In 1854, General Louis Faidherbe, a colonial administrator, was given the assignment of pacifying the continuously battling kingdoms along the Senegal River.He created the Tirailleurs Senegalais (corps of Senegalese riflemen), an army of local volunteers under French commanders who achieved international fame during World War II.
The long, narrow Republic of the Gambia is approximately two hundred miles long, surrounded by Senegal's southern region.
Agriculture is based largely on the cultivation of peanuts, millet, and sorghum.
In 1444, the Portuguese turned the island of Gorée into a graveyard for sailors and established a profitable trade in slaves and gold along the coast of Senegal.
Gradually, other European merchants followed, including the French, who established their first settlements in 1638 in the Senegal River, on the island of Saint-Louis, which became the base of all French activity and expansion in West Africa.
Although French is the official language and the main language of instruction in the schools, even the most educated people are far from being "black Frenchmen" culturally.