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After World War II, France's relations with some of its territories were marked by major colonial wars, a crisis that resulted in the acceleration of the decolonization process in West Africa.

In 1959, Senegal and the French Sudan decided to merge and form the independent Mali Federation, but it was not a success.

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The words of the national anthem were written by Senghor.

The coat of arms shows a gold lion in profile on a green base, framed by the rays of a gold five-pointed star in the upper left corner.

Both countries then declared individual independence. On April 1960, Senegal was proclaimed an independent nation.

The country's governing political party is the Senegalese Progressive Union (Union Progressiste Sénégalaise, or UPS), which was founded in 1949 and led by Léopold Sédar Senghor. Senegal is a land of traditions, and its people, although heterogenous, share a strong sense of national identity deeply rooted in Thiossane, a word used by the Wolof as well as the Serer (Fulani), that means "history, tradition, and culture." Since the World Festival of Negro Arts was organized at Dakar in 1966, institutions have been created or reoriented toward African traditions, including the Fundamental Institute of Black Africa; the Houses of Youth and Culture; the craft village of Soumbedioune in Dakar, which has become a center for Senegalese sculpture and goldsmithing; the Dynamique Museum; the Daniel Sorano Theater; and the tapestry factory of Thie`s.

The long, narrow Republic of the Gambia is approximately two hundred miles long, surrounded by Senegal's southern region.