Saint-Louis, Senegal

Reference work entry


Saint-Louis, the third-largest town of Senegal, is just south of the border with Mauritania. The former capital city, it was subsumed in importance by Dakar from the second half of the nineteenth century. The city comprises an island and part of the Langue de Barberie peninsula, connected by the 500 m. long bridge, Pont Faidherbe.


Saint-Louis was founded in 1659 and was the capital of Mauritania–Senegal. Britain and France vied for dominance in the region, but it was under French jurisdiction in the mid-nineteenth century that Saint-Louis reached its commercial zenith as a trading and fishing centre.

The rise of Dakar from the 1860s reduced Saint-Louis’ standing and, though Saint-Louis was made capital of French West Africa in 1893, it lost the position to Dakar in 1904.

Modern City

Saint-Louis is now a relatively minor town, dependent upon the fishing industry and its role as a transport hub.

Places of Interest

Pont Faidherbe was originally built for a location on...

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© Springer Nature Limited 2019

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