Senegal, officially known as the Republic of Senegal is one of the countries in West Africa with colourful, energetic and spiritual lifestyle. This informative piece will explore more of the history, traditions, culture and other important aspects of the country.
The name Senegal was coined from “sunu goal” which translates into “these are our boats.” When the Portuguese visited the country through its coast in the 16th century, locals would not communicate with them said “these are our boats” and the Portuguese simply named their land “Senegal.” The European countries that dominated the history of Senegal were France, Portugal, and Britain. The French were already in Senegal right from the 15th century and they dominated the port of St. Louis. They left Senegal in August 1960.
Senegal which is located towards the west coast was a known hub for international slave trade of the 18th and 19th century. Goree Island was a major transit point for the Atlantic slave trade. Senegal was known for three things- ivory, gold, and slaves. The country was very popular for these things in the 17th and 18th centuries and attracted lots of traders, pirates and business travellers. Senegal is very close to France. The country’s national flag adopted the French Tricolour style and looks almost the same with that of the French except for the colours used. In 1982, Senegal merged with Gambia to form “Senegambia”. This was just a diplomatic merger of unification. Nothing changed between the two countries. They both maintained their borders and did not even unify with each other.
Senegal is the only West African country that was not plagued by a military coup. It is one of the most democratic countries in Africa and has many allies in Europe and the Americas. The port city of Dakar is the capital of Senegal and the city has been defined by historians as one of the most liberal and cosmopolitan cities of Africa. The Place de I’Obelisque which is dubbed as the nerve centre of the whole country is located at the central plaza of Dakar. All the special moments in the modern history of Senegal passed through this place.
The literary movement known as “The Negritude” which occurred in the 1930’s–1950’s had Senegal as its focal point. The movement was born in Paris. It’s disciples where notable Senegalese who later were at the forefront in the fight for the decolonization of Africa. The Senegalese national flag has three colours: red, yellow and green/ these colours are the official Pan-African colours and the star in the middle of the flag represents universal unity. In Senegal, tails are attached at the end of taxis, weird right? These tails are made of goat or sheep hairs and supposed to bring good luck.
Senegal is a muslim country. They are very religious and take their sacrifices very serious. Sheep and goats are sought after more than gold during the Tabaski and the Eid al- Adha. During these periods, every family has to sacrifice an animal for the celebrations. In Senegal, it is a tradition for you to take care of your sheep. You can find hordes of sheep having a great time in the warm tropical waters of the Atlantic on Sundays. The Senegalese people don’t joke with their sheep- the most popular TV show in Senegal is based on “The Humble Sheep Khar”. The show has five full seasons and displays the best sheep in Senegal.