Senegal[sen′i gôl′, -gäl′]
- river flowing from W Mali northwest into the Atlantic: c. 1,000 mi (1,609 km)
- country in W Africa, on the Atlantic: formerly a territory of French West Africa, it became independent in 1960: 76,124 sq mi (197,160 sq km); pop. 6,982,000; cap. Dakar
A country of western Africa on the Atlantic Ocean. The coast was settled by Wolof and other West Atlantic peoples, while the interior formed part of the medieval empires of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai. Coastal trading posts were established by the Portuguese (mid-1400s) and by the Dutch and the French (1600s). Senegal was awarded to France in 1815 by the Treaty of Paris and became a French colony in 1895 as part of French West Africa, with full independence being won in 1960. Senegal joined with Gambia in the short-lived confederation of Senegambia (1982–1989). Dakar is the capital and the largest city.