The Historical Background
Senegal’;s geography has brought its people into close contact with North Africa and the West and has made Senegal a crossroads where Black African, Islamic, and European civilizations have met, clashed, and blended. Today, Senegal plays an active role on the world scene as a bridge between Africa and the West and an Islamic nation with strong ties to the Muslim world—two roles that Senegalese have been playing for many centuries. While Europe was passing through the Middle Ages, precolonial Senegal had already been organized into chiefdoms and larger political units patterned on the Sudanic state model, which flourished in West Africa during the ascendancy of the mighty Ghana and Mali empires. Tekrur, a densely populated kingdom situated in the Middle Senegal River Valley and founded more than a thousand years ago, was one of the oldest and most prominent of Senegal’;s precolonial African states.