Kate Monk's Onomastikon

(Dictionary of Names)


Capital : Dakar

Size: 76 000 sq m Popn: 7 736 000


Portugal held a monopoly of trade with the coastal tribes for a century after one of her navigators 'discovered' Senegal in the C15th. In the second half of the C17th the French conquered it, lost it to the British in the Napoleonic wars and had it restored 1814. It was given a French governor in 1854, becoming part of French West Africa in 1895 anda territory in 1902. Senegalese society was highly politicised by 1914 with French citizenship demanded and won after 1935, thus conferring the right to vote. Léopold Sédar Senghor and Lamine Guéye sat as the country's representatives in Paris.

After a series of political differences and a union with French Sudan, independence came in 1960 under Senghor as president and Mamadou Dia as Prime Minister. Most opposition parties were banned in 1966 in favour of the ruling Senegalese Progressive Union (UPS) and riots took place in Dakar. Senghor, who had also been prime minister from 1962-70 was re-elected in 1978 despited the registration of two opposition parties. He retired in 1980 and was succeeded by Prime Minister Abdou Diouf, who allowed more oppositon parties to develop. The UPS, now known as the Senegalese Socialist Party (PS) dominated the elections of 1983 and the politically inflexible Diouf was re-elected. He began to take firmer control of the PS and the government and abolished the post of prime minister and despite opposition.

In 1980, Senegal sent troops help protect Gambia against Libyan invasion and the two countries agreed to a merger as Senegambia, which lasted, not particularly successfully, from 1982-9. Border disputes with Mauritania and quarrels between it and Senegal continued. In 1991, constitutional changes were proposed and diplomatic relations with Mauritania were restored in April 1992.

40% of the population is Wolof and Serer, with Tukulor, Fulani Diola and Malinke also represented. French is the official language but Wolof is the main spoken language. 85% follow Islam, 10% are Christian and some traditional beliefs remain.

Senegalese Names


Abdou Babukar Cheikh Hachim Hamadou Ibou
Idrissa Jawara Lat Malik Musa Ndiaye
Oumar Sédar Senghor Youssou    


Aida Aminata Arida Binata Jaineba Jama
Mariama Ramatulai        


Barro-Diene Diagana Diop Dior Diouf Faye
Loum Mbaye Ndiaye Senghor Toure  

This collection of names was compiled by Kate Monk and is ©1997, Kate Monk.

Copies may be made for personal use only.

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