Idea #671 – Exploring Karabane Island in Casamance in Senegal
Carabane, also called Karabane, is an island located in the far south-west of Senegal, in the mouth of the Casamance River. Paradise site, endowed with a pleasant climate and a luxuriant vegetation, it is also from the historical point of view the first French colonial counter in Casamance. The Portuguese, who have been touring the region since the 16th century in search of wax, ivory and slaves, do not dwell on the “Island of Mosquitoes”, to which they prefer Ziguinchor.
At the end of the 1820s, a mulatto Gorean merchant, Pierre Baudin, moved to Karabane, where he developed the first rice plantations, which still exist today. The Baudin family employed slaves and, despite its abolition in 1848, slavery continued on the island until the beginning of the 20th century. In 1836, Lieutenant Médéric Malavois, private commander of the island of Gorée, went to Casamance in search of a suitable site for a future trading post. The island is ceded to France by the village chief of Kagnout at the price of an annual rent of 39 bars, that is to say 196 francs.
Around 1840, the construction of a large quay 116 meters long allows the docking of the largest ships likely to enter Casamance. A rail pier is set up along the river to facilitate the transfer of goods. Karabane exports rice but also cotton – judged to be of mediocre quality.
Today, access to Karabane only by motorized canoe, mainly from the village of Elinkine, by a crossing of about thirty minutes, after passage to the customs, held by military, because of the proximity of the Guinea Bissau, land of traffic.
Where is it ?
Île Karabane, Casamance, Sénégal