Kaolack (Kawlax in Wolof) is a town of 172,305 people (2002 census) on
the north bank of the
Saloum River and the N1 road in Senegal. It is
the capital of the
Kaolack Region, which borders The
Gambia to the
Kaolack is an important regional market town and is Senegal's
main peanut trading and processing center. As the center of the
Ibrahimiyya branch of the
Sufi order founded by Ibrayima
Ñas, it is also a major center of Islamic education. The leona
niassene mosque (right) in
Kaolack is one of the largest and best
known in Senegal.
3 International relations
3.1 Twin towns — Sister cities
4 See also
6 External links
Kaolack is situated on the
Saloum River about 100 kilometers from its
mouth. It is the successor city to Kahone, historic capital of the
kingdom of Saloum. Kahone, originally a place marked by a sacred tree
on the right bank of the
Saloum River facing the island of Kouyong,
became capital of the mostly Sereer kingdom of Saloum in the early
16th century. In the 17th and 18th centuries it consisted of a number
of distinct neighborhoods separated by open fields, each of which was
under the jurisdiction of a different dignitary or official. One of
Kaolack (eight km down river), was founded by two Sereer
princesses from Baol. Another, Maka Kahone, was inhabited by Muslims
and administered by clerics. Otherwise, the population of the town
practiced traditional religion and court ceremonies centered on the
river bank, Kouyong Island, and various monumental baobab trees.
French interests in the
Saloum River increased in the early 19th
century as legitimate articles of trade were sought to replace trade
in slaves. By mid-century peanut production had been introduced to the
kingdom of Saloum and, with the permission of its king, a fortified
factory was established by the French on the riverfront at Kaolack.
Kaolack was more favorably placed for shipping than Kahone. The French
laid out a first grid of lots in 1860, in what would become the city
center, or "Escale" neighborhood. The construction of a rail spur from
the port to the Dakar-Niger line in 1911 caused the town to boom as a
peanut processing and export center. Its population grew rapidly,
rising from 5,600 in 1925 to 44,000 in 1934.
It is at this time that
Kaolack became an important center for the
Sufi order, with a first major zâwiyah, or “lodge”,
opening in Leona neighborhood in 1910 and a second one opening in
Madina Baye in the early 1930s. The
Tijaniyyah of Madina Baye is an
international institution with disciples in many cities, including
Kano, Nigeria, and Chicago, Illinois.
There is a peanut oil processing plant with its own port facilities in
the downstream suburb of Lyndiane, while Salt pans across the Saloum
river constitute the city’s only other major industrial activity.
Among Kaolack's many neighbourhoods are:
Children in 2007
Lewna (Léona in French), which includes much of the city center. It
includes Lewna Ñaseen (Léona Niassène in French), the headquarters
of the branch of the Tijānī Islamic order founded in 1910 by Allaaji
Abdulaay Ñas after his exile in Gambia. But now the Tijanj Islamic
Order is held by the eldest son of mame khalifa who also was the
oldest son of allaji abdoulaye niass .
Jaleñ (Dialègne in French), between Lewna Ñaseen and Medina
Medina Mbàbba (Médina Mbaba in French), also called "Medina I",
named after Baabakar Njaay, nicknamed "Mbàbba Njaay," who was the
Serer chief of the village when it was incorporated into Kaolack.
Medina Baay (Médina Baye in French), also called "Medina II", on the
northeast edge of the city. It is the center of the Ibrāhīmiiya
branch of the Tijānī order founded in 1930 by Allaaji Abdulaay
Ñas's son, Ibrayima Ñas, known to his followers as "Baay" ("Father"
in Wolof). The name in Arabic means "The City of Baay."
Saam (Sam in French), west of Medina Baay in the north of Kaolack,
also founded by Ibrayima Ñas. Saam was originally designated as the
fields and orchards of Ibrayima Ñas's disciples, but since the 1970s
the trees have been replaced by houses.
Ndoorong (Ndorong in French), west of Saam, founded by Bashiru Mbàkke
and his Murid disciples.
Coofog (Thiofoke in French), north of Saam, which existed before
Kaolack as a Serer village ruled by the Gelwaar dynasty.
See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Senegal
Twin towns — Sister cities
Kaolack is twinned with:
Memphis, United States
Railway stations in Senegal
^ "National Commission for Decentralised cooperation". Délégation
pour l’Action Extérieure des Collectivités Territoriales
(Ministère des Affaires étrangères) (in French). Archived from the
original on 2013-10-08. Retrieved 2013-12-26.
Peace Corps Senegal,
Coordinates: 14°11′N 16°15′W / 14.183°N 16.250°W