Senegal is located on the west of Africa having Mauritania, Mali, Guinea, and Guinea Bissau as its border countries. Senegal has a population of about 16 million people with Dakar being its capital. Senegal is one of the countries in Africa that has enjoyed political stability, especially during power handovers for it has never engaged in any kind of war, not to mention coups like other African countries. But let’s take it back a little and understand the events that set precedent to the present day Senegal.
In the 16th century, Senegal was reigned by two notable empires that is the Takrur and the Jolof empires before the European came in via Atlantic Ocean looking for slaves. Senegal was colonized by the French and so it was made the administrative capital of the French West Africa. Being referred as the gateway to Africa, colonialists would come through Senegal in hunt for slaves and courtesy of that trade, an Island named Goree was famous for hosting the slavery business and to date it remains a historic site. The slaves were stocked in Goree island before being ferried to European countries for labor.
Senegal gained its independence on the 20th of June 1960 as Leopold Sedar Sengor became Senegal’s first President. Sengor was considered as one of the intellectuals in the 20th century thanks to his education that he started from Senegal then went to France to further it. He was a member of a commission responsible for drafting the 5th Republic’s constitution. Sengor is attributed for authoring the Senegalese national anthem among other books that are greatly treasured in Senegal. Sengor led Senegal up to 1981 when he decided to resign and handed over power to Abdou Diouf who led up to 2000. Abdolouaye Wade of the Senegalese democratic party which was the opposition at that time, was elected President. Wade served for two terms and in 2012 he was succeeded by Macky Sall who is the commander in chief to date. The power change over witnessed from 1960 to date simply shows how Senegal has had political stability in their boundaries for quite a long time.
Being a colony of France, French is their national language as Wolof is the Lingua Franka. The Wolof are the largest single ethnic group in Senegal at 43%. Islam is the predominant religion practiced by almost 90% of the residents. Senegalese value hospitality especially to its tourist and that is the reason as to why it is referred to as “Teranga”, it is a Wolof word which means hospitality.
Senegalese value and enjoy two types of sport, that is wrestling and football. Wrestling is largely practiced by people referred to as “Serer”. Senegal is a power- house when it comes to football for it has been dominating the Africa Cup of Nations (CAF) and even some years back reached the quarters of the World Cup. Senegal boasts of some international players including Sadio Mane who plays for Liverpool and Kalidou Koulibaly who plays for Napoli in Italy. Senegal is also famous for hosting Safari rallies like the Dakar rally.
And just to mention, Senegal and Gambia was once a country together and it was called “Senegambia Confederation”, that was before they parted ways and each became a state on its own.