Senegal profile - Timeline

  • 23 March 2016
  • From the section Africa

A chronology of key events:

8th century - Present-day Senegal is part of the Kingdom of Ghana.

11th century - Tukulor people occupy lower Senegal valley.

12-14th centuries - Rise of the Jolof empire.

1440s - Portuguese traders reach Senegal river estuary.

1588 - Dutch establish slave port on island of Goree.

1659 - French found St-Louis at the mouth of the Senegal river; it becomes a key slave-trading port.

1677 - French take over island of Goree from the Dutch.

1756-63 - Seven Years' War: Britain takes over French posts in Senegal, forms colony of Senegambia. France regains its holdings during American Revolutionary War of 1775-83.

1816 - Britain returns French holdings captured during Napoleonic Wars.

Late 1800s - France extends its influence, gains control of all the territory of Senegal.

1895 - Senegal becomes part of French West Africa.

1914 - Blaise Diagne elected as Senegal's first African deputy to French parliament.

1946 - Senegal becomes part of the French Union.

1956 - National Assembly established.

1958 - Becomes an autonomous republic, as part of the French Community.


1960 June - Senegal becomes independent, as part of Mali Federation.

1960 August - Senegal pulls out of Mali Federation, becomes separate republic with Leopold Senghor as president.

1962 - Attempted coup led by Prime Minister Mamadou Dia. Dia is imprisoned until 1974.

1963 - First constitution drawn-up.

1966 - Senghor's Senegalese Progressive Union becomes country's sole political party.

1978 - Three-party political system introduced.

1981 - Leopold Senghor steps down; Abdou Diouf becomes president in 1981.

1982 - Senegambian Confederation formed; Senegal and neighbouring Gambia aim to combine military and security forces.

1982 - Separatists in southern province of Casamance form Casamance Movement of Democratic Forces (MFDC).

1988 - Diouf re-elected.

1989 - Senegambian Confederation dissolved.

Dispute over grazing rights in southern Mauritania sparks violent unrest in Senegal and Mauritania.

1992 - Diplomatic relations with Mauritania restored.

1993 - Diouf re-elected for third term

Political change

2000 March - Opposition leader Abdoulaye Wade wins second round of presidential elections, ending 40 years of Socialist Party rule.

2001 January - Voters back new constitution which shortens presidential term, limits holder to two terms, and gives president power to dissolve parliament.

2001 March - Government signs peace accord with separatist rebels in Casamance. But there is little follow-up as separatists go through splits and leadership changes.

2001 April - Abdoulaye Wade's Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS) wins an overwhelming majority in parliamentary elections.

2001 December - Leopold Senghor, founding father of Senegal, dies aged 95.

2002 September - Joola ferry disaster: 1,863 passengers are killed when the Senegalese vessel capsizes off the Gambian coast.

2002 November - President Wade sacks the prime minister and the rest of the government; the move is said to be linked to the handling of the Joola ferry disaster.

2004 December - Casamance Movement of Democratic Forces (MFDC) and government sign pact aimed at ending secessionist struggle in province of Casamance.

2005 July - Former PM Idrissa Seck is charged with undermining state security, sparking clashes between his supporters and police. He is jailed for a time, but is released in February 2006 after the charge is dropped.

Tariff row

2005 October - Dispute with neighbouring Gambia over ferry tariffs on the border leads to a transport blockade. The economies of both countries suffer. Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo brokers talks to resolve the issue.

2006 August - The army launches an offensive against rebels from a faction of the Casamance Movement of Democratic Forces (MFDC).

Senegal and Spain agree to jointly patrol the Senegalese coast to curb the exodus of illegal migrants heading for Europe. Senegal is a favourite starting point for migrants setting off in rickety boats.

2006 December - Spain and Senegal agree a series of measures to curb illegal migration to the Canary Islands. Spain is to give 4,000 Senegalese temporary work permits over the next two years.

2007 February - President Wade wins re-election.

2007 June - President Wade's ruling coalition increases its parliamentary majority in elections boycotted by the opposition.

2007 September - Spanish authorities launch a campaign on national television in Senegal to discourage illegal migration.

2007 December - President Abdoulaye Wade declares three days of mourning after Serigne Saliou Mbacke, leader of Senegal's richest and most powerful Islamic brotherhood, dies aged 92.

Habre trial moves

2008 April - Senegal's national assembly amends the country's constitution to allow the trial of Chad's ex-leader Hissene Habre, who is accused of human rights abuses during his eight years in power.

2009 March - Opposition parties win control of several cities in local elections, including Dakar, formerly a stronghold of President Wade.

2009 April - Belgium starts proceedings at the International Court of Justice in The Hague to try to force Senegal to bring former Chadian President Hissene Habre to trial for alleged human rights abuses during his time in power.

Prime Minister Cheikh Hajibou Soumare steps down after governing coalition suffers losses in local council polls. The president's son Karim is included in the new cabinet.

2009 May - A UN court accepts Senegal's pledge to keep in the country ex-Chad dictator Hissene Habre, ahead of his trial for rights abuses.

2009 September-October - Clashes between troops and rebels in the province of Casamance.

2010 April - Senegal marks 50 years of independence.

France gives up its military bases in the country.

Change of leader

2012 March - Macky Sall wins presidential elections.

2012 July - President Sall's coalition wins parliamentary elections.

2012 September - MPs abolish the upper house, the Senate, and the post of vice president in an effort to save money for flood relief. Critics say the aim is to weaken the opposition.

2013 April - Karim Wade, the son of former President Abdoulaye Wade, is charged with corruption over accusations - which he denies - that he illegally amassed a fortune from infrastructure and energy projects while serving as a minister under his father.

2013 July - The Senegalese authorities arrest former Chadian President Hissene Habre in Dakar and put him on trial him for crimes against humanity committed in Chad under his rule.

2014 April - Rebel leader Salif Sadio, who has been fighting for the independence of the Casamance region, declares a unilateral ceasefire.

2014 September - Ex-president Wade's son Karim is put on trial for corruption. Police use teargas to disperse hundreds of his supporters outside the court.

2015 January - Senegal expels leading Gambian opposition figure Cheikh Sidya Bayo to France, accusing him of being a threat to public order.

2015 February - Extraordinary African Chamber court orders former Chadian President Hissene Habre to stand trail in Senegal on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

2015 March - Karim Wade, the son of former President Abdoulaye Wade, is jailed for six years for illicit enrichment while serving as a minister under his father, in what critics say is a politically motivated case.

2016 March - Voters in a referendum approve a proposal to reduce the presidential term from seven years to five.