The Portuguese were the first Europeans to trade with Senegal in the 15th century. They were soon followed by the Dutch and the French. During the 19th century the French gradually established control over Senegal until eventually they made it a colony in 1920. After Senegal attained independence form France in 1960, French became its official languag,e while Wolof, Pulaar, Jola, and Madinka have ramined the principal languages of Senegal.
Wolof is a language spoken in Senegal, the Gambia, and Mauritania, and it is the native language of the ethnic group of the Wolof people. It belongs to the Atlantic branch of the Niger-Congo language family. Wolof is the most widely-spoken language in Senegal, and it is rapidly becoming the national vernacular. Members of other ethnic groups are increasingly learning Wolof as a second language, especially in the urban areas. It was recently estimated that 80 percent of Senegalese speak Wolof.