Joal-Fadiouth is a town and commune in the
Thiès Region at the end of
Petite Côte of Senegal, south-east of Dakar.
Joal lies on the mainland, while Fadiouth, linked by a bridge, lies on
an island of clam shells, which are also used in local architecture
and crafts. The village has no motorised transport evidenced by the
sign on entering. It has large
Muslim populations with
cemeteries on another shell island. Another attraction is granaries on
stilts in the water. The population of the commune in 2013 was some
6 Famous personalities
8 External links
While the origin of the village remains disputed, the establishment of
the Serer in the area is assumed to have begun when the advance of the
Almoravids in the 11th century forced them to leave the Sénégal
River valley, occupying the
Petite Côte and the region of the Sine
River. Another theory claims that Joal and Fadiouth have been founded
Guelowar when they were expelled from the kingdom of Kaabu.
Both of these theories find their validation by observing the
frequency of certain surnames, indicating ethnic group in the region.
In the early 17th century, until around 1635, a community of
Jewish traders lived in the village, trading with West
Portugal and the Netherlands. Protected by the local chief,
they were allowed to openly profess their religion, to the annoyance
of the Portuguese (Catholic) government.
The church of Fadiout
During the colonial period, Joal became one of the largest trading
posts in Western Senegal. The setting up of European posts during the
triangular trade made the village one of the regions that was
penetrated by missionaries as early as the 17th-century. The
proselytisation however was met by strong resistance by the local
population, delaying large-scale evangelising by the Europeans to the
Senegal became a French colony. In 1850, a mission
was finally established in the village, the first priest was ordained
there in 1885.
It was during that time that the passage of
El Hadj Umar Tall was
commemorated by building a mosque for his appraisal. The important
architectural legacy recalling this memorable passing is in danger of
Entrance to the new commune
Joal-Fadiouth was initially a canton, later on a county seat. It was
elevated to a commune on 1 February 1966, with the process being
completed by decree n° 72-82 on 3 February 1972 defining the borders
of the commune.
Joal-Fadiouth is a part of the M'bour Department, occupying the
southernmost point of the Thiès Region.
Atlantic Ocean in the west, the commune incorporates the
rural community of Nguéniène in the north and the rural community of
Palmarine in the south.
Its mayors have been Jean Collin, Emmanuel Sobel Diouf, Paul Ndong and
presently Boucar Diouf
Joal-Fadiouth occupies an intermediate point between the
and the humid
Due to its position in an estuary, the greater part of the commune
(3,021 hectares) is seasonally flooded.
The climate is typical of the
Sahel with 3 to 4 months of winter from
July to October and mild temperatures from November to April. The
annual average temperature is 29 °C.
The estuary is at any time of the year populated by mangroves, it is
pervaded by bolongs, arms of the sea common to the coast of Senegal,
mixing salt-water with river water and sprinkled with little isles of
sea shells populated by baobabs and acacias.
The mangrove woods are populated by sea birds (sea gulls, woodcocks,
pelicans, flamingos). Monkeys, ciconias and hyenas are also to be
found there. This island has millions of sea shells, the local people
use the shells to decorate their graves.
The mixed cemetery of Fadiouth
The most recent census of 2013 put the population at 45,903 people.
The population is predominantly of Serer origin. In a country with an
overwhelming majority of Muslims, the inhabitants of the isle of
Fadiouth are 90% Christian.
Sale of lalo (powder made of dried baobab leaves)
The main income of Joal is fishing (it is the largest fishing harbour
of Senegal), agriculture and tourism.
The cemetery of Fadiouth
The first president of Senegal, Léopold Sédar Senghor, was born at
Joal. It is possible to visit his birthplace which carries the name
Mbind Diogoye ("lion's mansion" in Serer)
Yékini, the champion of
Senegalese wrestling was born in Joal.
The first missionary that died in
Senegal is buried in the cemetery of
Fadiouth with a white cross marking his grave.
In 2000, the writer
Kama Sywor Kamanda was made an honorary citizen of
Joal-Fadiouth travel guide from Wikivoyage
Coordinates: 14°10′N 16°50′W / 14.167°N 16.833°W /
Islands of Senegal
Îles des Madelein