AFRICA SENEGAMBIA Senegambia, the country of the Senegal and Gambia, extends from the Sahara in the north to lat. 10° in the south, and may be considered as extending inland to the sources of the waters which flow through it to the Atlantic.
The western portion is very flat, and its contiguity to the great desert is frequently evidenced by dry hot winds, an atmosphere loaded with fine sand, and clouds of locusts. The eastern portion is occupied with hills and elevated land. Under the 10th parallel the hills approach quite close to the coast. The country possesses a great number of rivers, among which the Senegal, Gambia, and Rio Grande are the most important. Senegambia ranges, in point of heat, with the Sahara and Nubia. The atmosphere is most oppressive in the rainy season, which lasts from June to November, when an enormous amount of rain drenches the country. The prevailing winds in that period are south-west, whereas in the dry season they are from the east. The climate is, upon the whole, most unhealthy, and too generally proves fatal to Europeans.
The vegetation is most luxuriant and vigorous. The baobab (monkey bread-tree), the most enormous tree on the face of the globe, is eminently characteristic of Senegambia. It attains to no great height, but tire circumference of the trunk is frequently 60 to 75 feet, and has been found to measure 112 feet ; its fruit, the monkey bread, is a principal article of food with the natives. Bombacoic (cotton-trees) are likewise numerous, and they are among the loftiest in the world. Acacias, which furnish the gum-arabic, are most abundant, while the shores are lined with mangrove trees. The flora and fauna are similar to those of Nubia. Gold and iron are the chief metals.
The inhabitants consist of various Negro nations, the chief of which are the Wolof.
The gum trade is the most important traffic on the Senegal ; bees-wax, ivory, bark, and hides, forming the chief exports from the Gambia.
Of European settlements are : The French possessions on the Senegal ; the capital of which is St Louis, built about the year 1626, on an island at the mouth of the river. The total population of the settlement amounts to about 210,000.