Senegal i/ˌsɛnɨˈɡɔːl, -ˈɡɑːl/ (French: le Sénégal), officially the Republic of Senegal (République du Sénégal, IPA: [ʁepyblik dy seneɡal]), is a country in West Africa. It is the westernmost country in the mainland of the Old World or Eurafrasia and owes its name to the Sénégal River that borders it to the east and north. Senegal covers a land area of almost 197,000 square kilometres (76,000 sq mi), and has an estimated population of about 13 million. The climate is tropical and alternates between a dry season and rainy season. Senegal's capital and largest city is Dakar.
The territory of modern Senegal has been inhabited by various ethnic groups since the prehistoric era. Organized kingdoms emerged around the seventh century, and parts of the country were ruled by prominent regional empires such as the Jolof. The present state of Senegal has its roots in European colonialism, which began during the mid-15th century, when various European powers began competing for trade in the area. The establishment of coastal trading posts gradually gave way to control of the mainland, culminating in French rule of the area by the 19th century, albeit amid much local resistance. Senegal peacefully attained independence from France in 1960, and has since been among the more politically stable countries in Africa.
Senegal's economy is centered mostly on commodities and natural resources. Major industries are fish processing, phosphate mining, fertilizer production, petroleum refining, construction materials, ship construction and repair. Like most African nations, agriculture is a major sector, with Senegal producing several important cash crops, including peanuts, sugarcane, cotton, green beans, tomatoes, melons, and mangoes. Owing to its relative stability, tourism and hospitality are also burgeoning sectors.
A multiethnic nation, Senegal is predominantly Sunni Muslim with Sufi and animist influences. French is the official language, although many native languages are spoken and recognized. Since April 2012 Senegal's president has been Macky Sall.
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