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Friday 15th December
Senegal Facts
The highest point in Senegal is near Nepen Diakha (581 m).

Dakar, the capital, is one of the largest seaports in West Africa.

The Stone Circles of Senegambia (Senegal and Gambia) consist of four large groups of stone circles and burial mounds along the River Gambia. This World Heritage site, dating back over fifteen hundred years, is part of a larger megalithic zone in the region.

Long before the arrival of Europeans, Senegal was part of the three great West African empires: the "Ghana" Empire, the Mali Empire, and the Songhai Empire.

The Portuguese arrived in Senegal in the 1440s.

Towards the end of the sixteenth century the Dutch established a slave port on the island of Goree (now a World Heritage site).

Saint-Louis, also on the World Heritage list, was founded as a French slave port in 1659.

During the Seven Years' War (1756-63) the British formed the Colony of Senegambia. French property in Senegal was eventually returned to France.

Slave trading by the French was abolished in 1817 but slavery continued in the French colonies for some years.

Victor Schoelcher, the French abolitionist, contributed to the end of slavery in the French colonies.

In 1871 the French offered to exchange the Ivory Coast with the British for Gambia (almost an enclave of Senegal).

Senegal became part of French West Africa. (French West Africa was formed in 1895. The Federation included Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea (French Guinea), Mali (French Sudan) and Senegal. Later members were Benin (Dahomey), Burkina Faso (Upper Volta) Mauritania and Niger. The Federation ended in 1958).

French West Africa was governed from Senegal, first from Saint-Louis, then from Dakar.

Senegal became part of the French Union in 1946, and an autonomous republic within the French Community in 1958.

Senegal achieved independence from France in 1960.

For a brief period in 1959-60 Senegal was part of the Mali Federation.

Leopold Senghor, the scholar and poet, was elected President of Senegal in 1960.

Between 1982 and 1989 The Gambia and Senegal formed the Federation of Senegambia.

In September 2002 the [Senegalese] Joola ferry capsized off the Gambian coast killing over one thousand eight hundred passengers.

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