Ile de Gorée (Gorée Island) is reached by a little ferry from the Dakar mainland. It’s today probably Senegal’s major tourist site. It’s a small island with only some 1000 inhabitants, but it has a long history, being one of the first European African settlements. The Portuguese were the first (1444) and there were several switches between Portuguese, Dutch and British domination, until the island became French in 1677. With a few short interruptions it remained French until 1960, when Senegal became independent.
You can of course see the remains of important defense architecture.
Dakar on the mainland was founded as late as 1857 and the Gorée Island was until the end of the 19th century a very active place with a much higher population than today, busy with trades of all kinds, including slaves. Despite the fact that the island has a “House of Slaves” which serves as a memorial, the slave trade seems to have been comparatively rather limited here, much more important in the north and south of Senegal, before being abolished by the French in the beginning of the 19th century. It’s impressive to see the small “no-return” gate opening to the ocean.
But today, the island, where no cars can be found, is very idyllic.
Some illustrations of the major Senegal sports, wrestling and soccer.