The Gambia is a small West African country, bounded by Senegal, with a narrow Atlantic coastline. It’s known for its diverse ecosystems around the central Gambia River. Abundant wildlife in its Kiang West National Park and Bao Bolong Wetland Reserve includes monkeys, leopards, hippos, hyenas and rare birds. The capital, Banjul, and nearby Serrekunda offer access to beaches.
The Gambia is a very small and narrow country whose borders seem to follow the path of the meandering Gambia River, and at less than 30 miles wide at its widest point, nearly 10% of the country’s land area is covered by water. The Gambia River itself is one of Africa’s major rivers. It stretches 1,130 km (700 miles) from northwestern Guinea all the way to the Atlantic Ocean at the city of Banjul. It is navigable for about half of that length. The remainder of Gambia’s terrain is a grassy flood plain with Guinean mangroves covering the landscape as you move closer to the coastline; the Sudanian Savanna lies further inland. The highest point of the country is an unnamed hill at 174 ft (53 m), and the lowest point is the Atlantic Ocean (0 m).
Key cities in The Gambia include: Sarekunda, Brikama, Bakau, Banjul, Farafenni, Lamin, and Basse Santa.
Historical, Cultural facts & Religion
The first written records of the region come from Arab traders in the 9th and 10th centuries. In medieval times, the region was dominated by the Trans-Saharan trade and was ruled by the Mali Empire. In the early 17th century, the French attempted to settle the Gambia but failed.
The Gambia is a former British Colony and the official language is English but there are also several tribal languages including Mandinka and Wolof. Educated in English, most Gambians are at least bilingual.
In the Gambia 90% of the population are mostly Sunni Muslims, making them the largest religious group, followed by 9% for Christians & 1% who still practice traditional beliefs.
Brief Country History
By about 500 AD a sophisticated culture existed in Gambia, which was able to build stone circles. Shortly afterwards trade across the Sahara with the Arabs began and it later flourished. As a result of the trade powerful states were built in western Africa. In the 13th century the Empire of Mali grew up in the region. However, it went into decline in the 15th century and a people called the Mandinka migrated to the Gambia River.
Meanwhile in the 15th century the Portuguese began to sail along the coast of Africa. By 1500 they had built settlements on the Gambia River and slaves and gold were being sent from there to Portugal. In return the Portuguese gave the Africans guns and cloth. However, by the early 17th century the English, Dutch and French were also trading in West Africa and by the 1650s the Dutch had been ousted. For 150 years afterwards the Europeans made huge profits by transporting African slaves across the Atlantic.
However, it was finally the British who took control of Gambia. Britain abolished the slave trade in 1807 but the settlers in Gambia made profits by growing peanuts.
Gambia became a British protectorate in 1820 and a colony in 1886 (after the Europeans divided up Africa among themselves). However, the British government was unenthusiastic about Gambia as it contained little wealth and it was surrounded by French territory (Senegal). There was little attempt to develop the colony of Gambia or to build infrastructure in it.
Finally, in the early 1960s parts of Africa became independent. Gambia became independent in 1965 with David Jawara as its first prime minister and for the first 10 years of independence Gambia was a prosperous country. The price of groundnuts was high and tourists flocked to the country. Unfortunately, in the late 1970s the price of groundnuts fell and there were 2 attempted coups in Gambia in 1980 and 1981. Jawara survived both and he won elections in 1982, 1987 and 1992.
However, the price of groundnuts fell further in the late 1980s and discontent grew in Gambia. Finally, in 1994 Jawara was ousted in a coup and Yahya Jammeh became ruler of Gambia. In 1996 a new constitution was introduced in Gambia and Jammeh won a presidential election. Jammeh won a second presidential election in 2001. In 2013 Gambia left the Commonwealth. Then in December 2016 Adama Barrow was elected president of Gambia. Today Gambia is still a poor country but the economy is growing steadily. Tourism in Gambia is thriving. Today Gambia is developing rapidly. Today the population of Gambia is 2 million.
Language (s) Written & Spoken
There are at least 10 languages spoken in Gambia by the various ethnic groups. Apart from English which is the official language spoken in schools and public offices there is also Wolof, Serer-Sine, Sarahole, Pulaar, Maninkakan, Mandjaque, Mandingo, Jola-Fonyi and the Aku’s Creole (pidgin English).
In the Gambia, Mandingo is spoken as a first language by 38% of the population, Pulaar by 21%, Wolof by 18%, Soninke by 9%, Jola by 4.5%, Serer by 2.4%, Manjak and Bainouk by 1.6% each, and Portuguese Creole by 1%. Several other languages are spoken by smaller numbers. Gambian Sign Language is used by the deaf.
Important Types of Commerce in The Gambia
The nation’s economy is mainly reliant on tourism and rain-fed agriculture. The nation’s economy is fragile and vulnerable to external shocks. Important industries in the Gambia are:
- Agricultural Processing Industries
- Livestock Sector
- Horticultural Sector
Language Services US and others will provide working with Gambia
People can move from one place to another due to various reasons. Therefore, interpreting is necessary to ease understanding in communication. Some of the reasons may be adventure, fleeing wars, employment, business and many others. Business, law, education, research, engineering, manufacturing, medical and some of the many fields that requires professional translation and interpretation services when doing business in The Gambia. Proper understanding and knowledge of the local terminologies used is highly essential for essential and quality language service. Wolof, Serer-Sine, Sarahole, Pulaar, Maninkakan, Mandjaque, Mandingo, Jola-Fonyi and the Aku’s Creole (pidgin English) are two major language spoken in The Gambia. Industry doing business with The Gambia will require accurate and consistent Wolof, Serer-Sine, Sarahole, Pulaar, Maninkakan, Mandjaque, Mandingo, Jola-Fonyi and the Aku’s Creole (pidgin English) language services to grasp the wider market.
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