Dakar

(Image source: ljubar, Flickr)

City introduction
 

Dakar is the capital and largest city of Senegal. It is located on the Cap-Vert peninsula on the Atlantic coast. Dakar is a major administrative center, home to the Senegal National Assembly and the Presidential Palace.



History
 

In 1444, the Portuguese reached the Bay of Dakar, The Portuguese eventually founded a settlement on the island of Gorée (then known as the island of Bezeguiche or Palma), which by 1536, they began to use as a base for the export of slaves.
 

Dakar itself was split off from Gorée as a separate commune in 1887. The citizens of the city elected their own mayor and municipal council and helped send an elected representative to the National Assembly in Paris. Dakar replaced Saint-Louis as the capital of French West Africa in 1902. A second major railroad, the Dakar-Niger built from 1906–1923, linked Dakar to Bamako and consolidated the city's position at the head of France's West African empire. In 1929, the commune of Gorée Island, now with only a few hundred inhabitants, was merged into Dakar.
 

Dakar was the capital of the short-lived Mali Federation from 1959 to 1960, after which it became the capital of Senegal. The poet, philosopher and first President of Senegal, Léopold Sédar Senghor, tried to transform Dakar into the "Sub-Saharan African Athens," as his vision was for it.
 

Beginning in 1978 and until 2007, Dakar was frequently the ending point of the Dakar Rally.