 1960, is a memorable date in the history of the Republic of Senegal, which is dedicated to the independence of Senegal, under the President Léopold Sédar Senghor. From February 1983, Senegal has known successively as President, Abdou Diouf (1983), Abdoulaye Wade (2000 to 2012) and Macky Sall since 2012.