Kingdom of Jolof

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Jolof Kingdom
Common languagesWolof, Arabic
Islam (19th Century), Animism
Emperor (Buur-ba Jolof) 
• 1549-1566
al-Buri Penda
• 1875-1890
Alboury N'Diaye
Historical eraEarly Modern Period
• Established
• Conquest by Imamate of Futa Jallon
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Wolof Empire
Imamate of Futa Jallon

The Kingdom of Jolof (Arabic: جولوف), also known as Wolof and Wollof, was a West African rump state located in what is today the nation of Senegal. For nearly two hundred years, the Wolof rulers of the Jolof Empire collected tribute from vassal kings states who voluntarily agreed to the confederacy.[1] At the Battle of Danki, the Buurba Jolof was defeated by the lord of Kayor resulting in the rapid disintegration of the empire. Jolof survived as a meager state, unable to prosper from the Atlantic trade between its former vassal territories and the Portuguese.

Mauretanian promise[edit]

In 1670, wandering Muslim clerics from Mauretania stirred up a rebellion against the Wolof rulers by a ruse. They promised to show the Wolof people how to produce millet without the labor of planting. During the ensuing rebellion, the Mauretanians invaded, killed the rulers of Waalo and Kayor and defeated the burba Jolof. However, when the Mauretanians could not deliver on their promise, the Wolof restored their rulers and drove the invaders out. This claim is questionable because most rural Wolofs are strong farmers who produce millet and other crops.[2] The Mauretanians still remained a problem, however; and Waalo in particular suffered from their constant raids.[3]

Baol and Kayor[edit]

In 1686, Baol split from Kayor under the teny (king) Lat Sukabe Fall. The burba Jolof used this as an excuse to try and hem in his crumbling empire and invaded Kayor. Sukabe, fearing for his own security, invaded Kayor and killed the burba Jolof in battle. He then annexed Kayor creating a union of the two states that would last until his death in 1702. Thereafter, the two states would be ruled by his sons. By the late 18th century, Kayor was pre-eminent again and annexed Baol while inflicting serious defeats on the Muslim al-Mami of Futa Toro in 1786.[3]


Around 1875, Ahmadu Shaykhu of the Imamate of Futa Jallon took his jihad to Djolof. The empire was more or less annexed until 1890. From then on, it was absorbed into the French colony administered from Dakar.

See also[edit]


  • Ogot, Bethwell A. (1999). General History of Africa V: Africa from the Sixteenth to the Eighteenth Century. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-06700-2.


  1. ^ Mwakikagile, Godfrey Ethnic Diversity and Integration in the Gambia
  2. ^ Levinson, David (1998). Ethnic Groups Worldwide: a Ready Reference Handbook. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 162. ISBN 9781573560191.
  3. ^ a b Stride, G.T. & C. Ifeka: "Peoples and Empires of West Africa: West Africa in History 1000-1800" page 24. Nelson, 1971