On August 20, 1960, African Senegal declared its independence. It was an interesting situation, because for the previous two months, Senegal was within a short-lived state called the Malian Federation. That state became independent from France on June 20, 1960, and disintegrated two months later, so that today most people are not even aware that the Malian Federation ever existed.
The Federation of Mali consisted of the present-day states of Senegal and Mali (formerly called French Sudan). On that date, Senegal therefore withdrew from that federation, and the rest of the state, i.e. the former French Sudan, changed its name to the Republic of Mali in September of the same year (that state still exists today).
The first president of independent Senegal was Léopold Senghor, a very educated man. He was a poet and cultural theorist, and is interesting in that he was the first African to become a member of the French Academy.
The capital and largest city in Senegal is Dakar, for a long time strongly connected with France. Dakar is known to many for the former Paris-Dakar Rally (today the Dakar Rally). It is interesting that the former French presidential candidate Ségolène Royal was born in Dakar. Once upon a time, Dakar, unfortunately, was also one of the world’s largest ports for the export of slaves from Africa. Next to the Dakra was recently built the tallest sculpture in Africa – a giant monument 49 meters high (larger than the Statue of Liberty in New York).