1891-1918 History of West Africa 1939-1960

Senegal, 1919-1939

Territory : Mauritania separated from Senegal in 1920. Dakar remained seat of administration of French West Africa.

Economy : the costs caused by World War I created a shortage of capital, which affected the French colonies. The Interbellum was a period of stagnation, the railway system barely expanded.
The Great Depression, in the 1930es provided further cause for the lack of investment. The growing population of Senegal provided the government with rising revenue from the head tax.
In 1931, the Colonial Exposition was held in Vincennes (France), an attempt to attract attention on the products offered by the colonies.
The state ontinued to require 'compulsory labour', which even was extended from originally 7 days per year to twelve days per year. This work force usually was employed in road construction or similar projects.

Statistical Data : Populaton in 1936 1,697,671; of Dakar 92,634. In 1934, Senegal had a combined length of 1688 km of railroad tracks, 2735 km of telegraph lines, 3598 km of telephone cables, 877 registered telephones. The Senegalese budget was balanced, in 1936 at 88,485,000 Francs.

Senegalese Politics : since 1914, Blaise Diagne represented the Senegal in France's parliament - the first African to do so. In 1914 he founded the Republican Socialist Party, later renamed Party of the Young Senegalese. The party gazette was 'La Democratie'. The political program included the demand for a colonial council, the establishment of further institutions of higher education, compensations to Senegalese for confiscated lands, official recognition of Muslim legal tradition.
Senegal continued to be split in two spheres - the Quatre Communes, the inhabitants of which enjoyed full French citizenship and the right to vote, and the remainder of Senegal, the population of which were treated as subjects with limited rights. The population of the Quatre Communes was, to a much greater extent than the remainder of Senegal, affected by assimilation into French culture. The administration of Senegal and French West Africa, institutions of higher learning etc. were located in the Quatre Communes.

Senegal, History of, from Infoplease
Timeline, from Senegal Online
REFERENCE J.A. Ballard, The Colonial Phase in French West Africa, pp.380-404, in J.F. Ade Ajayi and Ian Espie (ed.), A Thousand Years of West African History, Ibadan UP (1965) 1967 [G]
M'Baye Gueye and A. Adu Boahen, African initiatives and resistance in West Africa, 1880-1914, pp. 114-148, in : A. Adu Boahen (ed.), Africa under Colonial Domination 1880-1935, Vol.VII of UNESCO General History of Africa, Oxford : Heinemann 1985 [G]
A. Adu Boahen, Politics and Nationalism in West Africa, 1919-1935, pp. 624-647 (Senegal pp.643-646), in : A. Adu Boahen (ed.), Africa under Colonial Domination 1880-1935, Vol.VII of UNESCO General History of Africa, Oxford : Heinemann 1985 [G]
Hübner's Weltstatistik, 73rd edition, edited by Ernst Rösner, Wien 1939; in German [G]
Article : French West Africa and the Sahara - Senegal, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1919 pp.871-872, 1924 pp.920-921, 1925 pp.931-933, 1926 pp.904-905, 1928 pp.920-921, 1929 pp.908-909, 1932 pp.910-912, 1937 pp.949-959 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2001, last revised on August 23rd 2007

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