Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Dakar is the capital city of Senegal, located on the Cape Verde Peninsula, on the country's Atlantic coast. Its position, on the western edge of Africa (it is, in fact, the westernmost African city), is an advantageous departure point for trans-Atlantic and European trade; this fact aided its growth into a major regional port.
In 2005 the population of the metropolitan area is estimated at 2.4 million people, of whom 1 million live in the city of Dakar proper.
Dakar is a major administrative centre, home to the Senegal National Assembly and Senegal Presidential Palace .
The city of Dakar formed around a French fort. It was founded in 1857 after residents moved from the nearby island of Gorée. It grew as a port and around a railway to Saint-Louis, opened in 1885 but now only used for special excursions. The city later became a naval base, and replaced Saint-Louis as the capital of French West Africa in 1902. It was the capital of the short-lived Mali Federation from 1959 to 1960, after which it became the capital of Senegal.
From the 16th to the 19th centuries, Goreé and later Dakar were major centers of the Atlantic slave trade. More enslaved Africans were shipped through Dakar to the Western Hemisphere (including South America, the American colonies, and the Caribbean) than through any other single port in Africa. The Fort D'Estrees on Gorée Island, where slaves were held, auctioned, and packed onto ships, was restored by the Senegalese government in the 20th century and transformed into a museum. French West Africa had its headquarters here when it was founded, in 1862.
The town is also a port and is home to the Leopold Sedar Senghor International Airport .
- dakarville.sn - City of Dakar official website.
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