About Wolof & The Senegambia

Wolof ♦ Wolof Language ♦ Wolof People ♦ Senegal ♦ The Gambia


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 Wolof or Wollof may refer to:

  • The Wolof or Jolof Empire, a medieval West African successor of the Mali Empire from the 14th to 16th centuries in present-day Senegal
  • The Wolof or Jolof Kingdom, a rump survival of the earlier empire in the same area from the 16th to the 19th centuries
  • Wolof language, a language spoken in Senegal, Gambia, and Mauritania
  • Wolof people, an ethnic group found in Senegal, Gambia, and Mauritania


Wolof Language

Wolof (/ˈwlɒf/[3]) is a language of Senegalthe Gambia, and Mauritania, and the native language of the Wolof people. Like the neighbouring languages Serer and Fula, it belongs to the Senegambian branch of the Niger–Congo language family. Unlike most other languages of Sub-Saharan Africa, Wolof is not a tonal language.

Wolof originated as the language of the Lebou people.[4][5] It is the most widely spoken language in Senegal, spoken natively by the Wolof people (40% of the population) but also by most other Senegalese as a second language. Wolof dialects vary geographically and between rural and urban areas. “Dakar-Wolof”, for instance, is an urban mixture of Wolof, French, and Arabic.

“Wolof” is the standard spelling and may refer to the Wolof people or to Wolof culture. Variants include the older French Ouolof and the principally Gambian “Wollof”. “Jolof”, “jollof”, &c. now typically refers either to the former Wolof state or to a common West African rice dish. Now-archaic forms include “Volof” and “Olof”.

Wolof words in English are believed to include yum/yummy, from Wolof nyam “to taste”, [6]nyam in Barbadian English [7] meaning to eat (also compare Seychellois nyanmnyanm, also meaning to eat).[8]

1. Geographical distribution2. Classification
3. Orthography and pronunciation4. Grammar5. Literature
6. See also7. References8. Bibliography9. External links


Wolof People

The Wolof (IPA: /ˈwəʊlɒf/[3]) are an ethnic group found in Senegalthe Gambia, and Mauritania.

In Senegal, the Wolof form an ethnic plurality with about 43.3% of the population.[4]

In the Gambia, about 16% of the population are Wolof. Here, they are a minority, where the Mandinka are the plurality with 42% of the population, yet Wolof language and culture have a disproportionate influence because of their prevalence in Banjul, the Gambian capital, where a majority of the population is Wolof.[5]

In Mauritania, about 8% of the population are Wolof. They live largely in the southern coastal region of the country.

1. Orthography2. Historical state3. Culture
4. Notable Wolof people5. Bibliography6. References



Senegal i/ˌsɛnɨˈɡɔːl, ˈɡɑːl/[5][6] (Frenchle Sénégal), officially the Republic of Senegal (République du SénégalIPA: [ʁepyblik dy seneɡal]), is a country in West Africa. It is the westernmost country in the mainland of the Old World or Eurafrasia[7] and owes its name to the Sénégal River that borders it to the east and north. Senegal covers a land area of almost 197,000 square kilometres (76,000 sq mi), and has an estimated population of about 13 million. The climate is tropical with two seasons: the dry season and the rainy season.

Senegal’s capital is Dakar. During the 17th and 18th centuries, numerous trading posts belonging to various European colonial empires were established along the coast. France took control of Senegal in 1677. Senegal was granted independence from France in 1960.

Major industries are fish processing, phosphate mining, fertilizer production, petroleum refining, construction materials, ship construction and repair. Peanutssugarcanecottongreen beans, industrial tomatocherry tomatomelon, and mango are important cash crops.[8]

Most Senegalese are Sufi Muslims or nondenominational Muslims. French is the official language. Since April 2012 Senegal’s president has been Macky Sall.

1. Etymology2. History3. Politics4. Geography5. Economy6. Demographics
7. Culture8. See also9. References10. Further reading11. External links

The Gambia


The Gambia (i/ˈɡæmbiə/; officially the Republic of the Gambia and often called simply Gambia) is a country in West Africa. It is surrounded by Senegal, apart from a short strip of Atlantic coastline at its western end. It is the smallest country on mainland Africa.

The Gambia is situated on either side of the Gambia River, the nation’s namesake, which flows through The Gambia’s centre and empties into the Atlantic Ocean. Its area is 10,689 square kilometres (4,127 sq mi) with a population of 1,882,450 at the 15 April 2013 Census (provisional). Banjul is the Gambian capital, and the largest cities are Serekunda and Brikama.

The Gambia shares historical roots with many other West African nations in the slave trade, which was the key factor in the placing and keeping of a colony on the Gambia River, first by the Portuguese, during which era it was A Gâmbia, and later by the British. In 1965 The Gambia gained independence from the United Kingdom. Since gaining independence, the Gambia has had two leaders – Sir Dawda Jawara, who ruled from 1970 until 1994, when the current leader Yahya Jammeh seized power in a coup as a young army officer.[3]

The Gambia’s economy is dominated by farming, fishing, and tourism. About a third of the population lives below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.[4]

1. History2. Geography3. Politics4. Economy5. Society6. Culture
7. See also8. Footnotes, 9. Further reading10. External links

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