Casamance

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Casamance
Portuguese: Casamansa
Casamance in Senegal
Casamance in Senegal
Flag of Casamance
CountrySenegal
PartsKolda Region, Sédhiou Region and Ziguinchor Region

Casamance (/ˈkæzəˌmæns, ˈkæsə-/; French: Casamance [kɑ.za.mɑ̃s]; Wolof: Kasamansa; Fula: Kasamansa/𞤖𞤫𞤤𞥆𞤮; Portuguese: Casamansa or Casamança[1] [kɐzɐˈmɐ̃sɐ]) is the area of Senegal south of the Gambia including the Casamance River. It consists of the Lower Casamance (Basse Casamance, Baixa Casamança—i.e. Ziguinchor Region) and the Upper Casamance (Haute Casamance, Alta Casamança—i.e. Kolda Region and Sédhiou Regions). The largest city of Casamance is Ziguinchor.

Peoples[edit]

Casamance is mainly inhabited by the Jola and Bainuk. Significant minority populations include the Balanta, Mande and Fulani.[2] Casamance is religiously diverse, with the inhabitants practicing Islam, Christianity, and traditional African religions.[2]

History[edit]

According to local legends, the Jola and Bainuk people are said to have inhabited Casamance for over a thousand years. Jola leaders ruled portions of Casamance, frequently under the nominal rule of Wolof and Serer kingdoms to the north.[2] From the 15th to 18th century, the Bainuk Kasa kingdom located in the Lower Casamance was the dominant state in the south.[3] In the 15th century, Portuguese slave traders and navigators established a trading station in the area. They also formed trade relations with local Jola chiefs and the king of Kasa.[2]

The Casamance was subject to both French and Portuguese colonial efforts before a border was negotiated in 1888 between the French colony of Senegal and Portuguese Guinea (now Guinea-Bissau) to the south. Portugal lost possession of Casamance, then the commercial hub of its colony.[citation needed] Casamance, to this day, has preserved the local variant of Upper Guinea Creole known as Ziguinchor Creole, and the members of the deep-rooted Creole community carry Portuguese surnames like Da Silva, Carvalho and Fonseca. The historical ties to Portugal were a factor in Senegal's decision to seek membership of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), becoming an associate observer in 2008.[4] Interest in Portuguese heritage has been revived in order to exert a distinct identity,[citation needed] particularly in Baixa Casamança.

Bissau-Guineans are also present in the region, as expatriates, immigrants, and refugees from the poverty and instability that since long affects the neighbouring country, including the 1998—1999 Guinea-Bissau Civil War.

Separatist movement[edit]

Flag used by several separatist organisations

Though the Jola are the dominant ethnic group in the Casamance, they represent only 4% of the total population of Senegal. The Jola's sense of economic disenfranchisement within greater Senegal[citation needed][5] contributed to the founding of a separatist movement advocating the independence or autonomous administrative division of the Casamance, the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC), in 1982.[6]

The MFDC's armed wing was established in 1985, and in 1990 the Casamance conflict began: a low-level insurgency led by the MFDC against the government of Senegal. The conflict has been characterized by sporadic violence and frequent but unstable ceasefire agreements. An illegal shipment of weapons hailing from Iran was seized in Lagos, Nigeria in October 2010, and the Senegalese government suspected the MFDC of having been the intended recipient of the weapons. Senegal recalled its ambassador to Tehran over the incident.[7]

Climate[edit]

Woman working in a paddy field

The climate is low-lying and hot, with some hills to the southeast. The Region has average rainfall greater than the rest of Senegal, with most areas receiving over 50in/1270mm annually, and as high as 70in/1780mm in some places. The entire Casamance region experiences a tropical savanna climate.

Economy[edit]

The economy of the Casamance relies largely on rice cultivation and tourism. It also has excellent beaches along its coastline, particularly at Cap Skirring.

Ecology[edit]

Tree cover in Casamance is severely threatened by illegal logging.[8][9]

References[edit]

  1. ^
    • Novo Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa, verbete criol: Língua derivada do português e de várias línguas africanas, falada pela maior parte da população da Guiné-Bissau e da Casamansa (S. do Senegal)
    • Dicionário Onomástico Etimológico da Língua Portuguesa [pt]
    • Vocabulário Onomástico da Língua Portuguesa da Academia Brasileira de Letras
    • "Língua Portuguesa com Acordo Ortográfico [em linha]. Porto: Porto Editora, 2003-2015".
  2. ^ a b c d Minahan, James (2002). Encyclopedia of the Stateless Nations: A-C. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 396–397. ISBN 978-0-313-32109-2.
  3. ^ Olson, James Stuart; Meur, Charles (1996). The Peoples of Africa: An Ethnohistorical Dictionary. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 70. ISBN 978-0-313-27918-8.
  4. ^ "OBSERVADORES ASSOCIADOS" (in Portuguese). CPLP. 10 July 2008. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  5. ^ Programs, United States Congress House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related (2006). Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations for 2007: Hearings Before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, House of Representatives, One Hundred Ninth Congress, Second Session. U.S. Government Printing Office.
  6. ^ "New clashes between the Senegalese army and Casamance pro-independence militias". Nationalia. 23 March 2010. Retrieved 11 April 2010.
  7. ^ "Senegal recalls Tehran ambassador over arms shipment". BBC News. 15 December 2010. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
  8. ^ AfricaNews (19 June 2016). "Senegal govt warns against Casamance deforestation". Africanews. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  9. ^ "Trafic de bois au Sénégal: la Casamance menacée de déforestation d'ici deux ans". Sciences et Avenir (in French). 26 May 2016. Retrieved 15 March 2018.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 13°00′55″N 15°19′03″W / 13.0152°N 15.3176°W / 13.0152; -15.3176