I celebrate traveling my 23rd time zone of the world as I cross the Atlantic abyss, home of strange and grotesque creatures from the giant squid to the coelacanth fish. The Atlantic hagfish lives at 4000′; it ties itself into a knot and passes the knot down its eel length in order to wipe slime off its body. On ship, life can be as alien. But that is a subject for a later blog.
The Republic of Senegal is in western Africa and owes its name to the river that borders to the East and North. Senegal almost completely surrounds Gambia and covers a land area of almost 76,000 mi², about the size of Nebraska. Its estimated population is about 14 million. The climate is tropical with two seasons: dry and rainy. In the Senegambia region, between 1300 and 1900, close to one-third of the population was enslaved. Various European powers—Portugal, the Netherlands, and Great Britain—competed for trade in the area bit in 1677, France ended up in possession of what had become a minor slave trade departure point—the island of Gorée, used as a base to purchase slaves from the warring chiefdoms. Senegal gained its independence from France in 1960. (more…)