Thursday, March 1, 2012

A brief history of Senegal

Welcome to Dakar Senegal
Senegal or officially the Republic of Senegal is located in West Africa just south of the Sahara Desert. It owes its name to the Senegal River that borders it to the east and north. Senegal is externally bounded by the Atlantic on the west, Mauritania  to the north, Mali to the east, and Guinea and Guinea Bissau to the south; internally it almost completely surrounds The Gambia.
Senegal covers a land area of almost 76,000 sq mi and has an estimated population of about 13 million. The climate is tropical with two seasons: the dry season and the rainy season.
The population of Dakar is about 2 million people and it is the capital city of Senegal. It is located at the westernmost tip of the country on the Cape Verde Penninsula.
Senegal has a wide variety of ethnic groups and, as in most West African countries, several languages are widely spoken. The Wolof are the largest single ethnic group in Senegal at 45 percent; the Fula and Toucouleur (also known as Halpulaar'en, literally ("Pulaar-speakers") (24 percent) are the second biggest group.
French is the official language and Islam is the predominant religion in the country.
We were interested in visiting Senegal on this trip for several reasons. 
(1) - its close proximity to Guinea Bissau 
(2) - we wanted to see Goreé Island, an historic slave deportation center. Goree Island is rich in history, and is probably the area's favorite and most famous tourist attraction.  One of the most frequently visited sites is the Maison des Esclaves (Slave House), a poignant reminder of Goreé's role as the center of West African slave trade.  Built by the Dutch in 1776, the slave house has been preserved in its original state. We tour Goree Island tomorrow.

No comments: