Today’s Doodle celebrates Senegal’s 60-year independence. Senegal signed a transfer of power agreement on this day in 1960, paving the path for its official recognition as an autonomous republic on June 20 of that year.
The region that is now Senegal has piqued the interest of European colonial powers since the 15th century.
France had effectively acquired control of the territory around modern-day Dakar as a staging site for the Atlantic slave traffic by the end of the 17th century. The French did not extend their power deeper into the mainland until the middle of the 19th century, when they took over practically all of the local kingdoms.
Senegal and the French Sudan joined in April 1959 to become the Mali Federation. On April 4, 1960, a transfer of power deal was signed with France, leading to full independence on June 20, 1960.
The Mali Federation was short-lived and disbanded on August 20, 1960, after Senegal declared independence. French Sudan (later became the Republic of Mali) followed suit a month later.
Senegal’s first president, Léopold Sédar Senghor, took office in September 1960 and served until 1980. He was succeeded by Abdou Diouf, who served as president for twenty years, providing the fledgling nation with an unique level of leadership continuity in the region.
Today’s festivities honour Senegal’s rich culture with music, parades, and delicious food, such as the national dish of thieboudienne, a Senegalese Jollof rice traditionally eaten with vegetables and marinated fish. Throughout the day, the Senegalese flag, featured in today’s artwork, is proudly hoisted. The flag’s design, with its triad of hues of green, yellow, and red, depicts the country’s religious past, riches of natural resources, and fight for freedom.
The day is commemorated by a military parade in Dakar, Senegal’s capital.
Senegal, happy independence day!
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