Saturday 26 November 2011

Fish market, probably Senegal

I didn't think I'd be able to take part in Sepia Saturday today but then I found this postcard.  It was sent in the 1990s from Gambia, so not so very old and certainly not sepia, but I found it interesting enough to post all the same.

First I tried to identify the fish but that was a mission impossible.  I did come across a list of fish that could be found, but I'm none the wiser.  What I did find was an article written in 2007 lamenting the shortage of fish in Gambia "because of the absence of Senegalese fishermen".  In fact this postcard may well have been bought in Senegal, or possibly designed to be dual purpose, because the text on the back is in both French and English:
Le marché de poissons
Fish market

If you look at a map of Senegal I posted 18 months ago, you can seen that Gambia is almost completely surrounded by Senegal.  The trade rights for the Gambia river were sold by the Portuguese to English merchants in 1588 and that may account for its shape bordering the river, though according to its president, Gambia was one of the oldest and biggest countries in Africa but "was reduced to a small snake by the British government".

Europeans colonising Africa took little, if any, account of ethnic groups and traditional lands so the ancient Senegambian stone circles,  a UNESCO World heritage Site, lie in both Senegal and Gambia.  They are described as the largest concentration of stone circles anywhere in the world, spreading over 15,000 square miles (39,000 sq km), dating from approximately the 8th century.

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  1. That is an interesting postcard. I know very little about Africa. I found the link about stone circles very interesting too.

  2. I enjoyed reading this. Very interesting ~

  3. I find this particularly fascinating because my son spent three months working in the Gambia earlier this year (with the Medical Research Council). I will show him the picture and see if he recognises the fish.

  4. What lovely big fish the ladies are selling. Thanks for the interesting link to the stone circles. Jo

  5. One of those fish would feed us for a week. Thanks for the link to the stone circles - fascinating.

  6. Interesting picture. Mention of Senegal reminds me of the many poor would-be immigrants who have left there in boats to try and reach us here in Lanzarote. Sadly many die in the attempt.

  7. Amazing that you were able to find a fish market postcard! Your collection never ceases to amaze me. Thanks for sharing the background information as well. The stone circles are very interesting.


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