Fast Facts

Population:
1,595,000
Capital:
Banjul; 372,000
Area:
11,295 square kilometers (4,361 square miles)
Language:
English, Mandinka, Wolof, Fula
Religion:
Muslim, Christian
Currency:
Dalasi
Life Expectancy:
53
GDP per Capita:
U.S. $1,800
Literacy Percent:
40
Flag: Gambia
Map: Gambia

Gambia, in West Africa, is a small, narrow country with an outlet to the Atlantic Ocean. In 1588 Britain purchased from Portugal trading rights to this territory extending along both sides of the Gambia River. Independence came in 1965. After nearly 30 years of democratic rule, Gambia's president was ousted by a military coup in 1994. The constitution was rewritten and approved by national referendum in August 1996, and constitutional rule was reestablished in January 1997. Most people are subsistence farmers; the main export is groundnuts (peanuts).

ECONOMY

  • Industry: Processing peanuts, fish, and hides; tourism; beverages; agricultural machinery assembly
  • Agriculture: Rice, millet, sorghum, peanuts; cattle
  • Exports: Peanut products, fish, cotton lint, palm kernels, re-exports

—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition

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