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Casamance and its stake in Senegal

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Senegal is one of the most advanced nations in Western Africa. Located in the Atlantic Ocean, with the confluence of Europe, Africa and the Americas, it is surrounded by a crossroad of maritime and air main roads. This country is a confluence of different ethnic groups. As a result of this unique mix of cultures, there have been several instabilities in the country. The southern part of Senegal, particularly Casamance as it is called, has been undergoing a conflict for independence conflict since 1980. In this document, we highlight the reasons for this conflict and consequences of the same.

Dakar, the capital of Senegal, is a peninsula in the far West. Senegal has many ethnic groups. The most numerous are the Wolof (43.3%), followed by the Fulani (23.8%), the Serer (14.7%), Jola (3.7%) and the Mandingo (3%). These groups have greatly influenced the history of the sub-region and country by their geographical distribution.

Covering an area of 196 722 km, Senegal, is bounded on the north by Mauritania, east by Mali, south by Guinea and Guinea Bissau, west of the Gambia and the Atlantic Ocean on a frontage of 500 km.

The history of Casamance began in the 14th century when the Mandingo was hunting the Diola, who had settled there, from the empire of Mali. In the 15th century, the Portuguese discovered Cape Verde and in the 17th century they created the counter from Ziguinchor to the slave trade. In 1836, the French settled in Carabane and in 1838 they founded the counter Sedhiou. The Diola protested in 1857 by attacking Carabane.

In 1888, the French bought the Portuguese and Ziguinchor. From 1888 to 1914, large corporations started moving in, attracted by the access to the sea. In 1907, Ziguinchor became the capital of the Lower Casamance. The Diola resistance continued until 1914 and never completely ended.

Aline Sitoe Diatta, a rebel, is the symbol of the resistance to French Colonialism and she was deported to Timbuktu. Nicknamed the "Joan of Arc" of Africa because she preached disobedience (refusal to pay taxes in cash or in kind, rejection of the peanut crop), she urged its people onto the path of independence. Her message of peace, love and respect for the traditions affected all ethnic groups whatever their religion.

The conflict of the Casamance independence is still relevant. In the first part of this document, there is a chronological presentation of the highlights before the reasons for the crisis are explained. In the second part, the stakes of the conflict will be discussed.

Tags: Senegal, Casamance independence, Aline Sitoe Diatta, French colonialism

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