The Gambia gained its independence from Britain on 18 February 1965.
Interesting facts about the Gambia:
– The name “Gambia” is derived from the Mandinka term Kambra/Kambaa, meaning Gambia river. The Gambia River itself is one of Africa’s major rivers.
– The Gambia is the smallest country in mainland Africa.
– For such a tiny country, the Gambia has an impressive stretch of coastline with 50 miles (approx 80 km).
– The Gambia is home to nine different tribes – the largest of these tribes is the Mandinka, along with the Fula and Wolof, all of whom live together harmoniously.
– Islam is the predominantly religion in the Gambia – the country is very tolerant of different religions, with a small number of Christians residing there too.
– During elections, Gambians vote using marbles. In a private booth, voters are presented with holes in the ground marked with each candidate. They then simply drop their marble into the hole they choose.
– Kunte Kinteh Island, formerly known as James Island, was once a major waypoint of the transatlantic slave trade, becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003. On 6 February 2011, at the request of New York artist Chaz Guest to Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, it was renamed to Kunta Kinteh Island to give the island a Gambian name. Furthermore, Kunta Kinte, a character described in Alex Haley’s book and TV series Roots, has become associated with this island.
– There’s close to 600 species of bird in Gambia.
– There is a sacred crocodile pool in Bakau – The Kachikally crocodile pool is home to around 100 crocodiles of varying shapes and sizes.
– The national and most popular sport in Gambia is wrestling.
– The Gambia’s economy relies heavily on tourism, but the second biggest cash crop is groundnuts. Around 80% of the population are employed in this sector.