Talk:Senegal River

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can sombody please let me know as much info they know about the senecal river

does anyone know the historical significance of the senegal river?

The Manantali dam is in Bafing, not in the Senegal River

Wrong annual discharge[edit]

The stated annual discharge of "about 8 million km3" (cubic kilometer ) cant be right. Thats a volume of water larger than the moon.Eregli bob (talk) 09:07, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

arnt al/mostrivers sweet??[edit]

--Sven70 (talk) 02:14, 25 December 2008 (UTC)

Sénégal [sic] River[edit]

This article appears to provide no sourcing as to why we are using a French spelling for the river's name. Varlaam (talk) 23:27, 1 January 2011 (UTC)

No idea, the Geonet names server cited gives the name without diacritics, I'd say feel free to change it. Kmusser (talk) 16:51, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
The article on the Fulani language uses the more obvious Senegal River too.
I don't have a suitable reference book in the house; ideally I can confirm with a library visit this week.
Happy New Year, Varlaam (talk) 18:22, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
The Lonely Planet guides to "The Gambia and Senegal", 2002 and 2009 editions, both read Senegal River, as expected.
Andrew Burke and David Else, The Gambia & Senegal, Lonely Planet, 2nd edition, 2002, p. 280.
Varlaam (talk) 19:15, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
Yes, please change this. It's never had diacritics in English. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:21, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

Italian job?[edit]

One must wonder if the Senegal river and the State of Senegal has anything to do with the italian city of Senigallia (considerig the early genovese role in Senegal's history)? (talk) 15:46, 6 November 2011 (UTC)

Highly unlikely. Early Italian sources had plenty of names for that river, but "Senegal" wasn't among them (e.g. Nile, River of Gold, Palolus, Vedamel, Niger, etc.). There is "Sengany" and Isenghany" on a couple of maps, but that looks nothing like "Senigallia". The earliest record of the term of "Senegal" (admittedly, by a Venetian, in 1455) was "Senega" (no "l"), and "Sanaga" was the name used by the Portuguese through most of the 15th & 16th C. The "l" came later. Any similar sound with "Senigallia" is pure coincidence. Walrasiad (talk) 01:07, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

"Serer" etymology[edit]

To allow others to participate, let me reproduce my original statement from Tamsier's talk page:

In the article on the Senegal River you inserted a statement:

" The most credible theory which is backed by archaeological, migration and historical evidence is that, the name "Senegal" derives from the Serer people - "

The most credible theory? By whose judgment? I have never seen this assertion in the literature, so I am curious exactly who judged it "the most credible theory".

I am also curious as to how the "Senegal River", a name which was first jotted down by 15th C. Italian & Portuguese sources, when the Serer were nowhere near the area (and, indeed, a time when there was no communication between the Serer and the Portuguese), is "backed by archaeological, migration and historical evidence", which seems very bizarre assertion. Did you find an ancient marble slab in Italy indicating the name of the river? On what grounds are you perpretating this statement? Walrasiad (talk) 00:58, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

After Tamsier's reply (I will let him reproduce it here if he wishes), I reply now as follows:

The Serer "oral history" did not name "Senegal". European slave traders did. It was the slave traders who put the name "Senegal" down on their maps. And it was the maps drawn by the slave traders that were used by the colonial authorities. And it was the name used by the colonial authorities that the modern liberated republic uses. So, yes, the term "Senegal" has come from a line of transmission, the written record of which starts with Cadamosto. He must have picked up the term "Senegal" from somewhere. And not being in contact with the Serer, and the Serer not having anything to do with that river at that time, it was certainly not from the Serer. So again I ask, what is this "evidence" that Diop is citing on how Cadamosto acquired the name? Because that is the only point that needs to be proven here. And don't pull some nonsense about the Serer nomenclature going through the Wolofs, because the Portuguese sources of the time (Barros, Gois) were quite explicit and unequivocal that the Wolofs called the river the "Ovedech" or "Sonedech", and not the "Senegal" (P.S. - which wasn't even written as "Senegal", but rather "Senega" or "Sanaga" for over a hundred years or so - the "L" was a later addition; so much for the "O Gal" part of your theory).

Not sure what the 1446 clash has to do with anything. The Niominka who killed the Portuguese with poisoned arrows are in the Saloum-Diombos-Banjal rivers, not the Senegal river. I very much doubt they paused the battle for conversation about rivers half a world away - not that it mattered if they sat down for tea and crumpets and idle talk mid-battle, since none of the Portuguese survived to report it anyway.

So please provide your evidence of etymological transmission, or I am going to have to remove your statements from both the Senegal River and Senegal pages. Walrasiad (talk) 05:51, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

al-Bakri makes mention of a land called "Sengana" as being a city on both banks of the Nile up to the Atlantic ocean (probably Senegal river), its inhabitants are the immediate neighbors of the Gudala to the south. East of the Sengana land is the Tekrur (Toutcouleur) (al-Bakri p172) I believe the Europeans might have gotten the name from this account. If the etymology is indigenous, it is rather Wolof. Tachfin (talk) 13:56, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

  • This editor (Walrasiad) came to my talk page with their usual pompous and disrepectful tone. This is the same editor who was invited by their friend (Tachfin) to come and back him up in the Almoravid discussion I was participating here with respect to Serer people's account to which I have now put an RFC here after I realised what some editors where doing. As usual, this Walrasiad came to that discussion with threats and their usual arrogant tone to which I will not tolerate. I see now Tachfin has come to return the favour. Anyway, when Walrasiad came to my talk page and posted their nonesense with such pomposity, I replied in the following terms:
"Nowhere the area?" Where were they then in Mars having a cup tea and some bolo rei with Prince Henry the Navigator? Yes! The Serer people were not in communication with the Portuguse but I suggest you take a look at where this statement was made. In "etymology" with respect to the Wolof account. I suggest you look at the sources especially Diop etc. The Serer people know their history, language, religion and land better than any 15th century European slave trader like Alvise Cadamosto and his ilk, who hardly was in contact with them. Although the Portuguese tried to make contact with the Serers in 1446, almost all the adult members of that ship succumbed to Serer poisoned arrows. Serer Country is very verse and their language is embedded in the Wolof language who were in contact with the Portuguese. Take a look at the sources and where such account was made rather than coming here with your typical arrogant tone. Tamsier (talk) 03:41, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Tamsier (talk) 14:23, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

@Tamsier: Thanks for reproducing your reply. But please refrain from personal attacks. I have thus far treated your campaign with greater patience than it deserves, trying to keep focus firmly on the points in case. I'd hate it to get ugly.
I have already asked you to provide evidence of your claims. And since so far you haven't come up with any, I'll assume that you have none, and so will adjust the article accordingly.
@ Tachfin: That is the most likely answer (IMO), given the guidelines of how Portuguese traders named locations along the West African coast. For their own guidance, the Portuguese adopted the local appelations insofar as they were informative of trade, i.e. either who to trade with (the ruler, Budomel, Bezeguiche, Barbacim, Borcalo, Niumimansa, Casamansa) or where to trade (e.g. Arguin, Cantor). As I think ruler can be ruled out (his name was different), so that leaves market location, of which al-Bakri's Sengana/Sanghana is the most obvious candidate. As I noted in the text, that label (or something close to it) also come up also in some 14th C. Italian maps (although they're probably just replicating from Arab sources).
To reinforce: the Portuguese, up to c.1450, also called the river "the Nile", then it suddenly appears as the "Senega/Sanaga" in Cadamosto (1455). The only thing that happened between 1450 and 1455 was that the Portuguese finally made contact and opened trade with the Wolof of Waalo and Cayor. Cadamosto's Senega/Sanaga was probably the name of the trading station at the mouth of the river, which would have been roughly on the site of al-Bakri's Sengana/Sanghana. So that's a very plausible hypothesis.
The only lingering doubt is whether the original Sangana name of the town is local or foreign. Meaning, there is a possibility that al-Bakri (& the Italians & Portuguese) took the Berber traders' name for that town, rather than the original Wolof name for it. There are several suggestive candidates from the Berber language. Walrasiad (talk) 19:03, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

Tamsier, you should start assuming good faith, nobody here owns articles and everyone is welcome to contribute collaboratively. Labeling that theory as "the most credible" is really overstating it. Tachfin (talk) 20:51, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]


Moved to Senegal River --RA (talk) 19:46, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Sénégal RiverSenegal River – The accents are not part of the English name. For some reason the inappropriate current name has somewhat stuck for 7-8 years, according to the edit history. Correct me if I'm wrong. Hill Crest's WikiLaser (Boom!) 23:04, 8 September 2012 (UTC)


  • Support. I've been intending to submit this move for a while, but never got around to it (Thanks). Walrasiad (talk) 23:52, 8 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Sorry, but lazy proposal. @Hillcrest98 sorry but in order to establish that "River Senegal" exists as an English exonym, you need to provide reliable-for-statement-being-made sources which can show French accents for other words, but don't for River Senegal. The immediate check I did produces results like M. Shahin Hydrology and Water Resources of Africa 2002 Page 379 "The total catchment area of the Sénégal at Bafoulabé is It is worthwhile to mention that the contribution of the Bafing to the flow of the Sénégal River is superior to the contribution of the Bakoye. However, it brings the catchment of the Sénégal ... and A. N. Clements The Biology of Mosquitoes 2012 Page 318 "In the Sénégal River basin, RVFV was isolated from Cx. poicilipes ... For a number of years after the major outbreak of RVF in the Sénégal River basin in 1978, herds of sheep or goats..." ...what you need are sources that say "catchment area of the Senegal at Bafoulabé" to prove it is genuinely an English exonym not just WP:crap sources. I suspect it may well be, and that these two sources, Shahin 2002 and Clements 2012, are not typical, but as proposer it's your job to weigh and present them. Cheers. In ictu oculi (talk) 03:25, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
PS - why the current order? This is not fixed by Wikipedia:WikiProject_Rivers#Naming/Wikipedia:Naming conventions (geographic names). "River Senegal/Sénégal" gets 19,000 vs 476 for current "Senegal/Sénégal River" in GBooks? In ictu oculi (talk) 03:33, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the feedback. I'm not a good person at doing RMs, but it's because I rush them. Hill Crest's WikiLaser (Boom!) 03:44, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
Hey no problem, as I said I haven't actually done it. It's actually difficult to do proximate searches of this sort, Bafoulabé -Sénégal then +Senegal etc. In ictu oculi (talk) 04:02, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
  • For real? OK. Restrict search results 1980+, put the words Senegal River Gorée (don't put "Senegal River" in quotations) in googlebooks, then lean back: [1]

[2] [3] [4] [5], [6], [7], [8], [9], [10], [11], [12], [13], [14],[15], [16], [17], [18], [19], [20], [21], [22], [23], [24], [25], [26], [27], [28], [29], [30], etc., etc. Whole bunch of reliable books from a wide variety of types & fields - history (naturally overrepresented because of Gorée's notorious role in the Atlantic slave trade), but also general reference, geography, linguistics, anthropology, political science, public health, travel, music, etc. (I like this one: [31], as it even has the very rarely-used full term "Saint-Louis-de-Sénégal" alongside "Senegal River"). I could go on, but got bored after the first half-dozen pages. Pretty relentless. Only found one reverse-order "River Senegal" in the bunch. Put in "Sénégal River Gorée", and you get the exact same results as "Senegal River Gorée", i.e. all Senegal River, couldn't find one Sénégal River. Reversing the order to "River Senegal Gorée" didn't change anything either. Walrasiad (talk) 05:07, 9 September 2012 (UTC)

Walrasiad, thanks - this is the sort of search needed. What does the "for real?" refer to? In ictu oculi (talk) 13:50, 9 September 2012 (UTC)
Something appears to be wrong with that search: Although I think there is a case for an exonym, how many results were there for per McKenna The History of Western Africa 2011 Page 196 for "A French factory at the mouth of the Sénégal River was rebuilt in 1659 at N'Dar, an island in the river that became the town of Saint-Louis, and in 1677 France took over Gorée from the Dutch."? In ictu oculi (talk) 01:35, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Nothing wrong with the search. It's right there on the third page of results. Do it yourself. My eyes must have glazed over late last night when you forced me to do this silly exercise. Actually found another one there right above it. OK. Two results among, what, fifty plus? Done my fair bit. You can now do the rest of the work yourelf. Walrasiad (talk) 02:25, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
EDIT: Oops. No. Found another on page 4 and another on page 14 of the results. Now it's four among what is by now probably seventy or more? Surely there are better ways of spending one's time? Walrasiad (talk) 02:31, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Walrasiad, actually I think this was a good use of your time. It's not a "silly exercise", this is how we tell the difference between a true exonym and a typographic limitation. In ictu oculi (talk) 04:40, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
Pardon my skepticism, but I have a hard time imagining you could have tracked down those few strange exceptions without being hit by a massive wave of "Senegal River" in the process. I commend you for you persistence. Your job must have been far tougher than mine. But, no, it was not a good use of my time. Nor yours, I expect. Walrasiad (talk) 05:13, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
@Walrasiad, I haven't actually !voted yet, but am increasingly tempted to register Oppose simply because of what is beginning to look like bad faith in your approach here. The fact that you didn't know how to search to distinguish an exonym, that you missed McKenna The History of Western Africa 2011 (which I actually found immediately contrary to your crystal ball which can see into my study), and are now getting sarcastic "For real?" "I commend you for your persistance" doesn't add confidence in your weighing of results either. But I won't, more out of respect for AjaxSmack below. In ictu oculi (talk) 05:28, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Support per the evidence provided above. In addition, many here like to use Google's Ngram Viewer which shows a massive discrepancy in favor of the non-accented version. —  AjaxSmack  04:32, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
@AjaxSmack, the Gorée/Senegal Gorée/Senegal search is more convincing. But no Google Ngram viewer is worse than useless for accents, look at this, according to that "Francois Mitterrand" is massively correct. Cheers. In ictu oculi (talk) 04:46, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
I agree about Ngram and did not base my support on that. I merely presented it for others to use. I've gotten some poor results on other searches as well. (E.g., this one I did for another open RM is obviously blatantly wrong.) —  AjaxSmack  04:52, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
@AS. No worries, it has its role elsewhere. Cheers. In ictu oculi (talk) 05:30, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Support - "Senegal River" is clearly an English name, not a typo. mgeo talk 18:49, 10 September 2012 (UTC)
  • (lazy) Support – assuming that the following article titles are also correct:
Senegal – The country, without the accents. This is supported by ISO 3166 and the UN (at least).
Ivory Coast – Actual translation of the correct, official, standardized, and used (by anyone that cares to be correct) country name.
—[AlanM1(talk)]— 22:03, 10 September 2012 (UTC)


current article map, Senegal (country), Sénégal (river)
  • Question - If we change the title what will we do with the lede? Evidently a significant minority of sources, mainly high quality sources to do with hydrology and geography, and which can carry French names such as [Senegal/Sénégal + River + Falémé] [Senegal/Sénégal + River + Bafoulabé] do make a distinction between:
Britannica - Sénégal River
Britannica - Senegal (country)
Are we going to have River Sénégal also River Senegal... as the lede? In ictu oculi (talk) 01:08, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
We change it to "Senegal River". I don't quite see the obstacle. Is it impossible to construct content which references a source which spells it slightly differently? Are specialist sources or foreign sources forbidden to be used to references on Wikipedia now, unless they comply with the exact spelling and naming conventions of articles here? As to word order, Senegal River easily dominates the search results I gave above. As a manner of speech, either are correct, and used as a matter of personal preference. There is a slightly difference in Anglo-American usage propensity (English tend to use River X, whereas Americans use X River), both are correct, and you'll often find the same source using both orders in different places. Walrasiad (talk) 01:23, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
Don't take the map labels as evidence of anything, I used the labels I did to match the current article titles, if there's consensus to change them I can edit the map to match. Kmusser (talk) 01:26, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
Nice map. :) I don't think you should change the labels, since the map is used on other non-English Wikis. The difference between "Sénégal" and "Senegal" is not terribly confusing. Walrasiad (talk) 01:32, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
@Kmusser, great map, no please don't change it. Do you have access to a printed atlas like Times or Oxford, how do they distinguish country and river?
River X style evidently has more sources in this case, not that it matters...
I believe MOS requires us to have both accented and non-accented in lede in this case "River Sénégal also River Senegal", since this isn't just a typographical limit, but represents real divergence in usage. In ictu oculi (talk) 02:12, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
Oh, of course. Definitely have the alternative spelling in the lede (definitely as the French spelling). As for word order, I really don't think that is necessary, as it is really a matter of personal or cultural preference of how to refer to river names in general. Most river articles don't do that, e.g. Hudson River and River Thames, don't give the alternative (and perfectly correct) "River Hudson" and "Thames River" in their ledes. It just adds clutter. Walrasiad (talk) 02:47, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
How about just bin the word river before or after "Senegal". It's already in the title, the infobox, and later in the first sentence. Have it read: "The Senegal (French: Sénégal) is a 1,790 km (1,110 mi) long river in West Africa that forms the border between Senegal and Mauritania." We do this with other rivers such as the Yenisei, Brahmaputra, Rhine, and Nile.
It would be an ideal solution, if Senegal wasn't also the name of a country. It is in the same predicament as the Gambia River, Niger River and Congo River. Walrasiad (talk) 06:59, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
Except that, unlike Gambia or Congo (or Ukraine or Lebanon), the article is never used for the state of Senegal. As long as the first sentence reads "The Senegal is a river...", there is ample clarity. Even if that were not, the title of "Senegal River" rests mere millimeters above the first line in gargantuan font. —  AjaxSmack  04:25, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

My concern is with Marcia Johnson, an 8th grader from Eastville, Illinois, who will be assigned to do a report on "Senegal", look it up on Wikipedia, and end up doing a report on the river rather than the country. And while we, along with her teachers and parents, might groan and say she should have realized, alas, Marcia isn't exactly the sharpest student in Eastville. She simply went with what Wikipedia said "Senegal" was. And she'd wouldn't be lying. If it's all the same, it is probably prudent to just tighten it up a little so she won't embarass herself and fail. Walrasiad (talk) 05:12, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

Good try but Marcia would have to be incredibly obtuse and extraordinarily persistent to pull off what you describe. If she used Google, she would have to navigate past hundreds of pages about the country to reach an article on the river (Wikipedia's article is the top Ghit for me and I couldn't find the river in the top 200). If she typed "Senegal" in the Wikipedia search box, she would immediately access the country article with no DAB page or even a hatnote to distract her. —  AjaxSmack  06:05, 12 September 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps. But if Marcia fails, drops out of school and turns to a life of drugs and crime, its on you.
EDIT: I just took an unpersistent easier route. Say Marcia doesn't search for Senegal, but rather "History of Senegal". Goes to History of Senegal page, the first linked appearance of "Senegal" comes to this river article. If the opening phrase is "the Senegal is a river", she might think she's in the right place. Walrasiad (talk) 06:27, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.