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Senegal

Senegal

Overview
Senegal officially the Republic of Senegal (République du Sénégal, ʁepyblik dy seneɡal), is a country in western Africa. It owes its name to the Sénégal River
Sénégal River
The Sénégal River is a long river in West Africa that forms the border between Senegal and Mauritania.The Sénégal's headwaters are the Semefé and Bafing rivers which both originate in Guinea; they form a small part of the Guinean-Malian border before coming together at Bafoulabé in Mali...

 that borders it to the east and north. Senegal is externally bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Mauritania
Mauritania
Mauritania is a country in the Maghreb and West Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean in the west, by Western Sahara in the north, by Algeria in the northeast, by Mali in the east and southeast, and by Senegal in the southwest...

 to the north, Mali
Mali
Mali , officially the Republic of Mali , is a landlocked country in Western Africa. Mali borders Algeria on the north, Niger on the east, Burkina Faso and the Côte d'Ivoire on the south, Guinea on the south-west, and Senegal and Mauritania on the west. Its size is just over 1,240,000 km² with...

 to the east, and Guinea
Guinea
Guinea , officially the Republic of Guinea , is a country in West Africa. Formerly known as French Guinea , it is today sometimes called Guinea-Conakry to distinguish it from its neighbour Guinea-Bissau. Guinea is divided into eight administrative regions and subdivided into thirty-three prefectures...

 and Guinea-Bissau
Guinea-Bissau
The Republic of Guinea-Bissau is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Senegal to the north, and Guinea to the south and east, with the Atlantic Ocean to its west....

 to the south; internally it almost completely surrounds The Gambia
The Gambia
The Republic of The Gambia, commonly referred to as The Gambia, or Gambia , is a country in West Africa. Gambia is the smallest country on mainland Africa, surrounded by Senegal except for a short coastline on the Atlantic Ocean in the west....

, namely on the north, east and south, exempting Gambia's short Atlantic Ocean coastline.
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Timeline

1857   Louis Faidherbe, French governor of Senegal, arrives to relieve French forces at Kayes, effectively ending El Hajj Umar Tall's war against the French.

1957   Senegalese political party Democratic Rally merges into the Senegalese Party of Socialist Action (PSAS).

1960   Senegal independence day.

1960   Independence of Mali and Senegal.

1960   Communist Party of Independence and Work is banned in Senegal.

1960   Senegal breaks from the Mali federation, declaring its independence.

1960   The Sudanese Republic is renamed Mali after the withdrawal of Senegal from the Mali Federation.

1960   Mali and Senegal join the United Nations.

1974   Senegalese marxist group ''Reenu-Rew'' founds the political movement And-Jëf at a clandestine congress.

1976   The Senegalese political party ''PAI-Rénovation'' is legally recognized. PAI-Rénovation thus becomes the third legal party in the country.

 
Encyclopedia
Senegal officially the Republic of Senegal (République du Sénégal, ʁepyblik dy seneɡal), is a country in western Africa. It owes its name to the Sénégal River
Sénégal River
The Sénégal River is a long river in West Africa that forms the border between Senegal and Mauritania.The Sénégal's headwaters are the Semefé and Bafing rivers which both originate in Guinea; they form a small part of the Guinean-Malian border before coming together at Bafoulabé in Mali...

 that borders it to the east and north. Senegal is externally bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Mauritania
Mauritania
Mauritania is a country in the Maghreb and West Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean in the west, by Western Sahara in the north, by Algeria in the northeast, by Mali in the east and southeast, and by Senegal in the southwest...

 to the north, Mali
Mali
Mali , officially the Republic of Mali , is a landlocked country in Western Africa. Mali borders Algeria on the north, Niger on the east, Burkina Faso and the Côte d'Ivoire on the south, Guinea on the south-west, and Senegal and Mauritania on the west. Its size is just over 1,240,000 km² with...

 to the east, and Guinea
Guinea
Guinea , officially the Republic of Guinea , is a country in West Africa. Formerly known as French Guinea , it is today sometimes called Guinea-Conakry to distinguish it from its neighbour Guinea-Bissau. Guinea is divided into eight administrative regions and subdivided into thirty-three prefectures...

 and Guinea-Bissau
Guinea-Bissau
The Republic of Guinea-Bissau is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Senegal to the north, and Guinea to the south and east, with the Atlantic Ocean to its west....

 to the south; internally it almost completely surrounds The Gambia
The Gambia
The Republic of The Gambia, commonly referred to as The Gambia, or Gambia , is a country in West Africa. Gambia is the smallest country on mainland Africa, surrounded by Senegal except for a short coastline on the Atlantic Ocean in the west....

, namely on the north, east and south, exempting Gambia's short Atlantic Ocean coastline. Senegal covers a land area of almost 197000 square kilometres (76,062.1 sq mi), and has an estimated population of about 14 million. The climate is tropical with two seasons: the dry season and the rainy season.

Dakar
Dakar
Dakar is the capital city and largest city of Senegal. It is located on the Cap-Vert Peninsula on the Atlantic coast and is the westernmost city on the African mainland...

, the capital city of Senegal, is located at the westernmost tip of the country on the Cap-Vert peninsula. About 500 kilometres (300 mi) off the coast, in the Atlantic Ocean, lie the Cape Verde Islands. During the 17th and 18th centuries, numerous trading posts, belonging to various colonial empires, were established along the coast. The town of St. Louis became the capital of French West Africa
French West Africa
French West Africa was a federation of eight French colonial territories in Africa: Mauritania, Senegal, French Sudan , French Guinea , Côte d'Ivoire , Upper Volta , Dahomey and Niger...

 (Afrique occidentale française, or AOF) before it was moved to Dakar in 1902. Dakar later became its capital in 1960 at the time of independence from France.

Etymology


The country is named after the Sénégal River
Sénégal River
The Sénégal River is a long river in West Africa that forms the border between Senegal and Mauritania.The Sénégal's headwaters are the Semefé and Bafing rivers which both originate in Guinea; they form a small part of the Guinean-Malian border before coming together at Bafoulabé in Mali...

, the etymology of which is contested (see the Senegal River
Sénégal River
The Sénégal River is a long river in West Africa that forms the border between Senegal and Mauritania.The Sénégal's headwaters are the Semefé and Bafing rivers which both originate in Guinea; they form a small part of the Guinean-Malian border before coming together at Bafoulabé in Mali...

 article). One popular theory (proposed by David Boilat in 1853) is that it stems from the Wolof
Wolof language
Wolof is a language spoken in Senegal, The Gambia, and Mauritania, and is the native language of the Wolof people. Like the neighbouring languages Serer and Fula, it belongs to the Atlantic branch of the Niger–Congo language family...

 phrase suñu gaal, which means "our canoe" (or pirogue
Pirogue
A pirogue is a small, flat-bottomed boat of a design associated particularly with the Cajuns of the Louisiana marsh. In West Africa they were used as traditional fishing boats. These boats are not usually intended for overnight travel but are light and small enough to be easily taken onto land...

), resulting from a miscommunication between 15th C. Portuguese sailors and Wolof fishermen. Modern historians believe its name is probably a reference to the Berber
Berber people
Berbers are the indigenous peoples of North Africa west of the Nile Valley. They are continuously distributed from the Atlantic to the Siwa oasis, in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean to the Niger River. Historically they spoke the Berber language or varieties of it, which together form a branch...

 Zenaga people
Zenaga people
The Sanhaja or Senhaja were once one of the largest Berber tribal confederations of the Maghreb, along with the Zanata and Masmuda...

 who lived on the northern side of the river. A competing theory is that it derives from the Medieval town of "Sanghana" (also given as Isenghan, Asengan, Singhanah), described by the Arab geographer al-Bakri in 1068 as located by the mouth of the river. Nonetheless, the "our canoe" theory has been popularly embraced in modern Senegal for its charm and its use in appeals to national solidarity (e.g. "we're all in the same canoe") are frequently heard in the media.

Some Serer people
Serer people
The Serer people along with the Jola people are acknowledged to be the oldest inhabitants of The Senegambia....

 from the south believe the river's name is originally derived from the compound of the Serer term "Sene" (from Roge Sene, Supreme Deity in Serer religion
Serer religion
The Serer religion, Fat Rog is the original religious beliefs, practices and teachings of the Serer people. The Serer people believe in a universal Supreme Deity called "Rog. "The Serer people are found throughout the Senegambia Region...

) and "O Gal" (meaning "body of water").

History


Archaeological findings throughout the area indicate that Senegal was inhabited in prehistoric times.

Eastern Senegal was once part of the Empire of Ghana. Modern Senegal has always been occupied by various ethnic groups. Around the 11th Century Islam became the religion of some Senegalese tribes though not in great numbers. In the 13th and 14th centuries, the area came under the influence of the empires to the east; the Jolof Empire
Jolof Empire
The Jolof Empire was a West African state that ruled parts of Senegal from 1360 to 1890.-Origins:Traditional accounts among the Wolof agree that the founder of the state and later empire was Ndiadiane Ndiaye who lived in the 13th century...

 of Senegal was also founded during this time. In the Senegambia region, between 1300 and 1900, close to one-third of the population was enslaved. Various European powers—Portugal, the Netherlands, and Great Britain—competed for trade in the area from the 15th century onward, until in 1677, France ended up in possession of what had become a minor slave trade departure point—the island of Gorée
Gorée
Île de Gorée Île de Gorée Île de Gorée (i.e. "Gorée Island"; is one of the 19 communes d'arrondissement (i.e. "commune of arrondissement") of the city of Dakar, Senegal. It is a island located at sea from the main harbor of Dakar ....

 next to modern Dakar, used as a base to purchase slaves from the warring chiefdoms on the mainland.

Some kingdoms were created around the 7th century, the Tekrour, the Namandirou kingdom and then the Djolof with distant ties to the Ghana empire. In the 14th century the Djolof kingdom became a powerful empire having regrouped the Cayor, the Baol, the Sine and Saloum, the Waalo, the Fouta-Toro and the Bambouk kingdoms. The empire was founded by Ndiadiane N’diaye a Serer
Serer people
The Serer people along with the Jola people are acknowledged to be the oldest inhabitants of The Senegambia....

 who was able to form a coalition with many ethnicities but collapsed around 1549 with the defeat and killing of Lele Fouli Fak by Amari Ngone Sobel Fall. French colonialists progressively invaded and took over all kingdoms except Sine and Saloum under governor Louis Faidherbe.

Islam was introduced in Senegal between the 8th and 9th century by Berber merchants. They peacefully converted the Toucouleurs and Sarakholles who in turn propagated it . Later on, in the 11th century, the Almoravids, with the help of the Toucouleurs used Jihad as a mean of conversion. This movement faced resistance from ethnicities of traditional religion. Eventually, Berbers won a peaceful conversion thanks to the intervention of leaders like Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba, El Hadj Malick Sy, and Seydina Limamou Laye who were able to convince their followers . They saw Islam as a way to unite and fight against colonial power . The populations were getting weary of repeated jihads and forced colonization. Europeans missionaries introduced Christianity to Senegal and the Casamance in the 19th century. An emblematic figure of Casamance is Aline Sitoe Diatta
Aline Sitoe Diatta
Aline Sitoe Diatta : a Senegalese heroine of the resistance to French colonialism, often called the Joan of Arc or the Marianne of Senegal....

, a woman who led the resistance movement against European colonialists.

It was only in the 1850s that the French began to expand onto the Senegalese mainland (by now rid of slavery and promoting abolitionist doctrine), adding native chiefdoms such as Waalo
Waalo
The Kingdom of Waalo was a kingdom on the lower Senegal River in West Africa, in what are now Senegal and Mauritania. It included parts of the valley proper and areas north and south, extending to the Atlantic Ocean...

, Cayor
Cayor
The Kingdom of Cayor was the largest and most powerful kingdom that split off from the Empire of Jolof , in what is now Senegal. Cayor was located in north and central Senegal, southeast of Waalo, west of the kingdom of Jolof and north of Baol and the Kingdom of Sine.In 1549, the king, or...

, Baol
Baol
The Kingdom of Baol or Bawol in central Senegal was one of the ancient kingdoms of the Serer people pre-the Jolof Empire, an Empire it would later join voluntarily just like the other States. However it gained prominence after the split-up of the Empire in 1555...

, and Jolof
Jolof Empire
The Jolof Empire was a West African state that ruled parts of Senegal from 1360 to 1890.-Origins:Traditional accounts among the Wolof agree that the founder of the state and later empire was Ndiadiane Ndiaye who lived in the 13th century...

. Senegalese chiefs' resistance to the French expansion and curtailing of their lucrative slave trade was led in part by Lat-Dior
Lat-Dior
Lat Dior Ngoné Latyr Diop , son of Sakhéwère Sokhna Mbaye and the Linguère royal Ngoné Latyr Fall, was a 19th century Damel of Cayor, a Wolof state that is today in south central Sénégal.-Nationalist Hero:...

, Damel
Damel
Damel was the title of the ruler of the Wolof kingdom of Cayor in what is now northwest Senegal, West Africa.The most well-known damel is probably Lat Dior Diop who died in battle during the final French drive to capture his territory, which was one of the strongest areas of resistance...

 (great chief) of Cayor
Cayor
The Kingdom of Cayor was the largest and most powerful kingdom that split off from the Empire of Jolof , in what is now Senegal. Cayor was located in north and central Senegal, southeast of Waalo, west of the kingdom of Jolof and north of Baol and the Kingdom of Sine.In 1549, the king, or...

.

In January 1959 Senegal and the French Sudan
French Sudan
French Sudan was a colony in French West Africa that had two separate periods of existence, first from 1890 to 1899, then from 1920 to 1960, when the territory became the independent nation of Mali.-Colonial establishment:...

 merged to form the Mali Federation
Mali Federation
The Mali Federation was a country in West Africa. It was formed by a union between Senegal and the Sudanese Republic...

, which became fully independent on 20 June 1960, as a result of the independence and the transfer of power agreement signed with France on 4 April 1960. Due to internal political difficulties, the Federation broke up on 20 August. Senegal and French Sudan (renamed the Republic of Mali
Mali
Mali , officially the Republic of Mali , is a landlocked country in Western Africa. Mali borders Algeria on the north, Niger on the east, Burkina Faso and the Côte d'Ivoire on the south, Guinea on the south-west, and Senegal and Mauritania on the west. Its size is just over 1,240,000 km² with...

) proclaimed independence. Léopold Senghor was proclaimed Senegal's first president in September 1960. Senghor was a very well read man, educated in France. He was a poet, a philosopher and personally drafted the Senegalese national anthem, "Pincez tous vos koras, frappez les balafons". He was very pro African, he also advocated a brand of African socialism.
In 1980, President Léopold Senghor decided to retire from politics, and he handed power over in 1981 to his handpicked successor, Abdou Diouf
Abdou Diouf
Abdou Diouf was the second President of Senegal, serving from 1981 to 2000. Diouf is notable both for coming to power by peaceful succession, and leaving willingly after losing the 2000 presidential election to Abdoulaye Wade...

. Mamadou Dia ran for reelection in 1983 against Abdou Diouf but lost. Senghor moved to France where he later died at the age of 96.

Senegal joined with The Gambia
The Gambia
The Republic of The Gambia, commonly referred to as The Gambia, or Gambia , is a country in West Africa. Gambia is the smallest country on mainland Africa, surrounded by Senegal except for a short coastline on the Atlantic Ocean in the west....

 to form the nominal confederation of Senegambia
Sénégambia Confederation
Senegambia, officially the Senegambia Confederation, was a loose confederation between the West African countries of Senegal and its neighbour the Gambia, which is almost completely surrounded by Senegal. The confederation came into existence on 1 February 1982 following an agreement between the...

 on 1 February 1982. However, the union was dissolved in 1989. Despite peace talks, a southern separatist group in the Casamance
Casamance
Casamance is the area of Senegal south of The Gambia including the Casamance River. It consists of Basse Casamance and Haute Casamance...

 region had clashed sporadically with government forces since 1982. Senegal has had a long history of participating in international peacekeeping.

Abdou Diouf
Abdou Diouf
Abdou Diouf was the second President of Senegal, serving from 1981 to 2000. Diouf is notable both for coming to power by peaceful succession, and leaving willingly after losing the 2000 presidential election to Abdoulaye Wade...

 was president between 1981 and 2000. He encouraged broader political participation, reduced government involvement in the economy, and widened Senegal's diplomatic engagements, particularly with other developing nations. Domestic politics on occasion spilled over into street violence, border tensions, and a violent separatist movement in the southern region of the Casamance
Casamance
Casamance is the area of Senegal south of The Gambia including the Casamance River. It consists of Basse Casamance and Haute Casamance...

. Nevertheless, Senegal's commitment to democracy and human rights strengthened. Abdou Diouf
Abdou Diouf
Abdou Diouf was the second President of Senegal, serving from 1981 to 2000. Diouf is notable both for coming to power by peaceful succession, and leaving willingly after losing the 2000 presidential election to Abdoulaye Wade...

 served four terms as president.

In the presidential election of 1999, opposition leader Abdoulaye Wade
Abdoulaye Wade
Abdoulaye Wade is the third and current President of Senegal, in office since 2000. He is also the Secretary-General of the Senegalese Democratic Party and has led the party since it was founded in 1974...

 defeated Diouf in an election deemed free and fair by international observers. Senegal experienced its second peaceful transition of power, and its first from one political party to another. On 30 December 2004 President Abdoulaye Wade
Abdoulaye Wade
Abdoulaye Wade is the third and current President of Senegal, in office since 2000. He is also the Secretary-General of the Senegalese Democratic Party and has led the party since it was founded in 1974...

 announced that he would sign a peace treaty with the separatist group in the Casamance
Casamance
Casamance is the area of Senegal south of The Gambia including the Casamance River. It consists of Basse Casamance and Haute Casamance...

 region. This, however, has yet to be implemented. There was a round of talks in 2005, but the results did not yet yield a resolution.

Politics



Senegal is a republic with a presidency; the president is elected
Elections in Senegal
Elections in Senegal gives information on election and election results in Senegal.Senegal elects on national level a head of state - the president - and a legislature. The president is elected for a five year term by the people . The National Assembly has 150 members, elected for a five year...

 every five years as of 2001, previously being seven years, by adult votes. The current president is Abdoulaye Wade
Abdoulaye Wade
Abdoulaye Wade is the third and current President of Senegal, in office since 2000. He is also the Secretary-General of the Senegalese Democratic Party and has led the party since it was founded in 1974...

, re-elected in March 2007.

Senegal has more than 80 political parties
Political party
A political party is a political organization that typically seeks to influence government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office. Parties participate in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protest actions...

. The bicameral parliament consists of the National Assembly
National Assembly of Senegal
The National Assembly of Senegal is the lower house of Senegal's parliament.-The current National Assembly:The current National Assembly, formed following elections held on 29 April 2001, has a total of 150 elected members who serve five-year terms. The electoral system is a mixed member...

, which has 120 seats, and the Senate, which has 100 seats and was reinstituted in 2007. An independent judiciary also exists in Senegal. The nation's highest courts that deal with business issues are the constitutional council and the court of justice, members of which are named by the president.

Currently, Senegal has a quasi-democratic political culture, trying to be one of the more successful post-colonial democratic transitions in Africa. Local administrators are appointed by, and responsible to, the president. The marabouts, religious leaders of the various Senegalese Muslim brotherhoods
Muslim brotherhoods of Senegal
This is a list of Muslim groups in Senegal . They are active Muslim organizations that can also be found in many other parts of Africa and the Islamic world.The three largest are:...

, also exercise a strong political influence in the country. In 2009, however, Freedom House
Freedom House
Freedom House is an international non-governmental organization based in Washington, D.C. that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom and human rights...

 downgraded Senegal's status from 'Free' to 'Partially Free', based on increased centralisation of power in the executive.

In 2008, Senegal finished in tenth position on the Ibrahim Index of African Governance
Ibrahim Index of African Governance
The Ibrahim Index of African Governance is an attempt to statistically monitor African governance levels throughout all the countries of Africa. Funded and led by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, it uses a number of different indicators to compile an overall ranking of countries, which is designed to be...

. The Ibrahim Index is a comprehensive measure of sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa as a geographical term refers to the area of the African continent which lies south of the Sahara. A political definition of Sub-Saharan Africa, instead, covers all African countries which are fully or partially located south of the Sahara...

n governance, based on a number of different variables which reflect the success with which governments deliver essential political goods to its citizens. In 2009, Senegal's ranking slipped substantially to seventeenth place, but rose to third out of the original 53 countries in 2008; however, this is partially accounted for by the addition of Northern African nations to the rankings.

On 22 February 2011, it was reported that Senegal has severed diplomatic ties with Iran, saying Tehran supplied rebels with weapons which killed Senegalese troops.

Geography




Senegal is located on the west of the African continent. It lies between latitudes 12°
12th parallel north
The 12th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 12 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, the Indian Ocean, South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Ocean, Central America, South America and the Atlantic Ocean....

 and 17°N
17th parallel north
The 17th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 17 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, Central America, the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean....

, and longitudes 11°
11th meridian west
The meridian 11° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, Africa, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

 and 18°W
18th meridian west
The meridian 18° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Greenland, Iceland, the Atlantic Ocean, the Canary Islands, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

.

The Senegalese landscape consists mainly of the rolling sandy plains of the western Sahel
Sahel
The Sahel is the ecoclimatic and biogeographic zone of transition between the Sahara desert in the North and the Sudanian Savannas in the south.It stretches across the North African continent between the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea....

 which rise to foothills in the southeast. Here is also found Senegal's highest point, an otherwise unnamed feature near Nepen Diakha
Nepen Diakha
Nepen Diakha is a locality situated in Tambacounda, Senegal. The highest point of the country is located 2770 meters south-east of Nepen Diakha an unnamed ridge that is customarily stated as 581 metres above sea level, defining the border with Guinea...

 at 584 m (1,916 ft). The northern border is formed by the Senegal River
Sénégal River
The Sénégal River is a long river in West Africa that forms the border between Senegal and Mauritania.The Sénégal's headwaters are the Semefé and Bafing rivers which both originate in Guinea; they form a small part of the Guinean-Malian border before coming together at Bafoulabé in Mali...

, other rivers include the Gambia
Gambia River
The Gambia River is a major river in West Africa, running from the Fouta Djallon plateau in north Guinea westward through Senegal and The Gambia to the Atlantic Ocean at the city of Banjul...

 and Casamance River
Casamance River
The Casamance River flows westward for the most part into the Atlantic Ocean along a path about 200 miles in length. However, only 80 miles of it are navigable. The Casamance is the principal river of the Kolda, Sédhiou, and Ziguinchor Regions in the southern portion of Senegal between The...

s. The capital Dakar lies on the Cap-Vert
Cap-Vert
Cap-Vert is a peninsula in Senegal, and the westernmost point of the continent of Africa and of the Old World mainland. Originally called Cabo Verde or "Cape Green" by Portuguese explorers, it is not to be confused with the Cape Verde islands, which are some further west...

 peninsula, the westernmost point of continental Africa.

The Cape Verde
Cape Verde
The Republic of Cape Verde is an island country, spanning an archipelago of 10 islands located in the central Atlantic Ocean, 570 kilometres off the coast of Western Africa...

 islands lie some 560 kilometres (348 mi) off the Senegalese coast
Coast
A coastline or seashore is the area where land meets the sea or ocean. A precise line that can be called a coastline cannot be determined due to the dynamic nature of tides. The term "coastal zone" can be used instead, which is a spatial zone where interaction of the sea and land processes occurs...

, but Cap Vert ("Cape Green") is a maritime placemark, set at the foot of "Les Mammelles", a 105 metres (344 ft) cliff resting at one end of the Cap Vert peninsula onto which is settled Senegal's capital Dakar, and 1 kilometre (0.621372736649807 mi) south of the "Pointe des Almadies", the western-most point in Africa.

Climate



The local climate
Climate
Climate encompasses the statistics of temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, rainfall, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological elemental measurements in a given region over long periods...

 is tropical
Tropical climate
A tropical climate is a climate of the tropics. In the Köppen climate classification it is a non-arid climate in which all twelve months have mean temperatures above...

 with well-defined dry and humid seasons that result from northeast winter winds and southwest summer winds. The dry season (December to April) is dominated by hot, dry, harmattan wind.
Dakar's annual rainfall of about 600 mm (23.6 in) occurs between June and October when maximum temperatures average 30 °C (86 °F) and minimums 24.2 °C (75.6 °F); December to February maximum temperatures average 25.7 °C (78.3 °F) and minimums 18 °C (64.4 °F). Interior temperatures are higher than along the coast (for example, average daily temperatures in Kaolack and Tambacounda for May are 30 °C (86 °F) and 32.7 °C (90.9 °F) respectively, compared to Dakar's 23.2 °C (73.8 °F) ), and rainfall increases substantially farther south, exceeding 1500 mm (59.1 in) annually in some areas. In the far interior of the country, in the region of Tambacounda, particularly on the border of Mali, temperatures can reach as high as 54 °C (129.2 °F).

Administrative divisions


Senegal is subdivided into 14 regions, each administered by a Conseil Régional (Regional Council) elected by population weight at the Arrondissement level. The country is further subdivided by 45 Départements, 103 Arrondissements (neither of which have administrative function) and by Collectivités Locales, which elect administrative officers.

Regional capitals have the same name as their respective regions:

Major cities



Senegal's capital of Dakar is by far the largest city in Senegal, with over two million residents. The second most populous city is Touba
Touba, Senegal
Touba is a city in central Senegal. It is the holy city of Mouridism and the burial place of its founder, Shaikh Aamadu Bàmba Mbàkke...

, a de jure
De jure
De jure is an expression that means "concerning law", as contrasted with de facto, which means "concerning fact".De jure = 'Legally', De facto = 'In fact'....

communaute rurale (rural community), with half a million.
CityPopulation (2005)
Dakar
Dakar
Dakar is the capital city and largest city of Senegal. It is located on the Cap-Vert Peninsula on the Atlantic coast and is the westernmost city on the African mainland...

 (Dakar proper, Guédiawaye
Guédiawaye
Guédiawaye is a town and département of the Dakar Region of Senegal. Lying on the Atlantic Ocean to the north east of Dakar city centre, in 2005 it had a population of 280,353. Until the mid-2000s, the département was part of Pikine.-History:...

, and Pikine
Pikine
Pikine is a city in the Pikine Department of the Dakar Region of Senegal. Lying to the east of Dakar city centre, in 2005 it had a population of 834,246. The departement includes the villages of Yeumbeul, Thiaroye, Mbao, and Keur Massar Malika...

)
2,145,193
Touba
Touba, Senegal
Touba is a city in central Senegal. It is the holy city of Mouridism and the burial place of its founder, Shaikh Aamadu Bàmba Mbàkke...

 (Touba Mosquee)
475,755
Thiès
Thiès
Thiès is the third largest city in Senegal with a population officially estimated at 320,000 in 2005. It lies 60 km east of Dakar on the N2 road and at the junction of railway lines to Dakar, Bamako and St-Louis...

 
240,152
Kaolack
Kaolack
Kaolack is a town of 172,305 people on the north bank of the Saloum River and the N1 road in Senegal. It is the capital of the Kaolack Region, which borders The Gambia to the south. Kaolack is an important regional market town and is Senegal's main peanut trading and processing center...

 
181,035
M'Bour
M'Bour
M'Bour or Mbour is a city in the Thiès Region of Senegal. It lies on the Petite Côte, approximately eighty kilometers south of Dakar. It is home to a population of 153,503 . The city's major industries are tourism, fishing and peanut processing....

 
170,875
Saint-Louis
Saint-Louis, Senegal
Saint-Louis, or Ndar as it is called in Wolof, is the capital of Senegal's Saint-Louis Region. Located in the northwest of Senegal, near the mouth of the Senegal River, and 320 km north of Senegal's capital city Dakar, it has a population officially estimated at 176,000 in 2005. Saint-Louis...

 
165,038
Rufisque
Rufisque
Rufisque is a city in the Dakar region of western Senegal, at the base of the Cap-Vert Peninsula. It has a population of 179,797 . In the past it was an important port city in its own right, but is now a suburb of Dakar....

 
154,975
Ziguinchor
Ziguinchor
Ziguinchor is the capital of the Ziguinchor Region, and the chief town of the Casamance area of Senegal, lying at the mouth of the Casamance River. It has a population of over 230,000...

 
153,456


Economy




After its economy retracted by 2.1% in 1993 Senegal instigated a major economic reform program with the support of the international donor community. This reform began with a 50% devaluation of the country's currency (the CFA franc). Government price controls and subsidies were also dismantled. As a result, Senegal's inflation went down, investments went up, and the gross domestic product
Gross domestic product
Gross domestic product refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living....

 rose approximately 5% a year between 1995 and 2001.
The main industries include food processing
Food processing
Food processing is the set of methods and techniques used to transform raw ingredients into food or to transform food into other forms for consumption by humans or animals either in the home or by the food processing industry...

, mining, cement, artificial fertilizer, chemicals
Chemical industry
The chemical industry comprises the companies that produce industrial chemicals. Central to the modern world economy, it converts raw materials into more than 70,000 different products.-Products:...

, textiles
Textile industry
The textile industry is primarily concerned with the production of yarn, and cloth and the subsequent design or manufacture of clothing and their distribution. The raw material may be natural, or synthetic using products of the chemical industry....

, refining
Refining
Refining is the process of purification of a substance or a form. The term is usually used of a natural resource that is almost in a usable form, but which is more useful in its pure form. For instance, most types of natural petroleum will burn straight from the ground, but it will burn poorly...

 imported petroleum, and tourism. Exports include fish, chemicals, cotton, fabrics, groundnuts, and calcium phosphate
Calcium phosphate
Calcium phosphate is the name given to a family of minerals containing calcium ions together with orthophosphates , metaphosphates or pyrophosphates and occasionally hydrogen or hydroxide ions ....

, and the principal foreign market is India at 26.7 percent of exports (as of 1998). Other foreign markets include the United States, Italy and the United Kingdom.

As a member of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), Senegal is working toward greater regional integration with a unified external tariff
Tariff
A tariff may be either tax on imports or exports , or a list or schedule of prices for such things as rail service, bus routes, and electrical usage ....

. Senegal is also a member of the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA
Ohada
OHADA is a system of business laws and implementing institutions adopted by sixteen West and Central African nations. OHADA is the French acronym for "Organisation pour l'Harmonisation en Afrique du Droit des Affaires", which translates into English as "Organisation for the Harmonization of...

).

Senegal realized full Internet connectivity in 1996, creating a mini-boom in information technology-based services. Private activity now accounts for 82 percent of GDP. On the negative side, Senegal faces deep-seated urban problems of chronic high unemployment, socioeconomic disparity
Income disparity
The gender pay gap is the difference between male and female earnings expressed as a percentage of male earnings, according to the OECD. The European Commission defines it as the average difference between men’s and women’s hourly earnings...

, and juvenile delinquency
Juvenile delinquency
Juvenile delinquency is participation in illegal behavior by minors who fall under a statutory age limit. Most legal systems prescribe specific procedures for dealing with juveniles, such as juvenile detention centers. There are a multitude of different theories on the causes of crime, most if not...

.

Senegal is a major recipient of international development assistance. Donors include USAID, Japan, France and China. Over 3000 Peace Corps
Peace Corps
The Peace Corps is an American volunteer program run by the United States Government, as well as a government agency of the same name. The mission of the Peace Corps includes three goals: providing technical assistance, helping people outside the United States to understand US culture, and helping...

 Volunteers have served in Senegal since 1963.

Demographics





Senegal has a population of over 12.5 million, about 42 percent of whom live in rural areas. Density in these areas varies from about 77 PD/km2 in the west-central region to 2 /km2 in the arid eastern section.

According to the World Refugee Survey 2008, published by the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, Senegal has a population of refugees and asylum seekers numbering approximately 23,800 in 2007. The majority of this population (20,200) is from Mauritania
Mauritania
Mauritania is a country in the Maghreb and West Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean in the west, by Western Sahara in the north, by Algeria in the northeast, by Mali in the east and southeast, and by Senegal in the southwest...

. Refugees live in N'dioum, Dodel, and small settlements along the Senegal River
Sénégal River
The Sénégal River is a long river in West Africa that forms the border between Senegal and Mauritania.The Sénégal's headwaters are the Semefé and Bafing rivers which both originate in Guinea; they form a small part of the Guinean-Malian border before coming together at Bafoulabé in Mali...

 valley.

Ethnicity


Senegal has a wide variety of ethnic groups and, as in most West African countries, several languages are widely spoken. The Wolof
Wolof people
The Wolof are an ethnic group found in Senegal, The Gambia, and Mauritania.In Senegal, the Wolof form an ethnic plurality with about 43.3% of the population are Wolofs...

 are the largest single ethnic group in Senegal at 45 percent; the Fula
Fula people
Fula people or Fulani or Fulbe are an ethnic group spread over many countries, predominantly in West Africa, but found also in Central Africa and Sudanese North Africa...

 and Toucouleur
Toucouleur
The Toucouleurs are a Fula agricultural people who live primarily in West Africa: the north of Senegal in the Senegal River valley, Mauritania, and Mali.-History:...

 (also known as Halpulaar'en, literally "Pulaar
Pulaar
Pulaar is a Fula language spoken primarily as a first language by Fula people and Tukolor in the Senegal River valley area traditionally known as Futa Tooro, and further south and east...

-speakers") (24 percent) are the second biggest group, followed by the Serer
Serer people
The Serer people along with the Jola people are acknowledged to be the oldest inhabitants of The Senegambia....

 (14.7 percent), then others such as Jola
Jola people
The Jola are an ethnic group found in Senegal , The Gambia, and Guinea-Bissau. There are great numbers on the Atlantic coast between the southern banks of the Gambia River, the Casamance region of Senegal and the northern part of Guinea-Bissau...

 (4 percent), Mandinka
Mandinka people
The Mandinka, Malinke are one of the largest ethnic groups in West Africa with an estimated population of eleven million ....

 (3 percent), Maures
Moors
The description Moors has referred to several historic and modern populations of the Maghreb region who are predominately of Berber and Arab descent. They came to conquer and rule the Iberian Peninsula for nearly 800 years. At that time they were Muslim, although earlier the people had followed...

 or (Naarkajors), Soninke, Bassari
Bassari people
The Bassari people are an African people living in Senegal, Gambia, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau. The total population is between 10,000 and 30,000. Most of the Bassari are concentrated on either side of the Senegal-Guinea border southwest of Kedougou, Kédougou Region...

 and many smaller communities (9 percent). (See also the Bedick
Bedick
The Bedick, or Bedik, are a minority ethnic group of Africa. They live in villages in the most isolated area of eastern Senegal, in the Arrondissement of Bandafassi. Iwol is one of their settlements....

 ethnic group.) It should be noted that Wolof percentage above is misleading because other tribes who have been Wolofized and speak the Wolof language are added to this figure when in actual fact they are not Wolofs at all.

About 50,000 Europeans (mostly French) and Lebanese
Lebanese people in Senegal
-Migration history:The first trader from Lebanon arrived in Senegal in the 1860s. However, early migration was slow; by 1900, there were only about one hundred Lebanese living in the country, mostly from the vicinity of Tyre. They worked as street vendors in Dakar, Saint-Louis, and Rufisque. After...

 as well as smaller numbers of Mauritanians and Moroccans
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

 reside in Senegal, mainly in the cities. The majority of Lebanese work in commerce. Also located primarily in urban settings are small Vietnamese communities
Vietnamese community in Senegal
The Vietnamese people in Senegal consists of both expatriate technicians and laborers from Vietnam, as well as the mixed-race descendants of early 20th-century migrants...

 as well as a growing number of Chinese immigrant traders
Chinese people in Senegal
There is a small but growing population of Chinese people in Senegal, largely consisting of expatriates from the People's Republic of China who began arriving in the country in the 1980s.-Migration history:...

, each numbering perhaps a few hundred people. There are also tens of thousands of Mauritanian refugees in Senegal
Mauritanians in Senegal
There is a large community of Mauritanians in Senegal, including tens of thousands of black Mauritanians expelled by their own government during a 1989 border incident.-Migration history:...

, primarily in the country's north.

French is the official language, used regularly by a minority of Senegalese educated in a system styled upon the colonial-era schools of French origin (Koranic schools are even more popular, but Arabic is not widely spoken outside of this context of recitation). Most people also speak their own ethnic language while, especially in Dakar, Wolof
Wolof language
Wolof is a language spoken in Senegal, The Gambia, and Mauritania, and is the native language of the Wolof people. Like the neighbouring languages Serer and Fula, it belongs to the Atlantic branch of the Niger–Congo language family...

 is the lingua franca
Lingua franca
A lingua franca is a language systematically used to make communication possible between people not sharing a mother tongue, in particular when it is a third language, distinct from both mother tongues.-Characteristics:"Lingua franca" is a functionally defined term, independent of the linguistic...

. Pulaar
Pulaar
Pulaar is a Fula language spoken primarily as a first language by Fula people and Tukolor in the Senegal River valley area traditionally known as Futa Tooro, and further south and east...

 is spoken by the Fulas and Toucouleur and Serer is spoken by the Serer people
Serer people
The Serer people along with the Jola people are acknowledged to be the oldest inhabitants of The Senegambia....

.

Portuguese Creole
Portuguese Creole
Portuguese creoles are creole languages which have been significantly influenced by Portuguese.- Origins :Portuguese overseas exploration in the 15th and 16th century's led to the establishment of a Portuguese Empire with trading posts, forts and colonies in the Americas, Asia and Africa...

 is a prominent minority language in Ziguinchor
Ziguinchor
Ziguinchor is the capital of the Ziguinchor Region, and the chief town of the Casamance area of Senegal, lying at the mouth of the Casamance River. It has a population of over 230,000...

, regional capital of the Casamance
Casamance
Casamance is the area of Senegal south of The Gambia including the Casamance River. It consists of Basse Casamance and Haute Casamance...

, where some residents speak Kriol, primarily spoken in Guinea-Bissau
Guinea-Bissau
The Republic of Guinea-Bissau is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Senegal to the north, and Guinea to the south and east, with the Atlantic Ocean to its west....

. Cape Verdeans speak their native creole, Cape Verdean Creole, and standard Portuguese.

Health



Public expenditure on health was at 2.4% of the GDP in 2004, whereas private expenditure was at
3.5%. Health expenditure was at US$ 72 (PPP) per capita in 2004. The fertility rate was at about 5.2 in the early 2000s. There were 6 physicians per 100,000 persons in the early 2000s. Infant mortality
Infant mortality
Infant mortality is defined as the number of infant deaths per 1000 live births. Traditionally, the most common cause worldwide was dehydration from diarrhea. However, the spreading information about Oral Re-hydration Solution to mothers around the world has decreased the rate of children dying...

 was at 77 per 1,000 live births in 2005. Malaria is the largest cause of infant mortality, but rates are dropping, thanks to the support of the President's Malaria Initiative.

Religion


Islam
Islam in Senegal
Islam is the predominant religion in Senegal. Ninety-four percent of the country's population is estimated to be Muslim. Most Muslims in Senegal are members of one of the Sufi brotherhoods. Islam has existed in Senegal for more than a millennium...

 is the predominant religion the country. Islam is practiced by approximately 90 percent of the country's population; the Christian community, at 10 percent of the population, includes Roman Catholics and diverse Protestant denominations. There is also a 1 percent population who maintain animism
Animism
Animism refers to the belief that non-human entities are spiritual beings, or at least embody some kind of life-principle....

 in their beliefs, particularly in the southeastern region of the country. Some of the Serer people mostly follow the Serer religion
Serer religion
The Serer religion, Fat Rog is the original religious beliefs, practices and teachings of the Serer people. The Serer people believe in a universal Supreme Deity called "Rog. "The Serer people are found throughout the Senegambia Region...

.

Islamic communities in Senegal are generally organized around one of several Islamic Sufi orders or brotherhoods, headed by a khalif (xaliifa in Wolof
Wolof language
Wolof is a language spoken in Senegal, The Gambia, and Mauritania, and is the native language of the Wolof people. Like the neighbouring languages Serer and Fula, it belongs to the Atlantic branch of the Niger–Congo language family...

, from Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 khalīfa), who is usually a direct descendant of the group’s founder. The two largest and most prominent Sufi orders in Senegal are the Tijaniyya, whose largest sub-groups are based in the cities of Tivaouane
Tivaouane
-History:Tivaouane was part of the Wolof kingdom of Cayor, and was at one time its capital. It was first described to Europeans in the 15th century by Venitian explorer Luigi Cada-Mosto....

 and Kaolack
Kaolack
Kaolack is a town of 172,305 people on the north bank of the Saloum River and the N1 road in Senegal. It is the capital of the Kaolack Region, which borders The Gambia to the south. Kaolack is an important regional market town and is Senegal's main peanut trading and processing center...

, and the Murīdiyya (Murid)
Murid
Murid is a Sufi term meaning 'committed one' from the root meaning "willpower" or "self-esteem". It refers to a person who is committed to a Murshid in a Tariqa of Sufism. Also known as a Salik , a murid is an initiate into the mystic philosophy of Sufism. When the Talib makes a pledge to a...

, based in the city of Touba
Touba, Senegal
Touba is a city in central Senegal. It is the holy city of Mouridism and the burial place of its founder, Shaikh Aamadu Bàmba Mbàkke...

.

The Halpulaar (Pulaar
Pulaar
Pulaar is a Fula language spoken primarily as a first language by Fula people and Tukolor in the Senegal River valley area traditionally known as Futa Tooro, and further south and east...

-speakers), composed of Fula people
Fula people
Fula people or Fulani or Fulbe are an ethnic group spread over many countries, predominantly in West Africa, but found also in Central Africa and Sudanese North Africa...

, a widespread group found along the Sahel from Chad to Senegal, and Toucouleur
Toucouleur
The Toucouleurs are a Fula agricultural people who live primarily in West Africa: the north of Senegal in the Senegal River valley, Mauritania, and Mali.-History:...

s
, represent 20 percent of the Senegalese population. Historically, they were the first to become Muslim. Many of the Toucouleurs, or sedentary Halpulaar of the Senegal River Valley in the north, converted to Islam around a millennium ago and later contributed to Islam's propagation throughout Senegal.

Most communities south of the Senegal River Valley, however, were not thoroughly Islamized until the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and when they converted, they converted on their own free will rather than by force, although force had been tried centuries earlier unsuccessfully especially among the Serer people
Serer people
The Serer people along with the Jola people are acknowledged to be the oldest inhabitants of The Senegambia....

.
During the mid-19th century, Islam became a banner of resistance against the traditional aristocracies and French colonialism, and Tijānī leaders Al-Hajj Umar Tall and Màbba Jaxu Ba established short-lived but influential Islamic states but were both killed in battle and their territories then annexed by the French.

The spread of formal Quranic school (called daara in Wolof) during the colonial period increased largely through the effort of the Tijaniyya. In Murid communities, which place more emphasis on the work ethic than on literary Quranic studies, the term daara often applies to work groups devoted to working for a religious leader. Other Islamic groups include the much older Qādiriyya
Qadiriyya
The Qadiriyya , are members of the Qadiri Sufi order...

 order and the Senegalese Laayeen
Layene
The Layene are a politically autonomous religious community of the Lebou people, who live in fishing communities on the Cap-Vert peninsula, north of Dakar, Senegal. The Layene brotherhood is one of the smaller Muslim brotherhoods of Senegal and is ruled in religious and temporal matters by their...

 order, which is prominent among the coastal Lebu. Today, most Senegalese children study at daaras for several years, memorizing as much of the Qur'an as they can. Some of them continue their religious studies at informal Arabic schools (majlis) or at the growing number of private Arabic schools and publicly funded Franco-Arabic schools. A modern messianic sect in Islam, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the larger of two communities that arose from the Ahmadiyya movement founded in 1889 in India by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian . The original movement split into two factions soon after the death of the founder...

 is also present in the country.

About 10% of the population of Senegal adheres to Christianity
Roman Catholicism in Senegal
The Roman Catholic Church in Senegal is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope and curia in Rome....

. Small Roman Catholic communities are mainly found in coastal Serer
Serer people
The Serer people along with the Jola people are acknowledged to be the oldest inhabitants of The Senegambia....

, Jola
Jola people
The Jola are an ethnic group found in Senegal , The Gambia, and Guinea-Bissau. There are great numbers on the Atlantic coast between the southern banks of the Gambia River, the Casamance region of Senegal and the northern part of Guinea-Bissau...

, Mankanya
Mankanya people
The Mankanya people form an ethnic group living in Guinea-Bissau, Senegal and Gambia. Their religion is predominantly Roman Catholic, yet keep a strong tradition of animism. They speak Mankanya, a language belonging to the Atlantic group....

 and Balant populations, and in eastern Senegal among the Bassari and Coniagui. The Protestant churches are mainly attended by immigrants but during the second half of the twentieth century Protestant churches led by Senegalese leaders from different ethnic groups have evolved. In Dakar Catholic and Protestant rites are practiced by the Lebanese, Cape Verdean, European, and American immigrant populations, and among certain Africans of other countries as well as by the Senegalese themselves. Although Islam is Senegal's majority religion, Senegal's first president, Léopold Sédar Senghor
Léopold Sédar Senghor
Léopold Sédar Senghor was a Senegalese poet, politician, and cultural theorist who for two decades served as the first president of Senegal . Senghor was the first African elected as a member of the Académie française. Before independence, he founded the political party called the Senegalese...

, was a Catholic Serer.
Serer religion
Serer religion
The Serer religion, Fat Rog is the original religious beliefs, practices and teachings of the Serer people. The Serer people believe in a universal Supreme Deity called "Rog. "The Serer people are found throughout the Senegambia Region...

 has a imprint on both Senegalese and Gambian Muslim society in that, many Senegambian Muslim festivals such as "Tobaski", "Gamo", "Koriteh" and "Weri Kor" are all borrowed words from the Serer religion. They are ancient Serer festivals.

Like their Serers neighbours, the Jola people
Jola people
The Jola are an ethnic group found in Senegal , The Gambia, and Guinea-Bissau. There are great numbers on the Atlantic coast between the southern banks of the Gambia River, the Casamance region of Senegal and the northern part of Guinea-Bissau...

 also have their religion and customs. One of their major religious ceremonies is the Boukout
Boukout
Boukout is a Jola rite of passage practiced in Ziguinchor, Senegal.-Origin:There is evidence that this ritual has existed at least since the 12th century...

.

There are small numbers of adherents of Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 and Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

. Judaism is followed by members of several ethnic groups , while Buddhism is followed by a number of Vietnamese. The Bahá'í Faith
Bahá'í Faith in Senegal
The Bahá'í Faith in Senegal begins after `Abdu'l-Bahá, the son of the founder of the religion, mentioned Africa as a place the religion should be more broadly visited by Bahá'ís. The first to set foot in the territory of French West Africa that would become Senegal arrived in 1953. The first Bahá'í...

 in Senegal was established after `Abdu'l-Bahá
`Abdu'l-Bahá
‘Abdu’l-Bahá , born ‘Abbás Effendí, was the eldest son of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. In 1892, `Abdu'l-Bahá was appointed in his father's will to be his successor and head of the Bahá'í Faith. `Abdu'l-Bahá was born in Tehran to an aristocratic family of the realm...

, the son of the founder of the religion, mentioned Africa as a place that should be more broadly visited by Bahá'ís. The first Bahá'is to set foot in the territory of French West Africa
French West Africa
French West Africa was a federation of eight French colonial territories in Africa: Mauritania, Senegal, French Sudan , French Guinea , Côte d'Ivoire , Upper Volta , Dahomey and Niger...

 that would become Senegal arrived in 1953. The first Bahá'í Local Spiritual Assembly of Senegal was elected in 1966 in Dakar
Dakar
Dakar is the capital city and largest city of Senegal. It is located on the Cap-Vert Peninsula on the Atlantic coast and is the westernmost city on the African mainland...

. In 1975 the Bahá'í community elected the first National Spiritual Assembly of Senegal. The most recent estimate, by the Association of Religion Data Archives
Association of religion data archives
The Association of Religion Data Archives is a free source of online information related to American and international religion. Founded as the American Religion Data Archive in 1997, and online since 1998, the archive was initially targeted at researchers interested in American religion...

 in a 2005 report details the population of Senegalese Bahá'ís at 22,000.

Culture


Senegal is known across Africa for its musical heritage, due to the popularity of mbalax
Mbalax
Mbalax is the national popular dance music of Senegal and The Gambia. Mbalax is a fusion of popular Western music and dance such as jazz, soul, Latin, and rock blended with sabar, the traditional drumming and dance music of Senegal...

, which originated from the Serer percussive
Percussion instrument
A percussion instrument is any object which produces a sound when hit with an implement or when it is shaken, rubbed, scraped, or otherwise acted upon in a way that sets the object into vibration...

 tradition, it has been popularized by Youssou N'Dour
Youssou N'Dour
Youssou N'Dour is a Senegalese singer, percussionist and occasional actor. In 2004, Rolling Stone described him as, in Senegal and much of Africa, "perhaps the most famous singer alive." He helped develop a style of popular music in Senegal, known in the Serer language as mbalax, a type of music...

 and others. Sabar
Sabar
The sabar - from the Serer people in origin, is traditional drum from the West African nation of Senegal. It is generally played with one hand and one stick. Among its most renowned exponents is the Senegalese musician Doudou N'Diaye Rose. The sabar was used to communicate to other villages...

 drumming is especially popular. The sabar is mostly used in special celebrations like weddings. Another instrument, the tama, is used in more ethnic groups. Other popular international renown Senegalese musicians are Ismael Lô, Orchestra Baobab, Baaba Maal
Baaba Maal
Baaba Maal is a Senegalese singer and guitarist born in Podor, on the Senegal River. In addition to acoustic guitar, he also plays percussion. He has released several albums, both for independent and major labels. In July 2003, he was made a UNDP Youth Emissary.-Biography:Born 12 November 1953...

, Thione Seck
Thione Seck
Thione Ballago Seck is one of Senegal's greatest singers and musicians in the mbalax genre, on par with Baaba Maal and Youssou N'dour although he hasn't achieved the same level of fame outside his country. Seck comes from a family of "griot" singers from the Wolof people of Senegal...

, Akon
Akon
Aliaune Damala Badara Thiam, better known as simply Akon , is a Senegalese American R&B recording artist and songwriter.According to Forbes, Akon grossed $21 million in 2010, $20 million in 2009 and $12 million in 2008. He rose to prominence in 2004 following the release of "Locked Up", the first...

, Viviane, Titi
Titi (singer)
Titi, real name Ndey Fatou, is a singer from Senegal. Her name of Titi comes from a nickname given to her as a child by her uncle. She started her career as a dancer but was inspired by Youssou N'Dour and moved onto becoming a singer....

, and Pape Diouf
Pape Diouf
Mababa "Pape" Diouf is a Senegalese former journalist, best known for being the president of French football club Olympique Marseille between 2005 and 2009.Diouf was born in Abéché, Chad, to Senegalese parents...

.

Education



Articles 21 and 22 of the Constitution adopted in January 2001 guarantee access to education for all children. Education is compulsory and free up to the age of 16.
The Ministry of Labor has indicated that the public school system is unable to cope with the number of children that must enroll each year.
Illiteracy
Literacy
Literacy has traditionally been described as the ability to read for knowledge, write coherently and think critically about printed material.Literacy represents the lifelong, intellectual process of gaining meaning from print...

 is high, particularly among women. The net primary enrollment rate was 69 % in 2005. Public expenditure on education was 5.4 % of the 2002–2005 GDP.

Hospitality


Hospitality, in theory, is given such importance in Senegalese culture that it is widely considered to be part of the national identity. The Wolof word for hospitality is "teranga", and it is so identified with the pride of Senegal that the national football team is known as the Lions of Teranga
Senegal national football team
The Senegal national football team, nicknamed the Lions of Teranga, is the national team of Senegal and is controlled by the Fédération Sénégalaise de Football...

.

See also


Further Reading

  • Babou, Cheikh Anta, Fighting the Greater Jihad: Amadu Bamba and the Founding of the Muridiyya of Senegal, 1853-1913, (Ohio University Press, 2007)
  • Behrman, Lucy C, Muslim Brotherhood and Politics in Senegal, (iUniverse.com, 1999)
  • Buggenhage, Beth A, Muslim Families in Global Senegal: Money Takes Care of Shame, (Indiana University Press, 2012)
  • Bugul, Ken, The Abandoned Baobab: The Autobiography of a Senegalese Woman, (University of Virginia Press, 2008)
  • Foley, Ellen E, Your Pocket is What Cures You: The Politics of Health in Senegal, (Rutgers University Press, 2010)
  • Gellar, Sheldon, Democracy in Senegal: Tocquevillian Analytics in Africa, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005)
  • Glover, John, Sufism and Jihad in Modern Senegal: The Murid Order, (University of Rochester Press, 2007)
  • Kane, Katharina, Lonely Planet Guide: The Gambia and Senegal, (Lonely Planet Publications, 2009)
  • Kueniza, Michelle, Education and Democracy in Senegal, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011)
  • Mbacké, Khadim, Sufism and Religious Brotherhoods in Senegal, (Markus Wiener Publishing Inc., 2005)
  • Ross, Eric S, Culture and Customs of Senegal, (Greenwood, 2008)
  • Streissguth, Thomas, Senegal in Pictures, (Twentyfirst Century Books, 2009)
  • Various, Insight Guide: Gambia and Senegal, (APA Publications Pte Ltd., 2009)
  • Various, New Perspectives on Islam in Senegal: Conversion, Migration, Wealth, Power, and Femininity, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009)
  • Various, Senegal: Essays in Statecraft, (Codesria, 2003)
  • Various, Street Children in Senegal, (GYAN France, 2006)

External links



Government

General information
  • Niokobok:News, e-Tourism, Volunteers, NGOs and Fair trade at Senegal
  • Country Profile from BBC News
    BBC News
    BBC News is the department of the British Broadcasting Corporation responsible for the gathering and broadcasting of news and current affairs. The department is the world's largest broadcast news organisation and generates about 120 hours of radio and television output each day, as well as online...

  • Senegal from UCB Libraries GovPubs
  • UN Map on Senegal
  • Information on Senegal

News
  • SenRegal News, Music from Senegal
  • Seneweb news
  • SenActu news headline links
  • News headline links from AllAfrica.com
    AllAfrica.com
    AllAfrica.com is a website that aggregates news produced primarily on the African continent about all areas of African life, politics, issues and culture. It is available in both English and French and produced by AllAfrica Global Media, which has offices in Cape Town, Dakar, Lagos, Monrovia,...

  • Links to Senegal newspapers from NewspaperIndex.com


Tourism

Other