Geography and Natural Resources
Senegal is approximately 1,810,000 square miles in area and is mostly covered by desert. The Sahara covers a great deal of the nation, but one of its most important aspects was the Senegal River Valley. This is where people used to trade and ship goods as well as use the rich soil for limited crops like; Peanuts, millet, corn, cattle, and fish . The most valuable natural resources to the French were the oil, phosphates, and iron ore. Currently, this country remains valuable for its hydropower, petroleum, and other minerals.
The people who lived in France, still weren't considered citizens in their own country. The people that used to live "peacefully" without the French now had no rights before the French law, they couldn't own property, they didn't have the right to travel, and they certainly didn't have the right to vote. The French used direct rule where one of the French generals governed the people. underneath the general, he would appoint a few people to watch over the villages and tribes and report to him on a regular basis, in order to maintain French control over the inhabitants. Because of the isolation from France, the generals had a lot more power over the lives of the Africans than anybody else, really. They would force labor upon them so the civilians basically became slaves working on their own country. While all of this was happening, they would be losing their culture, their language, and their chances to regain their culture. Women in Senegal would help with the farming, as would the males but they usually hunted and fought for the village. Punishments for not obeying the laws were embarrassing and painful. The most predominant religion in Senegal was Islam, and with the Islamic religion, few people are going to give it up because of how devout they are. Many people were punished by the French, and so, more resentment built up. People would pray five times a day, each segment throughout the day, having its own designated time. the men in Senegal wore the "Darraa," tunic made of a fabric called "bazin" traditionally in blue with a large front pocket decorated with yellow. The females wear the pagne, a rectangular cotton fabric of various colors (black-African women tied to it the waist to make long skirts).
This was the first French initiative south of the Sahara desert along the Senegalese coast in 1843. This was under the leadership of Governor-General Bovet Willaumez. At this time under the governor's rule, he allowed private companies to go into Senegal to handle the business administration. This soon ended when the new French government of the second French republic took over. Like all of their other colonies, France also dominated and took advantage of the cheap labor source basically handed to them. women, like the one seen above, worked in the fields, gathering supplies, food, and taking care of the children. the men would be out collecting rubber, extracting oil, or even mining for rocks like diamonds or coal. The French made an enormous amount of money on this deal, since basically all of their colonies had vital resources. of course, Senegal wasn't as flourishing as India, but they still added to the French empire. More and more people began to convert to Christianity because of the horrible consequences. the main language in Senegal now is French, but people are taught to write Arabic in school.