Geography of the Gambia
The Gambia is a small and narrow African country with the border based on the Gambia River. The country is less than 48 km wide at its greatest width; the country's present boundaries were defined in 1889 after an agreement between the United Kingdom and France. It is claimed by Gambians that the distance of the borders from the Gambia River corresponds to the area that British naval cannon of the time could reach from the river's channel. However, there is no historical evidence to support the story, the border was delineated using careful surveying methods by the Franco-British boundary commission. Apart from its coastline, where the Gambia borders the Atlantic Ocean, it is an enclave of Senegal and is by far the smallest country on mainland Africa; the Gambia has a subtropical climate with distinct rainy seasons. From November to mid-May there is uninterrupted dry weather, with temperatures as low as 16 °C in Banjul and surrounding areas. Hot, humid weather predominates the rest of the year, with a rainy season from June to October.
Mean temperatures range from 23 °C in January to 27 °C in June along the coast, from 24 °C in January to 32 °C in May inland. The average annual rainfall ranges from 920 mm in the interior to 1,450 mm along the coast; the grassy flood plain of the Gambia river contains Guinean mangroves near the coast, becomes West Sudanian savanna upriver inland. Location: Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and Senegal Geographic coordinates: 13°28′N 16°34′W Area: total: 11,295 km² land: 10,000 km² water: 1,295 km² comparative: less than Jamaica. Northernmost point – unnamed location on the border with Senegal south of the Senegalese village of Keur Mali Makham, Central River Division Easternmost point – unnamed point on the border with Senegal near the village of Sembagne, Upper River Division Southernmost point – the point at which the border with Senegal enters the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the Allahein River, Western Division Westernmost point - Bijol Islands, Western Division Westernmost point - Solifor Point, Western Division The Gambia Districts of the Gambia Farasuto Forest Community Nature Reserve, the Gambia This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook website https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html
History of West Africa
The history of West Africa began with the first human settlements around 4,000 BCE. It has been divided into its prehistory, the Iron Age in Africa, the major polities flourishing, the colonial period, the post-independence era, in which the current nations were formed. West Africa is west of an imagined north-south axis lying close to 10° east longitude, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and Sahara Desert. Colonial boundaries are reflected in the modern boundaries between contemporary West African states, cutting across ethnic and cultural lines dividing single ethnic groups between two or more states. Early human settlers arrived in West Africa around 12,000 BCE. In the fifth millennium, as the ancestors of modern West Africans began entering the area, the development of sedentary farming began to take place in West Africa; the Iron industry, in both smelting and forging for tools and weapons, appeared in Sub-Saharan Africa by 1200 BCE, by 400 BCE, contact had been made with the Mediterranean civilizations, a regular trade included exporting gold, cotton and leather in exchange for copper, salt and beads.
Culture developed further with the Nok culture, Serer people's ancient history, construction of the Senegambian stone circles. The Sahelian kingdoms were a series of kingdoms or empires that were built on the sahel, the area of grasslands south of the Sahara, they controlled the trade routes across the desert, were quite decentralised, with member cities having a great deal of autonomy. The Ghana Empire may have been established as early as the 7th century CE, it was succeeded by the Sosso in 1230, the Mali Empire in the 13th century CE, by the Songhai and Sokoto Caliphate. There were a number of forest empires and states in this time period. Following the collapse of the Songhai Empire, a number of smaller states arose across West Africa, including the Bambara Empire of Ségou, the lesser Bambara kingdom of Kaarta, the Fula/Malinké kingdom of Khasso, the Kénédougou Empire of Sikasso. European traders first became a force in the region in the 15th century; the transatlantic African slave trade resumed, with the Portuguese taking hundreds of captives back to their country for use as slaves.
As the demand for slaves increased, some African rulers sought to supply the demand by constant war against their neighbours, resulting in fresh captives. European and Haitian governments passed legislation prohibiting the Atlantic slave trade in the 19th century, though the last country to abolish the institution was Brazil in 1888. In 1725, the cattle-herding Fulanis of Fouta Djallon launched the first major reformist jihad of the region, overthrowing the local animist, Mande-speaking elites and attempting to somewhat democratise their society. At the same time, the Europeans started to travel into the interior of Africa to explore. Mungo Park made the first serious expedition into the region's interior, tracing the Niger River as far as Timbuktu. French armies followed not long after. In the Scramble for Africa in the 1880s the Europeans started to colonise the inland of West Africa, they had mostly controlled trading ports along the coasts and rivers. Following World War II, campaigns for independence sprung up across West Africa, most notably in Ghana under the Pan-Africanist Kwame Nkrumah.
After a decade of protests and clashes, French West Africa voted for autonomy in a 1958 referendum, dividing into the states of today. Since independence, West Africa has suffered from the same problems as much of the African continent dictatorships, political corruption and military coups; the development of oil and mineral wealth has seen the steady modernization of some countries since the early 2000s, though inequality persists. West Africa is west of an imagined north-south axis lying close to 10° east longitude; the Atlantic Ocean forms the southern borders of the West African region. The northern border is the Sahara Desert, with the Ranishanu Bend considered the northernmost part of the region; the eastern border is less precise, with some placing it at the Benue Trough, others on a line running from Mount Cameroon to Lake Chad. The area north of West Africa is desert containing the Western Sahara. Ancient West Africa included the Sahara, which became a desert 3000 BCE. During the last glacial period, the Sahara, extending south far beyond the boundaries that now exist.
The part just located at the south of the desert is a semi-arid region, called the Sahel. It is the ecoclimatic and biogeographic zone of transition in Africa between the Sahara desert to the north and the Sudanian Savanna to the south; the Sudanian Savanna is a broad belt of tropical savanna that runs east and west across the African continent, from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Ethiopian Highlands in the east. The Guinean region is a traditional name for the region, it ends at the Sahel. The Guinean Forests of West Africa is a belt of tropical moist broadleaf forests along the coast, running in the west from Sierra Leone and Guinea through Liberia, Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana and Togo, ending at the Sanaga River of Cameroon in the east; the Upper Guinean forests and Lower Guinean forests are divided by the Dahomey Gap, a region of savann
Senegal the Republic of Senegal, is a country in West Africa. Senegal is bordered by Mauritania in the north, Mali to the east, Guinea to the southeast, Guinea-Bissau to the southwest. Senegal borders The Gambia, a country occupying a narrow sliver of land along the banks of the Gambia River, which separates Senegal's southern region of Casamance from the rest of the country. Senegal shares a maritime border with Cape Verde. Senegal's economic and political capital is Dakar; the unitary semi-presidential republic is the westernmost country in the mainland of the Old World, or Afro-Eurasia, owes its name to the Senegal River, which borders it to the east and north. Senegal covers a land area of 197,000 square kilometres and has an estimated population of about 15 million; the climate is Sahelian, though there is a rainy season. From a Portuguese transliteration of the name of the Zenaga known as the Sanhaja, or a combination of the supreme deity in Serer religion and o gal meaning body of water in the Serer language.
Alternatively, the name could derive from the Wolof phrase "Sunuu Gaal," which means "our boat." The territory of modern Senegal has been inhabited by various ethnic groups since prehistory. Organized kingdoms emerged around the seventh century, parts of the country were ruled by prominent regional empires such as the Jolof Empire; the present state of Senegal has its roots in European colonialism, which began during the mid-15th century, when various European powers began competing for trade in the area. The establishment of coastal trading posts led to control of the mainland, culminating in French rule of the area by the 19th century, albeit amid much local resistance. Senegal peacefully attained independence from France in 1960, has since been among the more politically stable countries in Africa. Senegal's economy is centered on commodities and natural resources. Major industries are fish processing, phosphate mining, fertilizer production, petroleum refining, construction materials, ship construction and repair.
As in most African nations, agriculture is a major sector, with Senegal producing several important cash crops, including peanuts, cotton, green beans, tomatoes and mangoes. Owing to its relative stability and hospitality are burgeoning sectors. With it being a multiethnic and secular nation, Senegal is predominantly Sunni Muslim with Sufi and animist influences. French is the official language, although many native languages are recognized. Since April 2012, Senegal's president has been Macky Sall. Senegal has been a member of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie since 1970. Archaeological findings throughout the area indicate that Senegal was inhabited in prehistoric times and has been continuously occupied by various ethnic groups; some kingdoms were created around the 7th century: Takrur in the 9th century and the Jolof Empire during the 13th and 14th centuries. Eastern Senegal was once part of the Ghana Empire. Islam was introduced through Toucouleur and Soninke contact with the Almoravid dynasty of the Maghreb, who in turn propagated it with the help of the Almoravids, Toucouleur allies.
This movement faced resistance from ethnicities of the Serers in particular. In the 13th and 14th centuries, the area came under the influence of the empires to the east. In the Senegambia region, between 1300 and 1900, close to one-third of the population was enslaved as a result of captives taken in warfare. In the 14th century the Jolof Empire grew more powerful, having united Cayor and the kingdoms of Baol, Saloum, Futa Tooro and Bambouk, or much of present-day West Africa; the empire was a voluntary confederacy of various states rather than an empire built on military conquest. The empire was founded by Ndiadiane Ndiaye, a part Serer and part Toucouleur, able to form a coalition with many ethnicities, but collapsed around 1549 with the defeat and killing of Lele Fouli Fak by Amari Ngone Sobel Fall. In the mid-15th century, the Portuguese landed on the Senegal coastline, followed by traders representing other countries, including the French. Various European powers—Portugal, the Netherlands, Great Britain—competed for trade in the area from the 15th century onward.
In 1677, France gained control of what had become a minor departure point in the Atlantic slave trade—the island of Gorée next to modern Dakar, used as a base to purchase slaves from the warring chiefdoms on the mainland. European missionaries introduced Christianity to the Casamance in the 19th century, it was only in the 1850s that the French began to expand onto the Senegalese mainland after they abolished slavery and began promoting an abolitionist doctrine, adding native kingdoms like the Waalo, Cayor and Jolof Empire. French colonists progressively invaded and took over all the kingdoms except Sine and Saloum under Governor Louis Faidherbe. Yoro Dyao was in command of the canton of Foss-Galodjina and was set over Wâlo by Louis Faidherbe, where he served as a chief from 1861 to 1914. Senegalese resistance to the French expansion and curtailing of their lucrative slave trade was led in part by Lat-Dior, Damel of Cayor, Maad a Sinig Kumba Ndoffene Famak Joof, the Maad a Sinig of Sine, resulting in the Battle of Logandème.
On 4 April 1959 Senegal and the French Sudan merged to form the Mali Federation, which became independent on 20 June 1960, as a result of a transfer of power agreement signed with France on 4 April 1960. Due to internal political difficulties, the Federation broke up on 20 August, when
The Gambia River is a major river in West Africa, running 1,120 kilometres from the Fouta Djallon plateau in north Guinea westward through Senegal and the Gambia to the Atlantic Ocean at the city of Banjul. It is navigable for about half that length; the river is associated with The Gambia, the smallest country in mainland Africa, which consists of little more than the downstream half of the river and its two banks. From the Fouta Djallon, the river runs northwest into the Tambacounda Region of Senegal, where it flows through the Parc National du Niokolo Koba is joined by the Nieri Ko and Koulountou before entering the Gambia at Fatoto. At this point the river runs west, but in a meandering course with a number of oxbows, about 100km from its mouth it widens, to over 10km wide where it meets the sea. Near the mouth of the river, near Juffure, is Kunta Kinteh Island, a place used in the slave trade, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On the banks of the river, the Kaira Konko Lodge, a scout camp, is located there.
The aquatic fauna in the Gambia River basin is associated with that of the Sénégal River basin, the two are combined under a single ecoregion known as the Senegal-Gambia Catchments. Although the species richness is moderately high, only three species of frogs and one fish are endemic to this ecoregion. Oysters are harvested from the River Gambia by women and used to make oyster stew, a traditional dish in the cuisine of Gambia. Media related to Gambia River at Wikimedia Commons Gambia River Information & Photos
Politics of the Gambia
Politics of the Gambia takes place within the framework of a presidential republic, whereby the President of the Gambia is both head of state and head of government, of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the parliament; the 1970 constitution of the Gambia, which divided the government into independent executive and judicial branches, was suspended after the 1994 military coup. As part of the transition process, the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council established the Constitution Review Commission through decree in March 1995. In accordance with the timetable for the transition to a democratically elected government, the commission drafted a new constitution for the Gambia, approved by referendum in August 1996; the constitution provides for a presidential system, a unicameral legislature, an independent judiciary, the protection of human rights. Before the coup d'état in July 1994, the Gambia was one of the oldest existing multi-party democracies in Africa.
It had conducted contested elections every 5 years since independence. After the military coup, politicians from deposed President Jawara's People's Progressive Party and other senior government officials were banned from participating in politics until July 2001; the People's Progressive Party, headed by former president Jawara, had dominated Gambian politics for nearly 30 years. The last elections under the PPP regime were held in April 1992. Following the coup, a presidential election took place in September 1996, in which retired Col. Yahya A. J. J. Jammeh won 56% of the vote; the legislative elections held in January 1997 were dominated by the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction, which captured 33 out of 45 seats. In July 2001, the ban on Jawara-era political parties and politicians was lifted. Four registered opposition parties participated in the 18 October 2001 presidential election, which the incumbent, President Yahya Jammeh, won with 53% of the votes; the APRC maintained its strong majority in the National Assembly in legislative elections held in January 2002 after the main opposition United Democratic Party boycotted the legislative elections.
In 2005 the political scenario was changed, as five opposition parties united under the umbrella of the National Alliance for Democracy and Development. NADD thus represented all political opposition forces in the country. Following the registration of NADD the High Court ruled that dual party membership was unconstitutional, as NADD had been registered as a political party all four opposition MPs were dismissed from the National Assembly. By-elections were held on 29 September. On 15 November the same year, three high-ranking NADD leaders were arrested on the grounds of subversion. On 21 and 22 March 2006, amid tensions preceding the 2006 presidential elections, an alleged planned military coup was uncovered. President Yahya Jammeh was forced to return from a trip to Mauritania, many suspected army officials were arrested, prominent army officials, including the army chief of staff, fled the country. There are claims circulating that this whole event was fabricated by the President incumbent for his own devious purposes—however the veracity of these claims is not known, as no corroborating evidence has as yet been brought forward.
It is doubtful whether the full truth will be known however, as anyone with any evidence would not be to come forward with it in light of the poor human rights record of the National Intelligence Agency, their well-known penchant for torturing and detaining indefinitely anyone who speaks up against the Government. The next presidential election took place on 22 September 2006; the nominations for party presidential candidates were held on 28 August 2006, amid reports of the Government intimidating and unfairly detaining Opposition members and sympathisers, of using the machineries of state, to gain an unfair advantage during political campaigns. These reports follow a publicised signing of a Meromandum of Understanding between the Government and Opposition parties, initiated by the Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo during a recent visit to the country. Incumbent president, Yahya Jammeh, was reelected. On 31 December 2014, a coup was attempted when a military deserter along with supporters attacked the presidential palace.
The coup failed and the alleged ringleader, Lamin Sanneh, was amongst those killed by forces loyal to Jammeh. Following the 1 December 2016 elections, the elections commission declared Adama Barrow the winner of the presidential election. Jammeh, who had ruled for 22 years, first announced he would step down after losing the 2016 election before declaring the results void and calling for a new vote, sparking a constitutional crisis and leading to an invasion by an ECOWAS coalition. On 20 January 2017, Jammeh announced that he had agreed to step down and would leave the country allowing Barrow to take up office. Prime Minister of the Gambia The president is elected by popular vote for a five-year term; the president appoints the members of the Cabinet. The National Assembly has 53 members, 48 members elected for a five-year term and 4 members appointed; the Gambia was a one party dominant state when the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction was in power. Opposition parties were allowed, but were considered to have no real chance of gaining power.
Supreme Court of The Gambia. Until
The Trans-Gambia Highway is the most important road in The Gambia, running across the centre of the nation in a north-south direction. Within the Gambia, the highway consists of two main stretches, the North Bank Road and South Bank Road, each corresponding to the parts of the country on either side of the River Gambia; the two roads connect to each other, via car ferry across the River Gambia, at the village of Fatoto, at the far eastern end of the country. The more centrally located Senegambia bridge opened in January 2019; the road is economically important for Senegal, in which it is designated as the N4 road. The Gambia is an elongated state forming a country, surrounded by Senegal; the Gambia separates the Casamance region from the remainder of Senegal. The southern portion of the Trans-Gambia Highway begins in the island capital city, before crossing onto the mainland at the Denton Bridge. From here, the route passes through metropolitan Kombo and the principal cities of Kanifing and Yundum, where it passes near the Banjul International Airport.
Leaving the capital, the route proceeds along the full length of the southern half of the country, connecting the major towns of Brikama, Janjanbureh and Basse Santa Su before terminating at Fatoto. At Soma, the highway intersects with an extension of the Trans-Gambia Highway that provides northward access to the town of Farafenni, on Gambia's northern bank, via the newly-opened Senegambia Bridge. If taken south into Senegal, N4 provides access to Ziguinchor; as of 2019, the South Bank Road is paved for its entire length. Aside from a short four-lane section in Kombo, the road is a two lane highway; the northern portion of the highway begins at the Banjul -- Barra Ferry. Heading eastward, the route traverses the full northern half of the country, passing through the major towns of Farafenni, Wassu and Sutukoba before reaching the river ferry at Fatoto. At Farafenni, the highway connects with the extension of the Trans-Gambia Highway that crosses the River Gambia at the Senegambia Bridge, linking the northern half of the Gambia with the town of Soma and points southward in Senegal.
Taking N4 northward, leads into Senegal, in the direction of Kaolack and Dakar. As of 2019, the North Bank Road is paved for the distance between Barra and Laminkoto, with the remaining section under construction; the road is two lanes for its entire length. The Trans-Gambia Highway provides the most important connection between the two parts of Senegal; as the N4, it runs from Kaolack and Nioro, across Gambia and into Bignona and Ziguinchor in the Casamance. The actual Gambian section is only 25 km long. With establishment of the Gambia River Development Organization in 1978, plans for a bridge were developed. Despite being raised, these plans have not come to fruition. In August 2005, the Gambia River Authority doubled the prices for the ferry crossing. In response, the Government of Senegal closed; the prices were reduced at the beginning of October, but Senegal felt the issue was unresolved and threatened that they would construct a tunnel under Gambia, with the claimed support of China. President of the Gambia Yahya Jammeh and President of Senegal Abdoulaye Wade met on 21 October 2005 and reached an agreement over the fare and a basis for its future calculation.
The bridge construction project was again placed into the foreground. Transport in Gambia Transport in Senegal