Casamance, river, c.200 mi (320 km) long, W Africa. It rises in S Senegal and flows westward, emptying in the Atlantic Ocean. The virtually unnavigable river lies in a region of lush floodplains between the enclave of The Gambia and Guinea Bissau. Also called Casamance, the Senegalese region is geographically isolated from the rest of the country by The Gambia, and the Diola (or Jola), not the Wolof, are the primary ethnic group. Casamance was the scene of ethnic tensions and demonstrations for independence in the early 1980s, and guerrilla warfare beginning in the late 1980s. A cease-fire was signed with some of the rebels in 2004, but others have continued to fight. In 2006 fighting erupted in neighboring Guinea-Bissau between Casamance rebels that had established bases there and Bissau troops. The name also appears as Kasamansa.

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.

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