Saint-Louis, Senegal

From Academic Kids

Saint-Louis or Saint-Louis du Sénégal (locally called Ndar in the Wolof language) is a city (pop. ~180,000) in the northwest of Senegal near the mouth of the Senegal River. It is the capital of the Saint-Louis Region.

Founded on St-Louis Island, the city has long spread on to the Langue de Barbarie spit, home to the districts of Ndar Tout and Guet Ndar, right up against the Mauritanian border at the north end and home to the fishing port and main market. The city has also spread on to the mainland, where the district of Sor is home to the seldom used train station.

Contents

History

The city was founded in 1659 by France as a centre for slave and gum arabic trading. After the French Revolution, its population was essentially made French citizens, and the city gained further importance as the French conquered what is now Senegal and Mauritania, becoming capital of the territories until 1958. Attractions on the island include the St-Louis Palace of Justice and a museum.

Sights and features

There is a large Roman Catholic Cathedral, a large new mosque, and numerous other churches and mosques. The architectural style of the city is old French colonial. At the centre of town is a sandy square, Parc Faidherbe, named for the French governor Louis Faidherbe. He bought and had transported from Germany the long steel bridge that joins the Saint-Louis island to the mainland at Sor; his statue is in the park. There are a number of colonial-era hotels, including the Hotel de la Poste that was made famous when Saint-Louis was a crucial station in the earliest transatlantic air trade. The historic airport is at Dakar-Bango on the mainland.

The centre of the town is concentrated on the island of St. Louis, in the Senegal River, and the sprawl continues in both directions. The north of the city has a long and sparse beach which terminates at a closed border with Mauritania. The main suburbs include Sor and Pikine. There is a fishing community on the Atlantic shore on the Langue de Barbarie peninsula.

Nearby tourist attractions include the Parc des oiseaux du Djoudj famous for its birds, the Langue de Barbarie and other beaches, the Kingdom of Biffeche with its white king, the colonial French Usines de Mbakhana, the palace of Baron Roger at Richard-Toll, the Maka-Diama dam, and various hunting lodges on the south side of the Senegal River.

For tourists, Saint-Louis remains the most characteristically French colonial destination in West Africa along with Gorée Island.

Economy

Economically, since 1902 when it was supplanted by Dakar, the city has declined in importance. The economy today is based mainly on foreign aid, fishing and irrigated alluvial agriculture, and the surrounding higher areas are dominated by the pastoral practices of the Peulh people.

Culture

Saint-Louis has been a major cultural center of the Franco-Wolof society and culture, and it has a long history as the interface between France and the Kingdom of Waalo and the rest of far West Africa.

A university, the Universite Gaston-Berger lies east of town, while the city is twinned with Lille, France. Famous people from St-Louis include the boxer Mbarick Fall, aka Battling Siki, and the soccer player El-Hadj Diouf.

External link

fr:Saint-Louis (Sénégal)

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