Date of establishment: April 4, 1960
- Pre-colonial period: Various African empires and kingdoms existed in what is now Senegal, such as the Ghana, Mali and Songhai empires. These empires played a significant role in trade and culture.
- 16th century: Portuguese and Dutch vessels began to explore the coast of Senegal.
- 17th and 18th centuries: France began to establish trading settlements and fortresses.
- 19th century: France gradually expanded its control over the territory of Senegal and incorporated it into its colonial empire.
- 1960: Senegal gains independence from France on April 4, 1960, becoming a sovereign state with Léopold Sédar Senghor as its first president.
- 1980: Abdou Diouf becomes president of Senegal after Senghor resigns.
- 2000: Abdoulaye Wade was elected president and brought changes to Senegal’s political landscape.
- 2012: Macky Sall was elected President of Senegal.
International abbreviation: SN
Currency: West African CFA franc, XOF
The currency is the common currency for the eight countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU).
Internet domain: .sn
Dialing code: +221
Time zone: GMT 0
Senegal has a long Atlantic coastline that runs along the western side of the country. This is known for its beaches, fishing, and tourist resorts.
It has several major rivers, including the Senegal, which forms the country’s northern border with Mauritania, and the Gambia, which separates Senegal from Gambia.
The interior includes vast areas of the Sahara Desert in the north and savannah in the south. The Senegal is one of the largest rivers in Senegal and originates in Guinea. It forms an important part of the country’s water system and is a key source of water for agriculture and fisheries.
Gorée Island, located near Dakar, is a historically significant site that was once the center of the slave trade. The country lies in the Sahel region.
Highest peak: Nepen Diakha 648 m (2 126 feet) above sea level.
Nepen Diakha is located in the Fouta Djallon mountains, on the border between Senegal and Guinea. Although Nepen Diakha is not very high compared to some other peaks in Africa, it is still the highest point in Senegal and is important for the local ecology.
The Sahel region is located in the north of Senegal and forms a transitional zone between the Sahara in the north and the savannah in the south. This area typically has a dry and hot climate. The rainy season usually lasts from June to October, when heavy rainfall occurs, while the drier season lasts from November to May.
The coastal region in the south of the country has a more humid and tropical climate. There is higher rainfall there and humidity is higher throughout the year.
Fauna and flora:
Lions inhabit Niokolo-Koba National Park and other areas. There are African elephants in the national parks of Senegal, including Niokolo-Koba and Badiar. Nile crocodiles inhabit many rivers and river basins, including the Senegal. The Dorcas gazelle is found in the local savannah and steppes.
Senegal is a paradise for ornithologists. Many species of birds can be seen here, including flamingos, pelicans, eagles, and ostriches.
Acacias are common trees in the savannah, providing shade and food for local animals. Baobabs are the characteristic trees of the Sahel. They have an impressive shape and are used for their fruits.
Mangroves grow along the coast of Senegal and are important for the coastal ecosystem and fisheries. The Senegalese savannah is covered with a variety of grasses and shrubs that provide food and shelter for many wild animals. In desert regions such as the Sahara in the north, a variety of plants can be found that are adapted to extreme conditions, including cacti and succulents.
The main crops grown in Senegal are groundnuts,, rice, maize, millet, sorghum, cassava, cotton and sugar cane. Rice is one of the most important crops and forms a staple food for many people. In some areas, especially the valley of the Senegal River, irrigation is used to improve crop yields. An artificial irrigation system allows farmers to grow crops even during dry periods. Pastoralism is an important branch of agriculture. Cattle, goat, and sheep breeding is widespread, especially in the savannah and steppes, where there is plenty of pasture.
Extraction of raw materials:
Senegal is one of the world’s main producers of phosphates. Phosphate mining is carried out in the Tambacounda area in the east of the country. Phosphates are used in the fertilizer industry. Gold mining has been developed in recent years. The main mining areas are Kédougou and Sabodala.
Salt is extracted in the area of salt lakes and salt pans near the town of Kaolack. Limestone mining is an important activity in the Saint-Louis area in the northwest. Limestone is used in a variety of industrial processes, including cement production. Senegal also has other mineral resources such as marble, granite, and quartz. These materials are used in construction.
The food industry in Senegal includes the processing of foods such as fish, fruits, and vegetables. Fishing is important and Senegal is known for its canned fish and seafood products. The development of infrastructure and construction is an active industry and includes the construction of roads, bridges, buildings, and other construction projects.
In the field of energy, renewable energy sources are being developed, especially solar and wind.
Services and other areas of the economy: transport and tourism
Natural and historical attractions: Dakar, Saint Louis, Gorée Island, the Saloum River Delta, the Bassari area, Niokolo Koba National Park, and beaches.
Senegal has many historical and cultural attractions that attract tourists, including Gorée Island, which served as a center for the slave trade. There is also the medieval city of Saint-Louis with its colonial architecture and various galleries.
The country offers visitors beautiful natural scenery. The coastal areas have beautiful beaches, such as those around Dakar and Sala. The interior of Senegal is made up of savannah, deserts and national parks with abundant wildlife, which attracts safari lovers. Senegal has several resorts that attract tourists, such as Saly, Cap Skirring, and Dakar. These resorts offer a wide variety of hotels, restaurants, and recreational activities.
Senegal is also known for its rich culture and traditions. Visitors can experience traditional music, dance and crafts. Senegal also hosts various festivals, including the Gorée Island Culture Festival and the Dakar World Music Festival.
Waterparks in Senegal:
Form of government: republic
Senegal is a presidential republic. The president is the head of state and is elected for a five-year term and can be re-elected only once. He/she has broad powers, including appointing the prime minister, conducting foreign policy, and forming the government.
Parliament, known as the National Assembly, is the country’s unicameral legislative body. Senegal has an independent judiciary that is separate from the executive and legislature. The judicial system includes the Constitutional Court, the court of appeal and various lower courts.
Capital city: Dakar
It is located on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean on the western side of Senegal. Dakar is the economic, cultural, and political center of Senegal and is also one of the most important cities in the West African region. It was founded by the French in the 17th century as a trading post for slaves and later became an important colonial town. After Senegal’s independence in 1960, Dakar became the country’s capital.
Area: 196 722 km2 (75 955 square miles)
Population: 17 200 000 (2022)
Senegal has diverse ethnic groups, each with its own language, culture, and traditions. The largest ethnic groups are the Wolof, who represent about 35-40% of the population, and the Pular (Fulba) with a similar proportion. Islam is the most widespread religion in the country, and more than 90% of the population is Muslim. Christianity, especially Catholicism and Protestantism, account for a smaller part of the population.
Wolof is the most common language. French is the official language and is used in government institutions, education, and public media. Senegal is trying to invest in the education of its young population and improve the overall literacy and education of the population. The country has several universities and educational institutions.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites: 7
- Gorée (1978) – An island off the coast of Senegal. It is known for its history as a place where slaves were taken from during the slave trade.
- Djoudj (1981) – Djoudj National Park is an important bird sanctuary in the Senegal River Delta and is home to many species of birds, including endangered ones.
- Niokolo-Koba National Park (1981) – One of the largest national parks in Africa, it is known for its diverse wildlife and natural beauty.
- Saint-Louis (2000) – The city of Saint-Louis is the historical center of Senegal and was an important trading city during the colonial era.
- Stone Circles in Senegambia (2006) – These stone circles are archaeological remains from pre-Columbian cultures and are important for studying the history of the region.
- Saloum River Delta (2011) – The Saloum River Delta is a unique ecosystem that includes salt lagoons and mangrove forests, and is home to various species of birds and fish.
- Bassari Region, Bassari, Bedik, and Fula Cultural Landscape (2012) – This region includes the traditional landscapes and cultures of the Bassari, Bedik, and Fula ethnic groups and is an important site for the study of African cultural heritage.
National parks: 8
- Lower Casamance National Park
- Magdalene Islands National Park
- Delta Saloum National Park
- Langue de Barbarie National Park
- Djoudj Bird National Park
- Niokolo-Koba National Park
- Basse Casamance National Park
- Îles de la Madeleine National Park