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GAMBIA - BANJUL
THE REPUBLIC OF THE GAMBIA
• The Gambia is located in West Africa on the Atlantic coast and is entirely surrounded by Senegal.
• The first known European to visit the Gambia was when Venetian explorer Alvise Ca’ da Mosto – in the service of Portugal’s Prince Henry the Navigator arrived in 1455.
• The Gambia was once part of the Empire of Ghana from the 5th to 11th century and then later the Empire of Mali from the 13th century.
• The Gambia was a British protectorate from 1894 until 1965 when it gained independence with Dawda Jawara as prime minister.
- • The UNESCO-listed Kunta Kinteh Island, a small island in the Gambia River that was formerly known as James Island. The island played a pivotal role in the slave trade when captives were transported downriver from the 1500s to the early 1800s.
• The Gambia is amongst the smallest countries in continental Africa. Only the island nations of Cape Verde, Comoros, Mauritius, São Tomé, Príncipe, and Seychelles are smaller.
• In 1964, one year before gaining independence from the UK, then Prime Minister Dawda Jawara wrote to the Permanent Committee on Geographical Names and requested The Gambia keep ‘The’ in their name so as to avoid confusion with Zambia who was also about to gain independence.
• The Gambia achieved independence on 18 February 1965, as a constitutional monarchy within the Commonwealth, with Elizabeth II as Queen of The Gambia, represented by the Governor-General.
• The Gambia became one of the few countries to leave the Commonwealth when in 2013, the then-president Yahya Jammeh called it a “neo-colonial institution”. However, in 2018, the country rejoined.
• The Gambia River is famous for its diverse wildlife which includes almost 600 species of bird as well as manatees, hippos, crocodiles and troops of wily colobus monkeys.
• For decades, Gambians used to cast votes in elections with marbles instead of ballot papers. The system was introduced in the early 1960s to address high levels of illiteracy in the country.
• The Gambia has 50 miles of coastline. For such a tiny country, The Gambia has an impressive stretch of coastline. It's these uncrowded sandy beaches and year-round sunshine that make The Gambia so popular with British holiday makers in search of a beach holiday.
- • The Kachikally Crocodile Pool is considered a sacred site by Gambians. Crocodiles represent the power of fertility in the Gambia, so women who encounter problems with conceiving often visit the crocodile-infested pool to pray and wash.
• The Gambia was where Lucy, a celebrity chimpanzee who was raised as a human by American psychotherapists, lived for several years. Lucy learnt to dress herself, serve tea and use sign language before she was re-wilded under the care of psychology student Janis Carter in the Gambia in 1979. Carter lived with Lucy for nearly seven years.
- • Normally, clothes in Gambia include long flowing items , for women these clothes often go down to the ankles and up to the wrists. Also women should cover their heads.
- • The cuisine of The Gambia includes peanuts, rice, fish, meat, onions, tomatoes, cassava, chili peppers and oysters from the River Gambia.
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