The first time I heard about Saint Louis was in the early 1980s, in an interview with the Cultural Attaché of the Senegalese Embassy in Kuwait.
The occasion of the interview was the brief unity between Senegal and Gambia that had given birth to the Senegambia state in West Africa.
The heart of the colonial city of Saint Louis, the capital of Saint-Louis Region is located on the border with Mauritania, northwest of Senegal on the island of Ndar where the Senegal River flows into the Atlantic.
People who speak Wolof, the widely spoken language in Senegal call the city Ndar.
The city has expanded eastward into the mainland, where it is surrounded by swamps, and over time, it has encroached to the west on the long, narrow sand of Langue de Barbarie peninsula.
The following lines are about Saint-Louis and the climate change that affects the region entirely.
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French traders founded Saint Louis in 1659 on the uninhabited island Ndar and named the city after the French King Louis XIV.
The king of France was born on September 1638, died on September 1, 1715, and known as the le Roi Soleil, or the Sun king.
He had the longest reign period in the European history from 1643 to 1715 and the French culture became during his reign appealing worldwide. In April 9, 1682, the Mississippi River valley was claimed for him and Louisiana was named in his honour.
For nearly three centuries, the city served as the capital of French West Africa and was one of the most active cities in Africa.
Not only the treasury of the city has been exploited to the benefits of the merchants, but also the slave trade was one kind of the humiliation the citizens have faced for decades and has been the shame of that century.
However, ethnic movements had fierce confrontation to such kind of trade through the years.
The European merchants in the city exported slaves (which is indeed a bad trade), ivory, gold, skins, gum Arabic (Arabic gum) and later peanuts to their beneficiaries, the Atlantic merchants.
There was a French-African community in St. Louis during that period. Descendants of local women as well as European merchants became indispensable middlemen in trade between the middle and the upper parts of Senegal and the coast.
French-Africans were not only an important part of the economic life in Saint Louis, but this community constituted and refined urban bicultural status.
Saint Louis' colourful and vivid life except of course the slave trade faded when Senegal became independent in 1960, and Dakar, instead became the capital. Since then, Saint-Louis has struggled to stay upright.
Today, the economy of the city is based on tourism, sugar production, agriculture and fisheries all of which make the foundation of income. However, for many of Saint Louis' residents poverty is an ever present phenomenon.
This leaves a hope that the authorities in Senegal must struggle to address such economical matters for the benefits of the poor. There are about 176,000 inhabitants in Saint Louis.
Saint Louis was on the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000. Many historic building on the island has been furnished as hotels and restaurants.
There are many natural sites in Saint-Louis region. Those beautiful sites include:
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