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-15th century) and by the Dutch and the French (17th century). 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 (1981-1989). Dakar is the capital and the largest city. Population: 12,500,000.
Senˌe·ga·leseˈ(-gô-lēzˈ, -lēsˈ, -gə-) adjective & n.