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The Republic of Senegal (French: République du Sénégal) is a country located at the westernmost tip of West Africa. The country contains the Cap-Vert ("Green Cape," not to be confused with Cape Verde, which also means Green Cape, but in Portuguese) Peninsula, officially the westernmost point of continental Afro-Eurasia.
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The region was originally ruled by various indigenous ethnic groups of Western Africa, including the Wolof, who established the Jolof Empire in the 14th century, and the Ghana Empire, who ruled the eastern part of the country. Toucouleurs (a subgroup of the historically-nomadic Fula people who are sedentary) and Soninke peoples make up the rest of the region's demographic makeup. While previously animist or followers of traditional religions, the people began converting to Islam through contact with the Almoravid dynasty to the north in the 11th century, although one ethnic group, the Serer, who live in the southern Casamance region, refused to accept the faith until much later.

The Portuguese were the first European explorers to visit the region, but dominant power ultimately resided with the French. The colonial powers designated Gorée, a small island nearby the capital Dakar, as a transit point for the slaves about to be transported as part of the Atlantic slave trade; today, it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Though the French at first only established coastal posts, they slowly colonized the interior, albeit with much local resistance, until the entire region was subjugated in the 19th century. The territory was dubbed the "Sénégal Colony," a part of French West Africa. For several centuries, the capital was located not in Dakar but in the northern city of Saint-Louis, at the mouth of the Senegal River. After 1902, Saint-Louis was transferred to the Colony of Mauritania, but was re-transferred back to Senegal shortly before independence. Contact with the colonial powers brought to the region Christianity, which was mainly accepted by the half of the Serers who did not convert to Islam.

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Independence was granted by the French in 1960. Senegal and the nearby French Sudan colony merged to form the "Mali Federation." However, Senegal quickly lost interest and eventually opted out just two months later, with French Sudan becoming known as just Mali. It also tried to form a confederation with The Gambia, a tiny country that it completely surrounds to the north, east, and south, in the 1980s, as "Senegambia," but opted out when they felt that the confederation wasn't going anywhere. (The Gambia was a British colony, which caused a bit of a culture clash.)

Senegal is often cited as a success story of African decolonization, lacking a history of coups and, as of present, being a healthy democracy. However, it was a one-party state from independence until 2000, when longtime president Abdou Diouf of the ruling Socialist Party of Senegal conceded the presidential elections to Abdoulaye Wade of the Senegalese Democratic Party.

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There are a couple of sore problems affecting the country, though. The Serers of Casamance are traditionally rebellious against the central government and have attempted several separatist movements. This despite the fact that the first president, Léopold Sédar Senghor, was a native Serer, and the current president, Macky Sall, has Serer connections by way of his wife. The country also has a historical bad blood with Mauritania, whose Arab ruling elite often discriminate against sub-Saharan Africans. The two countries fought a war in the late 1980s over grazing rights in the lands adjoining their border, which resulted in the displacement of a quarter million people, mostly black Mauritanians, to Senegal.

The major ethnic groups of the country are the Wolof, Fula, Serer, Soninke, and Mandinka. Some French people reside here as a legacy of colonialism, and recently, Lebanese and Chinese people also immigrated as workforce. 94% of the total population subscribe to Islam. The Islam practiced here is infused with traditions and Sufism. The city of Touba, three hours to the east of Dakar, is the birthplace of the Sufi order of Mouridism, and its Grand Mosque is the site of an annual pilgrimage, attracting over 3 million visitors each year.

A notable natural attraction in the country is Lake Retba, a coastal lake that is colored pink due to a certain strain of algae that inhabit it. The country's former tourist attraction was the Dakar Rally, which the country held from 1979 to 2007 with an end goal at Paris. However, due to security concerns in Mauritania, the rally was moved to South America, and then Saudi Arabia, rendering the rally's name an Artifact Title.


Famous Senegalese:

  • Akon's parents are Toucouleurs from Kaolack. He spent a significant part of his childhood in Senegal and considers it his "hometown."
  • Omar Sy was born in France to a Senegalese father and Mauritanian mother.
  • Estelle is of Senegalese descent on her mother's side.
  • Gabourey Sidibe is of Senegalese descent on her father's side.
  • Issa Rae was born to a Senegalese father, and lived in Senegal for a short time.
  • Anna Diop was born in Senegal but moved to the United States when she was six.

Senegalese Media

Film

Literature


Other works set in Senegal

  • Coup de Torchon, a French film about a colonial policeman in 1938 who snaps and goes on a killing spree.

Related works include:


The Senegalese flaghttps://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/320px_flag_of_senegalsvg.png
The flag uses the pan-African tricolor which includes green, yellow, and red colors, each representing agriculture, wealth, and the blood of fallen fighters, respectively, plus a green star at the center representing humanity. Alternatively, the tricolor may also represent the colors of the three political parties which merged to form the Senegalese Progressive Union, the party from where the first president Senghor came. The flag is nearly identical to the flag of Mali Federation (which the country was a part of), except the latter has a stylized human figure instead of a green star at the center, though it symbolized the same thing.

The Senegalese national anthem

Pincez tous vos koras, frappez les balafons.
Le lion rouge a rugi.
Le dompteur de la brousse
D'un bond s'est élancé,
Dissipant les ténèbres.
Soleil sur nos terreurs, soleil sur notre espoir.
Debout, frères, voici l'Afrique rassemblée

Fibres de mon cœur vert.
Épaule contre épaule, mes plus que frères,
O Sénégalais, debout!
Unissons la mer et les sources, unissons la steppe et la forêt!
Salut Afrique mère.

Sénégal toi le fils de l'écume du lion,
Toi surgi de la nuit au galop des chevaux,
Rend-nous, oh! rends-nous l'honneur de nos ancêtres,
Splendides comme ébène et forts comme le muscle
Nous disons droits - l'épée n'a pas une bavure.

Fibres de mon cœur vert.
Épaule contre épaule, mes plus que frères,
O Sénégalais, debout!
Unissons la mer et les sources, unissons la steppe et la forêt!
Salut Afrique mère.

Sénégal, nous faisons nôtre ton grand dessein :
Rassembler les poussins à l'abri des milans
Pour en faire, de l'est à l'ouest, du nord au sud,
Dressé, un même peuple, un peuple sans couture
Mais un peuple tourné vers tous les vents du monde.

Fibres de mon cœur vert.
Épaule contre épaule, mes plus que frères,
O Sénégalais, debout!
Unissons la mer et les sources, unissons la steppe et la forêt!
Salut Afrique mère.

Sénégal, comme toi, comme tous nos héros,
Nous serons durs sans haine et des deux bras ouverts.
L'épée, nous la mettrons dans la paix du fourreau,
Car le travail sera notre arme et la parole.
Le Bantou est un frère, et l'Arabe et le Blanc.

Fibres de mon cœur vert.
Épaule contre épaule, mes plus que frères,
O Sénégalais, debout!
Unissons la mer et les sources, unissons la steppe et la forêt!
Salut Afrique mère.

Mais que si l'ennemi incendie nos frontières
Nous serons tous dressés et les armes au poing:
Un peuple dans sa foi défiant tous les malheurs,
Les jeunes et les vieux, les hommes et les femmes.
La mort, oui! Nous disons la mort, mais pas la honte.

Fibres de mon cœur vert.
Épaule contre épaule, mes plus que frères,
O Sénégalais, debout!
Unissons la mer et les sources, unissons la steppe et la forêt!
Salut Afrique mère.

Everyone strum your koras, strike the balafons.
The red lion has roared.
The tamer of the savannah
Has leapt forward,
Dispelling the darkness.
Sunlight on our terrors, sunlight on our hope.
Stand up, brothers, here is Africa assembled.

Fibres of my green heart,
Shoulder to shoulder, my more-than-brothers,
O Senegalese, arise!
Join sea and springs, join steppe and forest!
Hail mother Africa, hail mother Africa.

Senegal, you the son of the lion's froth,
Sprung from the night to the gallop of horses,
Give us, oh! give us the honour of our ancestors,
Splendid as ebony and strong as muscle,
We say it clearly – the sword has no flaw.

Fibres of my green heart,
Shoulder to shoulder, my more-than-brothers,
O Senegalese, arise!
Join sea and springs, join steppe and forest!
Hail mother Africa, hail mother Africa.

Senegal, we take on your great work:
To shelter the chicks from the falcons,
To make, from east to west, north to south,
Arisen, one single people, a people without seams,
But a people turned to all the winds of the earth.

Fibres of my green heart,
Shoulder to shoulder, my more-than-brothers,
O Senegalese, arise!
Join sea and springs, join steppe and forest!
Hail mother Africa, hail mother Africa.

Senegal, like you, like all our heroes,
We will be hard without hatred, with two open arms.
The sword in peace-time we will store in the scabbard,
For work and words will be our weapon.
The Bantu is a brother, and so is the Arab and the White.

Fibres of my green heart,
Shoulder to shoulder, my more-than-brothers,
O Senegalese, arise!
Join sea and springs, join steppe and forest!
Hail mother Africa, hail mother Africa.

But if the enemy burns our borders
We will be risen with weapons in our hands:
One people defying all sorrows with its faith,
Young and old, men and women.
Death, yes! We say death, but not shame.

Fibres of my green heart,
Shoulder to shoulder, my more-than-brothers,
O Senegalese, arise!
Join sea and springs, join steppe and forest!
Hail mother Africa, hail mother Africa.

Government
  • Unitary dominant-party presidential republic
    • President: Macky Sall
    • President of the National Assembly: Moustapha Niasse

Miscellaneous
  • Capital and largest city: Dakar
  • Population: 15,854,323
  • Area: 196,712 km² (75,951 sq mi) (86th)
  • Currency: West African CFA franc (CFA) (XOF)
  • ISO-3166-1 Code: SN
  • Country calling code: 221
  • Highest point: Nepen Diakha (648 m/2,126 ft) (176th)
  • Lowest point: Atlantic Ocean (3,646 m/11,962 ft) (-)
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