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Gambia Facts for Kids

The Gambia is also known as the Republic of the Gambia, is a West African country that is almost entirely bordered by Senegal with the Atlantic Ocean on the western coastline.

Gambia Facts for Kids

  • The country’s total land area is 10,689 sq km (4,127 sq miles) with the capital city being Banjul and the largest city being serekunda.
  • The total population of the country is 2,051,363 (est. in 2017).
  • The official language is English with some national languages being Mandinka, Jola, Serer, Wolof and Fula.
  • The country gained independence on February 18, 1965 from the United Kingdom.
  • The national anthem is “For The Gambia Our Homeland”.
  • The national motto is “Progress, Peace, Prosperity”.
  • The people of Gambia are called Gambian with the major religion being Islam which accounts for 90% of the country population’s belief with the remaining 10% being local religions and Christianity.
  • The currency used is called Dalasi (GMD).
  • Natural resources are scarce in the country.
  • The major industries are beverages, woodworking, processing peanuts, agricultural machinery assembly, clothing, metal working, fish and tourism.
  • The country makes $132 million on exportation of fish, palm kernels, cotton lint and peanut and peanut products while it spends $201 million on importation of fuel, machinery and transport equipment, manufactures and foodstuff.
  • Gambia’s earliest known settlers were the Jola or Diola tribe people which as of now stand from 10% of the total population
  • The first Europeans to reach Gambia were Antoniotti Usodimare and Luiz de Cadamosto who were Portuguese captains in 1455. In 1661, British Settlement established the first slave trade on the site of Gambia.
  • Descendents of Kunta Kinte are said to reside in Jufureh which is a Gambian town known to tourist as the place where Alex Haley’s novel Roots: the saga of an American Family is set. The town which is located 30km inland on the River Gambia’s north bank is also a museum lying near James island.
  • Gambians are known to be very polite and when they greet people, they take their time and ask about the family of the person as well as his/her health and activities. They are also known to be very trustworthy and trusting, so when you say “I will see you later”, they expect you to come back and see them.
  •  Gambians believe that a boy who has just been recently circumcised is vulnerable to voodoo magic, witches and evil spirits attack.
  • There are no major or important natural resources or mineral and the agricultural potential is quite limited so more than 70% of the country’s population live based on the food from crops and livestock. Peanut is actually the country’s major export and they do make money from it but not enough to sustain basic amenities so they have to depend on foreign help to get by.
  • Even though the country is a Muslim country, the country isn’t that strict and you can drink alcohol, they are widely sold and even have a popular and ubiquitous Julbrew that makes their own beer. The liberty of the country’s Muslim community is well known but it is still appreciated when in the country or walking on the roads that you dress appropriately so you should always cover your bellies and your shoulders and miniskirts are definitely not allowed and for the men, you should always go out with a t-shirt.
  • Festivals are very important to the country and every early January, the Muslim community celebrates “TOBASKI”, the tobaski celebration is done by buying a sheep then killing it and sharing the meat between relatives, people who can’t afford and yourself. The wealthy citizens of the country are the ones that mostly celebrate this festival as they can easily afford it.
  • Gambia have package tours that invite tourist to laze and linger on their beaches and within reach of the atlantic resort is the fishing villages, ecolodges and small wildlife for the bird lovers.
  • Sunbathing on the white beaches are enjoyed by tourist and there are more than 569 species of birds that the bird lovers would love.
  • There is a rehabilitation centre for chimpanzees which is called baboon island and visited by humans is not allowed.
  • 10miles(16km) from the capital Banjul, in the heart of Bakau is Kachikally crocodile pool which is a sacred site used for fertility rituals. It is also one of three of these sacred crocodile pools with Berending on the north bank and Folonko in Kombo south are the other two.
  • The most common name in the country for men is “Lamin”, it is like “Joe” in America.