The Gambia

Posted by khethiwe qotyana on 09 April 2018 10:30 AM SAST
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The Gambia, country in western Africa situated on the Atlantic coast and surrounded by the neighbouring country of Senegal. It occupies a long narrow strip of land that surrounds the Gambia River. The land is flat and is dominated by the river, which is navigable throughout the length of the country.

  • The Gambia. Political map: boundaries, cities. Includes locator.
  • The port of Banjul, near the mouth of the Gambia River, in The Gambia
 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
The port of Banjul, near the mouth of the Gambia River, in The Gambia Kjell Johansson/Ostman Agency

The peculiar shape and size of the country are the result of territorial compromises made during the 19th century by Great Britain, which controlled the lower Gambia River, and France, which ruled the neighbouring colony of Senegal. Periodic talks in the 20th century to unite The Gambia and Senegal led to the short-lived Senegambiaconfederation (1982–89).

The Gambia
The Gambia Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

The Gambia is Africa’s smallest nonisland country. It is also one of Africa’s most densely populated countries. A few towns are located upriver, but most Gambians live in rural villages. The major ethnic groups are similar to those in Senegal and consist of the majority Malinke and also include WolofFulani (Fulbe), Diola (Jola), and Soninke peoples. The Gambian economy is heavily dependent on peanut (groundnut) production and export.

The country is known for the beaches along its small Atlantic coastline and for being home to Jufureh (Juffure), the reputed ancestral village of Kunta Kinte, the main character in Alex Haley’s well-known novel Roots. The capital, Banjul (called Bathurst until 1973), is situated where the Gambia River flows into the Atlantic Ocean.

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