Walo (Wolof: Waalo) was a kingdom on the lower Senegal River in West Africa, in what are now Senegal and Mauritania. It included parts of the valley proper and areas north and south, extending to the Atlantic Ocean. To the north were Moorish emirates; to the south was the kingdom of Cayor; to the east was Jolof.

Kingdom of Walo

Senegambia c. 1707. Waalo marked as Re. d'Oualle ou de Brak in the upper left.
Senegambia c. 1707. Waalo marked as Re. d'Oualle ou de Brak in the upper left.
Common languagesWolof
African traditional religion; Islam
• Waalo founded
• vassal of the Wolof Empire
• French colonization
Succeeded by
French West Africa

Waalo had a complicated political and social system, which has a continuing influence on Wolof culture in Senegal today, especially its highly formalized and rigid caste system. The kingdom was indirectly hereditary, ruled by three matrilineal families: the Logar, the Tedyek and the Joos, all from different ethnic backgrounds. The Joos were of Serer origin. This Serer matriclan was established in Waalo by Lingeer Ndoye Demba of Sine. Her grandmother Lingeer Fatim Beye is the matriarch and early ancestor of this dynasty. These matrilineal families engaged in constant dynastic struggles to become "Brak" or king of Waalo, as well as warring with Waalo's neighbors. The royal title "Lingeer" means queen or royal princess, used by the Serer and Wolof.

Waalo was founded in 1287. The semi-legendary figure NDiadiane Ndiaye, was from this kingdom. The mysterious figure went on to rule the Jolof Empire. Under NDdiadian, Jolof made Waalo a vassal.

The royal capital of Waalo was first Ndiourbel (Guribel) on the north bank of the Senegal River (in modern Mauritania), then Ndiangué on the south bank of the river, then the capital was moved to Nder on the west shore of the Lac de Guiers. Waalo was subject to constant raids for slaves not only from the Moors but also in the internecine wars.

The Brak ruled with a kind of legislature, the Seb Ak Baor, over a complicated hierarchy of officials and dignitaries. Women had high positions and figure prominently in the political and military history.

Waalo had lucrative treaties with the French, who had established their base at the island of Saint-Louis (now Saint-Louis, Senegal) near the mouth of the river. Waalo was paid fees for every boatload of gum arabic or slaves that was shipped on the river, in return for its "protection" of the trade.

Eventually, this protection became ineffective. Vassals of Waalo, like Beetyo (Bethio) split off. In all, Waalo had 52 kings since its founding.

Waalo had its own traditional African religion. The ruling class was slow to accept Islam, which had spread in the valley; the Brak converted only in the 19th century.

Kings of Waalo after the fall of JolofEdit

1674–1708 Naatago Aram Bakar
1708–1733 Njak Aram Bakar Teedyek
1733–1734 Yerim Nadate Bubu
1734–1735 Meu Mbody Kumba Khedy
1735–1736 Yerim Khode Fara Mboj
1736–1780 Njak Xuri Yop
1780–1795? Fara Penda Teg Rel
1795–1805 Njak Kumba Xuri Yay Mboj
1805–1810 Saayodo Yaasin Mboj
1810–1816 Kuli Mbaaba Mboj
1816–1825 Amar Faatim Mborso Mboj
1825 – December 1827 Yerim Mbañik Teg-Rella Mboj
December 1827 – 1830 Fara Penda Adam Sal Mboj first
7. July 1830 – 1832 Xerfi Xari Daaro first
1832–1833 Fara Penda Adam Sal Mboj second
21. July 1833 – 1835 Xerfi Xari Daaro second
1835 – 30. October 1840 Fara Penda Adam Sal Mboj first
November 1840 – February 1855 Mö Mboj Maalik Mboj



  • Barry, Boubacar. Le Royaume du Waalo Le Sénégal avant la Conquête" François Maspéro. 393 pages. Paris 1972.
  • Barry, Boubacar. ’The Subodination of Power and Mercantile Economy : The Kingdom of Waalo 1600-1831 "in The Political Economy of Under-Development, Dependence in Senegal by Rita Cruise O’brien (Ed.) Sage Series on African Mod. and Dev., Vol. 3. California. pp. 39–63.