“The Soninke, also called Sarakole, Seraculeh, or Serahuli, are a West African ethnic group found in eastern Senegal and its capital Dakar, northwestern Mali and Foute Djalon in Guinea, and southern Mauritania. They speak the Soninke language, also called Maraka language, which is one of the Mande languages.

Predominantly Muslims, the Soninke were one of the early ethnic groups from Sub-Saharan West Africa to convert to Islam in about the 10th century. The contemporary population of Soninke people is estimated to be over 2 million.

Soninke people were the founders of the ancient empire of Ghana c. 750-1240 CE. Subgroups of Soninke include the Maraka and Wangara. When the Ghana empire dispersed, the resulting diaspora brought Soninkes to Mali, Senegal, Mauritania, Gambia, Burkina Faso, and Guinea-Bissau where some of this trading diaspora was called Wangara. The cultural practices of Soninke people are similar to the Mande peoples, and those of the Imraguen of Mauritania. It includes traditional Islamic rites of marriages, circumcision and social stratification.”