Wolof Empire


The Wolof (aka Jolof or Djolof) Empire was a state on the coast of West Africa, located between the Senegal and Gambia rivers, which thrived from the mid-14th to mid-16th century CE. The empire prospered on trade thanks to the two rivers providing access to the resources of the African interior and coastal traffic, commerce which included gold, hides, ivory, and slaves, and which was often carried out with European merchants, notably the Portuguese and then the French. Following the break-up of the Wolof Empire in the 16th century CE, a smaller state persisted, the Wolof Kingdom, into the 19th century CE. The Wolof language is still widely spoken today in Senegal, Gambia, and Mauritania.

More about: Wolof Empire


  • c. 1350 - c. 1550
    The Wolof Empire rules in West Africa.
  • 1455
    The Portuguese adventurer Diogo Gomes establishes trade relations with the Wolof Empire.
  • 1489
    Burba Birao, king of the Wolof Empire, is dethroned by a revolt of conservative tribal leaders.
  • 1490
    The Portuguese launch an unsuccessful expedition against the Wolof Empire in West Africa.