THE GAMBIA

Date of establishment: February 18, 1965

Brief history:

  • 7th century – The first Arab traders arrive in the Gambia region.
  • 13th century – Mandaean empires arise in the region, including the Mali Empire, which also contained the territory of present-day Gambia.
  • 15th century – Portuguese explorer Diogo Gomes arrives in the Gambia (1456).
  • 16th century – The Dutch-English War affects trade in the region and the Dutch gain control of The Gambia.
  • 17th century – The British control The Gambia, which becomes part of the British Empire (1661).
  • 19th century – The Gambia becomes part of the British West African Empire (1821).
  • 1965 – The country gains independence from Britain (February 18, 1965).
  • 1994 – A military coup overthrew the government and installed Colonel Yahya Jammeh (July 22, 1994).
  • 2016 – Yahya Jammeh loses the presidential election and refuses to resign, leading to the intervention of the West African Economic Community and his subsequent exile.

 

International abbreviation: GM

 

Currency: Gambian dalasi (GMD)

Dalasi is divided into 100 bututs. The currency was introduced after The Gambia gained independence in 1965 and replaced the British pound.

Being a smaller and poorer African country, the currency does not have much international trade value and is commonly used only in The Gambia.

 

Internet domain: .gm

 

Dialing code: +220

 

Time zone: -1 GMT

 

Geography:

The Gambia is a country in West Africa that straddles both banks of the Gambia River. It borders only one country, and that is Senegal, with which it shares a 740 km (460 miles) long border. The Gambia is a relatively small country with a maximum length of 338 km (210 miles) in the east-west direction and a maximum width of about 48 km (30 miles).

It is a mostly flat country located in an area called the Senegalese Plain.

The most important rivers are the Gambia, which crosses the country, and its tributary, the Saloum.

 

Highest peak: Lamin Koto 53 m (174 feet) above sea level.

It is located inland about 10 kilometers (6 miles) northeast of the town of Basse Santa Su.

The peak of Lamin Koto reaches an altitude of only 53 meters (174 feet) above sea level and is made up of sand dunes and rocks. Although it is the highest point in the country, it is not a major mountain or a tourist spot.

 

Climate:

The Gambia has a tropical climate with hot and humid summers and mild winters. The average annual temperature ranges between 24 and 29°C (75 and 84°F). The warmest months are from May to October, when average temperatures range from 27 to 32°C (81 to 90°F). The coldest months are from November to April, when average temperatures range from 18 to 23°C (64 to 73°F).

It also has distinct dry and rainy seasons. The dry season is from November to May, while the rainy season is from June to October.

 

Fauna and flora:

The rivers and swampy areas of The Gambia are home to various species of crocodiles, including the Nile crocodile.

The country is a paradise for ornithologists. You can observe many species of birds in the country, such as pelicans, cormorants, ibises, herons, and others.

Although rare in The Gambia, hippos can occasionally be seen in rivers and swamps. Monkeys such as rhesus monkeys and chimpanzees are found in some forested areas. The savannah is inhabited by various species of kudu, antelope, and rodents.

The country has extensive mangroves that grow along the coast and serve as an important refuge for many animal species. There are various types of palm trees that yield fruits and oils.

The Gambia also has baobab trees, also known as “trees of life”. Acacias are trees found in dry areas and they provide shade and food for many species of animals. The Gambia has a variety of orchids and flowers.

 

Agriculture:

The main crops are groundnuts, rice, and cotton. In addition, crops such as maize, yams, cassava, sweet potatoes, beans, peas, and onions, fruits such as papaya, citrus fruits, and mangoes are also grown.

Groundnut plantations are the most widespread type of agriculture in the country, occupying approximately half of all agricultural land in the country. Rice is the second most important crop and is the staple food for the majority of the population. Cotton is exported.

 

Extraction of raw materials:

Virtually no raw materials are mined in The Gambia, as the country does not have significant natural resources. Only a small amount of mineral materials such as quartz, stone and sand are used mainly for construction purposes.

It has no oil, natural gas, or coal resources of its own and is therefore dependent only on imports. However, renewable energy sources such as solar and hydropower are used somewhere in the country to generate electricity for the local population and industry.

 

Industry:

Most industrial activities focus on the processing of agricultural products such as groundnuts and cotton.

Several other products such as textiles, soap, cosmetics, furniture, and wood products are also manufactured.

 

Services and other areas of the economy: tourism and transport

 

Natural and historical attractions: Kiang West and Niokolo-Koba National Parks, and Kunta Kinteh Island.

The country has many natural beauties and cultural monuments that attract tourists from all over the world. The biggest attraction for tourists is the beautiful beaches on the Atlantic coast, where visitors can swim and surf.

Further attractions are the national parks and protected areas, where they can observe many animals and birds, such as monkeys, crocodiles, hippos, and elephants.

It also has many cultural monuments, historical buildings, museums, markets, and villages with traditional houses. Among the most important cultural monuments are Fort James Island, Kunta Kinteh Island, The Gambia National Museum, and Abuko Nature Reserve.

 

Waterparks in The Gambia:

 

Form of government: presidential republic

The Gambia is a presidential republic with a unicameral parliament. The president is the head of state and government. He/she is elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term and may be re-elected only once. The president has broad powers in the country, including the right to appoint the government and judges.

Legislative power in The Gambia is vested in the National Assembly, which has 53 members. Members of parliament are elected for five-year terms in general elections. Parliament is responsible for approving laws, which are then signed by the president.

The judiciary is independent, and judges are appointed by the president on the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission.

 

Capital city: Banjul

Banjul is the capital of Gambia and is located on St. Mary’s Island in the mouth of the Gambia River, not far from the Atlantic Ocean.

The city was founded in 1816 as a trading center for slaves. Many notable institutions are located there such as the National Museum of The Gambia, The National Archives of The Gambia, The Supreme Court of The Gambia and many more.

The city also has a port, important for the country’s economy and trade with other states.

Banjul is a relatively small town with a compact center that consists of traditional African markets, historic buildings, and modern constructions. The city also has several parks and gardens, such as the Arch 22 Memorial Park, which houses a large arch commemorating Gambian independence.

 

Area: 10 689 km2 (4 127 square miles)

 

Population: 2 413 000 (2022)

The Gambia is home to many ethnic groups, the largest being the Mandinka, Wolof, Fula, Jola, and Serer. A smaller number of European and Asian immigrants also live there.

The most widespread religion is Islam, which is followed by approximately 90% of the population. The remaining 10% profess Christianity and traditional African religions.

The official language is English, which serves as a means of communication in schools, government, and the media. This is a legacy of the British colonial era when The Gambia was a British colony. In addition to English, several local languages are also spoken in The Gambia, the most common of which is Wolof. Most of the population lives in the countryside and makes a living from agriculture. Healthcare in The Gambia is not at a high level, and the country is struggling with many health problems such as malaria, Ebola, AIDS, and more.

 

UNESCO World Heritage Sites: 2

 

  1. Kunta Kinteh Island (2003) – Formerly known as James Island, Kunta Kinteh Island lies in the mouth of the Gambia River and is associated with the history of the slave trade. There are several historical sites on the island, such as a fort, a former slave trading post, and a memorial.
  2. Stone circles in Senegambia (2006) – Four large sites of circularly arranged stone columns are part of a burial ground that was created from the 3rd century BCE to the 16th century CE.

 

National parks: 7

 

  1. Abuko National Park
  2. Kiang West National Park
  3. River Gambia National Park
  4. Bao Bolong Wetland Reserve National Park
  5. Niumi National Park
  6. Tanbi Wetlands National Park
  7. Niumi-Saint Louis Wetland National Park