Muslim people of Senegal, The Gambia, and Mauretania. They speak a language of the Atlantic branch of the Niger-Congo family. In the 14th–16th century the Wolof maintained a powerful empire. Traditional Wolof society was highly stratified, consisting of royalty, an aristocracy, a warrior class, commoners, slaves, and members of despised artisan castes. Today most Wolof (numbering some 5 million) are farmers, but many live and work in Dakar, Senegal, and Banjul, The Gambia. Wolof women are renowned for their elaborate hair styles, abundant gold ornaments, and voluminous dresses. Nearly half the people of Senegal are Wolof.
Learn more about Wolof with a free trial on Britannica.com.