Casamance (Casamança) is the area of Senegal south of The Gambia including the Casamance River. It consists of Basse Casamance (Baixa Casamança [Lower Casamance]) (Ziguinchor Region) and Haute Casamance (Alta Casamança [Upper Casamance]) (Kolda Region). Ziguinchor is its largest town.
Low-lying and hot, with some hills to the southeast, the economy of the Casamance relies largely on rice cultivation and tourism. It also has excellent beaches along its coastline, particularly at Cap Skirring.
The Jola are the dominant ethnic group in the Casamance, though they are economically disadvantaged as a whole in Senegal. Their economic condition has contributed to a separatist movement for the independence or autonomy of the Casamance, MFDC (MFDC) . The Casamance Conflict has, at times, led to violent confrontations with Senegalese forces and killings for decades at the end of the 20th century.
The Casamance was subject to both French and Portuguese colonial efforts before a border was negotiated in 1888 between the French colony of Senegal and Portuguese Guinea (now Guinea-Bissau) to the south, Portuguese losing the possession of Casamance, then the commercial hub of their colony. Casamance, to this day, has preserved the local variant of Kriol known as Ziguinchor Creole and the members of deep-rooted Creole community carry Portuguese surnames like Da Silva, Carvalho and Fonseca. Interest in Portuguese colonial heritage has been revived in order to exalt a distinct identity, particularly of Baixa Casamança.
The Casamance has average rainfall greater than the rest of Senegal.