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Senegal has been a member of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie since 1970.
Archaeological findings throughout the area indicate that Senegal was inhabited in prehistoric times and has been continuously occupied by various ethnic groups.
In the 13th and 14th centuries, the area came under the influence of the empires to the east; the Jolof Empire of Senegal was also founded during this time.
In the Senegambia region, between 13, close to one-third of the population was enslaved, typically as a result of captives taken in warfare.
Senegal also borders The Gambia, a country occupying a narrow sliver of land along the banks of the Gambia River, which separates Senegal's southern region of Casamance from the rest of the country.
In 1677, France gained control of what had become a minor departure point in the Atlantic slave trade—the island of Gorée next to modern Dakar, used as a base to purchase slaves from the warring chiefdoms on the mainland.
Major industries are fish processing, phosphate mining, fertilizer production, petroleum refining, construction materials, and ship construction and repair.