The Wolof

The Wolof are an ethnic group found in Senegal, The Gambia, and Mauritania.
In Senegal, the Wolof form an ethnic plurality where about 43.3% of the population are Wolofs.
In The Gambia, about 16% of the population are Wolof. Here, they are a minority, where the Mandinka are the plurality with 42% of the population, yet Wolof language and culture have a disproportionate influence because of their prevalence in Banjul, The Gambia's capital, where a majority of the population is Wolof.
In Mauritania, about 8% of the population are Wolof. They live largely in the southern coastal region of the country.


The Wolof have been more affected by the West than other Senegalese groups. However, they have the most highly developed sense of national identity of any of the Senegalese. Through the years, they have played a major role in the import-export trade as middlemen and primary producers of the main cash crop, peanuts. They tend to be a major element of the civil service and play an important part in political parties. In fact Wolofs hold a disproportionate share of cabinet posts and seats in the National Assembly. They are highly urbanized and they are the main element in the major cities of Senegal (Dakar, St.Louis, Thies, Kaolack). In the urban areas they may be found in businesses such as fabrics, dressmaking, dyeing, jewellery making, and elaborate hair-dressing.

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