Lebanese people in Senegal

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Lebanese people in Senegal
Total population
(30,000[1])
Languages
Arabic · French · Wolof[1]
Religion
Shi'a · Maronite · Eastern Orthodox[1]
Related ethnic groups
Lebanese diaspora

There is a significant community of Lebanese people in Senegal.[1]

Migration history

The first trader from Lebanon arrived in Senegal in the 1860s. However, early migration was slow; by 1900, there were only about one hundred Lebanese living in the country, mostly from the vicinity of Tyre. They worked as street vendors in Dakar, Saint-Louis, and Rufisque. After World War I, they began to move into the peanut trade. With the establishment of the French Mandate of Lebanon, Lebanese immigration expanded sharply.[2] During the Great Depression and again after World War II, French traders lobbied the government to restrict Lebanese immigration; however, the government generally ignored such lobbying.[3]

Interethnic relations

During the colonial period, the Lebanese tended to support independence movements.[3] Their social position outside of the colonial relationship, as neither colonist nor colonised, enabled them to maintain good relations with both Senegalese consumers as well as the large French businessmen.[4] After Senegal gained independence in 1960, most French small traders left the country; however, indigenous Senegalese people began to compete increasingly with the Lebanese in the peanut sector, and soon after, the whole peanut marketing sector was nationalised.[3]

Lebanese migrants and their descendants have tended to maintain dual citizenship of both Lebanon and Senegal.[5] Most speak Arabic, Wolof and French, and some have become involved in Senegalese politics. However, they are a fairly endogamous community.[1]

In the early 2000s, the Lebanese began to be displaced from their position as a market-dominant minority by the influx of Chinese traders and the cheap goods they brought from China; as a result, the Lebanese began to shift to a pattern of buying goods from the Chinese and reselling them in remote areas of the country where no Chinese migrants lived.[6]

See also

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Schwarz, Naomi (2007-07-10), "Lebanese Immigrants Boost West African Commerce", Voice of America, retrieved 2010-01-11 
  2. O'Brien 1975, p. 98
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Boumedouha 1990, p. 538
  4. O'Brien 1975, p. 96
  5. Leichtman 2005, p. 663
  6. Gaye 2008, p. 131

Bibliography

Further reading

  • Boumedouha, Saïd (1992), "Change and Continuity in the Relationship between the Lebanese in Senegal and their Hosts", in Hourani, Albert; Shehadi, Nadim, The Lebanese in the World: A Century of Emigration, I. B. Tauris, ISBN 978-1-85043-303-3 
  • El Bcheraoui, Charbel (2007), Etude du vieillissement de la population libanaise vivant en milieu urbain, rural et émigrée au Sénégal, Ph.D. dissertation, Aix-en-Provence: University of the Mediterranean, OCLC 493494634 
  • Leichtman, Mara A. (2006), A tale of two Shi'isms: Lebanese migrants and Senegalese converts in Dakar, Ph.D. dissertation, Rhode Island: Department of Anthropology, Brown University, OCLC 183678779 
  • Taraf, Souha (1994), L'espace en mouvement: dynamiques migratoires et territorialisation des familles libanaises au Sénégal, Ph.D. dissertation, Tours: Department of Geography, François Rabelais University, OCLC 490432951