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The Kingdom of Cayor (1549-1879) was the largest and most powerful kingdom that split off from the Empire of Jolof (Diolof), in what is now Senegal. Cayor was located in north and central Senegal, southeast of Waalo, west of the kingdom of Jolof and north of Baol and the Kingdom of Sine.

In 1549, the king, or "Damel", Detie Fu Ndiogu, became independent from Jolof (Djolof). The capital was at Mboul. After the French conquered Waalo, governor Louis Faidherbe annexed Cayor in 1868, but Cayor got its independence restored in 1871. It was defeated and annexed again in 1879 and ceased to be a sovereign state. The kingdom was extinguished in its entirety October 6, 1886.

In addition to Cayor, the Damels also ruled over the Lebou area at Cap-Vert (where modern Dakar is), and they became the "Teignes" (rulers) of the neighboring kingdom of Baol.

Traditionally the Damel himself was not purely hereditary, but was designated by a 4-member council consisting of:

  • the Diawdine Bul, hereditary chief of the Dyambour (free men)
  • the Tchialaw, chief of the canton of Dianbagnane
  • the Botale, chief of the canton of Ndiop, and
  • the Badgie, chief of the canton of Gategne.

A great hero in Senegal history, for his defiance and battles against the French, was Lat Dyor Diop (Lat Dior) He was defeated at the battle of Dekheule, and was deposed twice, in 1869 and 1879. He converted to Islam around 1861.

The 30th and last Damel of Cayor was Samba Laobe Fall, killed at Tivaouane, Senegal.

See also

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