While in the mid-1400s the Portuguese were the first Europeans to reach the area around the Senegal river estuary, in succeeding centuries the French became the dominant Europeans on the coast in that area, except for The Gambia, where the British were installed. The French founded Saint-Louis in 1659 and also occupied the island of Goree, an important slave-trading depot. In the 19th century French rule, interrupted earlier by occasional British occupation, was confirmed over Saint-Louis and Goree. Free Africans received the vote in 1833 and the franchise was further extended in 1848 when slavery was abolished in all French colonies. The Africans in Saint-Louis and Goree, and also in Dakar and Rufisque, were called the originaires and had the rights of French citizens. They elected a deputy to the French national Assembly and voted for local communes.
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