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Senegalese states circa 1850. Cayor is at left, center.

Lat Dior Ngoné Latyr Diop (1842–1886), son of Sakhéwère Sokhna Mbaye and the Linguère royal Ngoné Latyr Fall, was a 19th-century Damel (king) of Cayor, a Wolof state that is today in south central Sénégal.


He converted to Islam around 1861, and made common cause with other Wolof and Fulani states to resist French colonialism. Instrumental in his conversion was the Almamy of Rip, Maba Diakhou Bâ. An ally of the Toucouleur empire's El Hadj Umar Tall, Maba convinced Lat-Dior both to convert, and to aid non-Wolof Islamic states of the region against their common foes[dubious ].


Lat Dior led his troops beside Maba in the battle of Rip on 30 November 1865, at the battle of Pathé Badiane in 1864 and Ngol Ngol in 1865. With Lat Dior, Maba took part in the conquests of the states of Baol and Djolof. They however couldn't conquer the Serer kingdom of Sine and were defeated at The Battle of Fandane-Thiouthioune (18 July 1867) by Maad a Sinig Kumba Ndoffene Famak Joof (King of Sine).[1][2]

Facing the French[edit]

At Kaolack in 1865, they combined forces with soldiers from Waalo, Ndiambour and Ndiander to face the French fortifications of governor Émile Pinet-Laprade but were repulsed.

After the French conquered Waalo, (re-appointed) governor Louis Faidherbe invaded Cayor in 1865 in order to stop the Damel's opposition to the construction of the Dakar to Saint-Louis railway. Dior is reported to have told the later French Governor Servatius:

"As long as I live, be assured, I shall oppose, with all my might the construction of this railway.[3]"

But the French defeated Lat Dior's forces at the battle of Dekheule on 26 October 1868, after Faidherbe's retirement. Lat Dior struck a deal for limited autonomy and re-installment in 1871. In response to further French expansion, Cayor rose up again with Dior at their head, only to be defeated and be annexed again in 1879.

The Cayor kingdom was extinguished in its entirety October 6, 1886.

The Legend of Lat Dior[edit]

Faidherbe is reputed to have said of Dior's troops: "Ceux-là, on les tue on ne les déshonore pas." ("They can be killed but not dishonored"). This has been adapted as the motto of the Senegalese Army: "On nous tue, on ne nous déshonore pas".

In Dakar there is a giant statue of Maalaw, the legendary horse of Lat Dior, near the great mosque.

Ancestry Chart of Lat Dior[edit]

Absa Mbounoum
Ngoone Latyr Fall, Lingeer
Sakhewar Fatma Thioub, Bar-Gueth
Sakhewar Sokhna Mbaye Diop
Sokhna Niane(?)
Medoune Sokhna Niane, Bar Gueth
Lat Dior Ngoone Latyr, Damel-Teigne
Sokhna Mbaye (?)
Lat-Degen Fari, Teigne
, Bar Gueth
Dior Makhouredia
Ma-Isseu Teind Dior Samba Fall, Damel-Teigne
Jamme Jeumb

See also[edit]


  • Marie Casanova, Lat Dior : le dernier souverain du Cayor, ABC : Nouvelles éditions africaines, 1976
  • Amadou Cissé Dia, Les Derniers jours de Lat Dior suivi de La mort du Damel, Présence Africaine, 1965
  • Denys Ferrando-Durfort, Lat Dior : le résistant, Paris, Chiron, 1989, 45 p. ISBN 2-7027-0403-4
  • Vincent Monteil, « Lat-Dior, damel du Kayor (1842-1886) et l'islamisation des Wolofs », in Esquisses sénégalaises (Wâlo, Kayor, Dyolof, Mourides, un visionnaire), Dakar, IFAN, 1966, 244 p.
  • Mamadou Seyni M'bengue, Le procès de Lat Dior, D.A.E.C., 1970


  • Thierno Bâ, Lat-Dior – Le chemin de l'honneur, drame historique en huit tableaux, Dakar, Impr. Diop, 1970, 100 p.


  • 1. Curry, Ginette. In Search of Maba: A 19th Century Epic from Senegambia, West Africa. Phoenix Press International, Maryland, USA, 2011.[1].
  1. ^ Alioune Sarr, Histoire du Sine-Saloum. Introduction, bibliographie et Notes par Charles Becker, BIFAN, Tome 46, Serie B, n° 3-4, 1986–1987. pp 37-39
  2. ^ Diouf, Niokhobaye. "Chronique du royaume du Sine." Suivie de notes sur les traditions orales et les sources écrites concernant le royaume du Sine par Charles Becker et Victor Martin. (1972). Bulletin de l'Ifan, Tome 34, Série B, n° 4, (1972). (pp 727-729, pp 16-18)
  3. ^ BBC. The Story of Africa: Railways.