Colonial history The first Europeans to settle were the Portuguese in the 15th century, but later in the 17th century the influence of the French began to come and rise. In 1893, Senegal was colonized by France for 300 years (1659-1960) and Dakar became the capital of the French colony in West Africa. Senegal received Total independence was in the Mali federation on 20 June 1960 and withdrew from the federation to become a truly independent country on 20 August 1960.
Post-independence era When Senegal gained independence, Le Paul Cedarsongor was the first president and head of the country until the 1980s. Pressuring him to resign due to economic problems, then Prime Minister Abdou Diouf became Senegal's second president. He served 19 years later, being elected three times in 1983, 1988 and 1993. In the 2000 elections, Diouf defeated opposition leader Abdoulaye Wade because the Senegalese wanted to see political change and emerge. The boredom of Diouf's Socialist Party, which had dominated power for 40 years and was highly divisive within the Party, Senegal once merged with the Gambia to form the Senegambia Federation in 1982, but then split again in 1989.