Across Widest Africa, Vol 2, by A.H.S. Landor, 1907, p. 488-494:|
...At Matam there were square mud huts with thatched roofs and stockades of wood and thorns in which the natives kept their cattle. The filthy streets were not even straight, and the greatest disorder prevailed in the place.
At Gueal further down we saw, in a picturesque spot upon a height, what had been formerly a British fort, with big rocks of burnt-sienna colour behind it, and a plateau. The fort covered the elbow of the river where it was extremely tortuous, some miles before arriving at Kaiddi. When we first perceived Kaiddi the white fort was prominent against the greyish haze on the distant horizon-line.
Kaiddi was strongly protected, as there was a main route from there to Mauritania. Considerable trouble was being given to the French by the natives at the time of my visit, and a Moorish attack was feared. The post stood on a height. On the river bank was to be seen the wreck of a steamer. Big steamers can travel up the Senegal as far as Kayes [in Mali] during the high flood.
The river was tortuous and narrow between Kaiddi and Salde, and not more than seventy to eighty yards wide. Tobacco, cotton and maize were raised in quantities. Villages were scattered here and there, and as we went along boys ran along the banks calling out for empty bottles, which were in great demand in this country.
The climate was damp and the days gloomy, with dark, heavy, grey clouds overhead as we were going towards the sea...
Our next excitement was when we ran down a canoe during the night.
The cold seemed intense to us as we were approaching the coast, a piercing wind making the French shiver all over. It was amusing to see them wrapped in heavy overcoats with collars turned up.
At Podor, where we arrived on December 22nd, I changed from the monoroue Sikasso [a stern-wheel steamer] to a larger steamer, the Borgnis Desordh, an excellently-managed boat, extremely comfortable—almost luxurious. In this boat, travelling at a good speed, I arrived at St. Louis at the mouth of the Senegal, on the 16th degree of lat. N., two days later.
St. Louis, like all the larger stations upon the Senegal, had a strong Spanish look about it. It was a charming little town, with neat streets lined with houses and verandahs in regular Spanish colonial style.
Beautiful waterworks had been made near the city, at Khor, three kilometres away, where two engines worked intermittently under a well-constructed stone shed. There were four filters and two reservoirs, the water being conveyed by an iron tube from Makhana, eighteen kilometres from St. Louis. Fresh water filled a channel during the rainy season, and when at its highest the outlet was closed so as to prevent sea-water coming in. It then formed a capacious reservoir, although the evaporation, owing to the heat of the sun and the easterly winds, was considerable, not less than seven millimetres during the dry season.
Governor Guy, of the Senegal, and Monsieur Ponty, the Governor of the High Senegal and Niger, whom I had the pleasure of meeting here, as well as Monsieur Repiquet, showed me unbounded civility and furnished me with valuable information about that colony, which I propose to use in a separate work. It was a pleasure to see on what sensible lines the colony was conducted, and how well the natives were kept in hand...
I was in St. Louis at Christmas and on New Year's Day. The whole native town (including half-castes), all christianized in that region, were parading the streets from early morning till late at night, dragging paper ships, towers and fantastic lanterns. Dressed up in their best clothes, they strolled about lazily, dragging their feet, and chanting. Those who were not pulling the cart on which paper transparencies were displayed carried a lantern or a lighted candle in their hands. Days and days were thus occupied...
As St. Louis was not absolutely the most westerly point of Africa, I continued my journey to Cape Verde [Cap-Vert] by the excellent little coast railway between St. Louis and Dakar. Dakar is a most important point, being the capital of the entire French Sudan. A magnificent palace is being built for the Governor at the cost of a great many millions. Perhaps to a man coming from Central Africa it appeared outwardly more like a magnificent opera-house than a suitable colonial residence, but on visiting the inside one could not help being impressed by the princely arrangements which had been made in the future home of the Governor.
More important than this, however, were the beautiful harbour works which were made at that place by the French and which rendered Dakar a safe and deep anchorage. Long artificial piers projected into the sea, and elaborate docks on the latest and most scientific principles were being constructed.
When I visited Dakar it appeared like a gigantic workshop, as all the works were progressing well, but were not finished. In a few years, undoubtedly, Dakar will be the finest city on the west coast of Africa. A railway will branch off from Thies, near Dakar, towards the interior, and I understand that there is a project of building a line between Thies and Kayes. This would avoid the uncertain navigation of the Senegal river, and would shorten the distance to Timbuctu [Timbuktu, Mali] by many days, besides opening up the rich country between.
Telegraphic Lines In Use In West African French Possessions.
1. Saint Louis—Dakar.
2. Dakar—Ambidédi, via Joal, Kaolakh, Maka—Kolibentan.
4. Dakar—Carabone, via Kaolakh, Maka—Kolibentan and Sedhian.
via Konakry Maka—Kolibentan—Boké—Boffa and Dubreka.
6. Dakar—Timbuctu, via Kayes—Bamako—Sokoto and Niafunké.
7. Badoumbé to Sokoto, via Nioro and Goumbou.
8. Segu—Niamey, via San—Bandiagara and Don.
9. San—Driapaga, via Koury—Anagadougou and Fada—N'Gourna.
10. Sikasso and Bobo—Dioudassou.
12. Konakry—Kita, via Kindia—Timbo—Kouroussa—Kam-Kan and Sigouri.
15. Konakry—Beyla, via Kindra Farama and Kissidougou.
17. Bingerville—Bobo—Diubasso, via Koniadiokofi or Boudoukou.
19. Porto-Novo—Niamey, via Zagnadado—Savalou—Djougou and Say.
20. Porto-Novo—Say, via Zagnado—Savadou—Sarakou—Kandi.
A projected line from Niamey to Zinder is under consideration.
The Congo net comprises:
1. A line from Libreville to Brazzaville, via Cap Lopez Serté—
Cama—Mayoumba—Loango—Loudima—Madingou and Comba.
2. Libreville to N'Djoé.
3. Loango to Massabé.
4. Sub-fluvial cable from Brazzaville to Kuichassa.
5. A line from Liranga to Desbordeville, which will eventually extend from
Brazzaville to Fort Archambault, via Bangui—Fort Possel and Fort
I have not sufficient space in this work to deal with the commerce and general development of this region. I will merely take the reader the few kilometres which separate Dakar from Cape Verde, where, in the company of Monsieur Belondrade, who was in charge, I inspected the "Phare des Mamelles," the light being three hundred and forty feet above the sea and visible thirty-two geographical miles at sea. The lighthouse was provided with two French keepers and two natives, and had a semaphoric signalling station. It gave flashes every thirty seconds. The Mamelles were ten kilometres west of Dakar.
Five kilometres further towards the most westerly angle forming the last point of Africa in the Atlantic Ocean was the phare of the Almadies, a small lighthouse with a fixed light, seventy-two feet above the sea, showing red flashes every thirty seconds, and only visible nine miles at sea.
The rocks beyond Cape Verde extended for two miles and a half just under the surface of the water. I climbed on to the very last rock of Cape Verde—and nearly slipped into the sea—so that there should be no mistake about my having reached the most westerly point of Africa. Thus ended at this place, on January 5th, 1907, the longest trans-African journey which has ever been taken from east to west.
At this point—I might as well tell what a sober man I had been—I drank in the company of the French gentleman who accompanied me the only two bottles of champagne which I had carried the entire way across Africa. Except the cherries in rum, with our friend with yellow fever in the train, this was the only stimulant I had taken during the last twelve months, and it was done to drink the success of the journey, and not because I needed it.
The entire journey from Djibuti [Djibouti], where I had started on January 6th, 1906, to this place had taken 364 days, the distance covered being no less than 8,500 miles. I had arrived in flourishing health, and although glad to return to Europe and to my friends, I was indeed sorry that so delightful a journey had ended.
The New York Times, August 13, 1895:|
How to Get a Bath in Senegal
From the London Daily News.
A young French explorer, M. Gaston Donnet, contributes to the Revue Bleue some vivid descriptions of the French colony of Senegal. The following happened at Saint Louis, the capital, a dull, unprogressive French colonial town, eaten up with red tape and officialism. M. Donnet tells us that he and a fellow traveler wanted to take a bath. There is no establishment in the capital of Senegal. Rumor had it that it was possible to hire baths at the hospital. "We asked," he says, "one of the servants there for a bath."
"Certainly; take seats. Your names, surnames, and birthplace?"
"But we only want a bath."
"Exactly. What is your name, and where and when were you born, and are you Government servants, soldiers, or officers? No; well, the rules do not provide for this. Wait a minute. I will read them over again. Yes, here is your case. You must first make out on stamped paper an application to the Governor of the colony. After favorable notice from the Governor you send another application to the chief colonial doctor, who will send for you and will examine you."
"But we are not ill."
"It is the rule. Having examined you, the doctor will give you two non-commissioned officer's bath tickets, to be delivered to the assistant doctor."
"Why non-commissioned officers' bath?"
"Mon Dieu! In our accounts we recognize only two categories of persons, officers and civil servants, the latter taking rank with officers or petty officers. You are not official at all. If officers were to find you in the baths, they would probably make a row."
"How long will all these formalities take?"
"Oh! nothing at all. Two or three days, provided that your application is approved at Government House."
see also: Maruitania News - Mali - The Gambia - Guinea|
All of Senegal is
one time zone at GMT,
with no Daylight Savings time.
The French colonies of Senegal and the French Sudan were merged in 1959 and granted their independence as the Mali Federation in 1960. The union broke up after only a few months.
Senegal joined with The Gambia to form the nominal confederation of Senegambia in 1982, but the envisaged integration of the two countries was never carried out, and the union was dissolved in 1989.
The Movement of Democratic Forces in the Casamance (MFDC) has led a low-level separatist insurgency in southern Senegal since the 1980s, and several peace deals have failed to resolve the conflict. Nevertheless, Senegal remains one of the most stable democracies in Africa.
Senegal was ruled by a Socialist Party for 40 years until current President Abdoulaye WADE was elected in 2000. He was reelected in February 2007, but has amended Senegal's constitution over a dozen times to increase executive power and weaken the opposition, part of the President's increasingly autocratic governing style.
Senegal has a long history of participating in international peacekeeping and regional mediation.
CIA World Factbook: Senegal
Area of Senegal:
196,190 sq km
slightly smaller than South Dakota
Population of Senegal:
July 2009 estimate
Languages of Senegal:
Wolof, Pulaar, Jola, Mandinka
Free Books on Senegal (.pdfs)
The Expiring Continent Mitchinson 1881
Narrative of a Voyage to Senegal in 1816 Savigny 1818
A Voyage to Senegal Durand 1806
Travels in Africa... 1785, 1786, & 1787 v1 Golbéry 1802
A Voyage to Senegal Adanson 1759
A Voyage to the Coast of Africa, in 1758 Lindsay 1759
Online Book Search Engines
Senegal Reference Articles and Links
Wikipedia: Senegal - History of Senegal
LOC: Senegal profile, .pdf
BBC Country Profile: Senegal
US State Department: Senegal Profile
Maps of Senegal
Historic Maps of Africa
1885 Map of Africa
Embassy of the Republic of Senegal
2112 Wyoming Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20008
Telephone: (202) 234-0540
Fax: (202) 332-6315
Governments on the WWW links
US State Dept Senegal Travel
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Sud Online in French
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ABYZ: Senegal News Links
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