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Brokers of ChangeAtlantic Commerce and Cultures in Pre-Colonial Western Africa$
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Toby Green

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265208

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265208.001.0001

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The French Discovery of Senegal: Premises for a Policy of Selective Assimilation

The French Discovery of Senegal: Premises for a Policy of Selective Assimilation

(p.148) (p.149) 6 The French Discovery of Senegal: Premises for a Policy of Selective Assimilation
Brokers of Change


British Academy

This chapter addresses French presence in Senegal, during the first colonisation, the so-called mercantile, and its future implications, notably at the beginning of the implementation of the French colonial system under Louis Faidherbe. For about two centuries before the appointment of the latter as governor in 1854, this country somewhat served as a lab of frenchness, a concept that goes beyond francophony to imply ‘a way of being and to think oneself as French’. However, with the previous integration of the country to the trans-Saharan world, it turned out to be some kind of synthesis of cultural features borrowed from both the Western and the Eastern civilizations and melted with the African cultural background. So it is not surprising that a country credited for being 95 percent Muslim celebrates all the Catholic holidays more so than France today.

Keywords:   colonisation, trans-Saharan trade, Trans-Atlantic trade, frenchness, senegalisms, Islam, Christianity, signares, rootedness, openness

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