Gambia

Gambia

Facts & figures

Full name: Republic of The Gambia

Population: 1.8 million (UN, 2012)

Capital: Banjul

Area: 11,295 sq km (4,361 sq miles)

Major languages: English (official), Mandinka, Wolof, Fula

Major religions: Islam, Christianity

Life expectancy: 58 years (men), 60 years (women) (UN)

Monetary unit: 1 dalasi = 100 butut

Main exports: Peanuts and peanut products, fish, cotton lint, palm kernel

GNI per capita: US $500 (World Bank, 2011)

Internet domain: .gm

International dialling code: +220




Map

Leader

President: Yahya Jammeh

Mr Jammeh has been accused of intolerance to criticism and dissent

Yahya Jammeh seized power in 1994 as a young army lieutenant and has won four widely criticised multi-party elections since then.




Travel

Visa & travel advice

UK Visitor Visas are required by many foreigners wishing to enter the UK for short stays. Whether you need a visitor visa depends on your nationality, the purpose of your visit and how long you need to stay.

The UK Visitor Visa category includes a number of specific visitor visas that allow people to holiday, visit family, get married, study a short course, sit the PLAB and many other purposes.

  • Best period

Gambia sees sunshine year-round, but it has a rainy season (June through September), during which the country’s lush foliage and the rushing water of the Gambia River are at their finest. We prefer to visit between November and June, when almost no rain falls and temperatures are lower.

  • Safety

The U.S. Department of State’s consular website has a great deal of information about safety and security in Gambia. It can’t be repeated often enough: be sensible when you travel. Be alert and aware about your surroundings.

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation has created a security ratings system called the Ibrahim Index, wherein scores are based on each country’s quality of government. Before traveling to South Africa or anywhere on the continent, check the index and do your research.

 

History

The modern-day Gambia was once part of the Mali and Songhai Empires.

The first written accounts of the region come from records of Arab traders in the 9th and 10th centuries AD. In medieval times the area was dominated by the trans-Saharan trade. The Mali Empire, most renowned for the Mandinka ruler Mansa Kankan Musa, brought worldwide recognition to the region due to its enormous wealth, scholarship, and civility. The North African scholar and traveler Ibn Battuta visited the area in 1352 and said this about its inhabitants:


Arts & Culture

  • Music :

The music of the Gambia is closely linked musically with that of its neighbor, Senegal, which surrounds its inland frontiers completely. Among its prominent musicians is Foday Musa Suso. Mbalax is a widely known popular dance music of the Gambia and neighbouring Senegal. It fuses popular Western music and dance, with sabar, the traditional drumming and dance music of the Wolof and Serer people.

 

  • Literature

Gambian literature is the literature that’s produced by Gambians and some of it could also be literature that’s produced by people who live in the Gambia but may not be from here. What most people don’t know is that Gambian literature is actually hundreds of years old. It began with Philis Wheatley who was a woman born in the Senegambian region, taken to the United States as a slave and became the first African-American published poet in the US. A lot of people in the US know her history but a lot of people in the Gambia don’t know her history. She’s one of the first Gambian writers. And then of course we have the contemporary writers: Lenrie Peters, Nana Grey-Johnson, Sally Singhateh, etc. We have a number of living authors who are part of our cultural heritage now.

 

  • Film industry

The Gambia gained its independence from the UK in 1965; it formed a short-lived federation of Senegambia with Senegal between 1982 and 1989. In 1991 the two nations signed a friendship and cooperation treaty. A military coup in 1994 overthrew the president and banned political activity, but a new 1996 constitution and presidential elections, followed by parliamentary balloting in 1997, completed a nominal return to civilian rule. The country undertook another round of presidential and legislative elections in late 2001 and early 2002.

 

  • Famous monuments

Arch 22

 

 

SENEGAMBIA / WASSU STONE CIRCLES

 

 

FORT BULLEN

 

 

  • Architecture history

Banjul is the only real urban center in Gambia. It has a typical former British colonial feel to it. The administrative buildings are built in the center of the city, tending toward Edwardian "majesty." Many of the buildings are done in pastel colors with huge gardens. The colonial bungalow is a typical form of architecture. Squatter settlements resembling poorer versions of rural settlements dot the area. There are large public areas in the British style.




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