History of The GambiaThe Gambia



A wide variety of ethnic groups live in The Gambia with a minimum of intertribal friction, each preserving its own language and traditions. The Mandinka tribe is the largest, followed by the Fula, Wolof, Jola, and Serahuli. Approximately 2,500 non-Africans live in The Gambia, including Europeans and families of Lebanese origin. Muslims constitute more than 92% of the population. Christians of different denominations account for most of the remainder.

Gambians officially observe the holidays of both religions and practice religious tolerance. More than 80% of Gambians live in rural villages, although more and more young people come to the capital in search of work and education. While urban migration, development projects, and modernization are bringing more Gambians into contact with Western habits and values, the traditional emphasis on the extended family, as well as indigenous forms of dress and celebration, remain integral parts of everyday life. The Gambia was once part of the Empire of Ghana and the Kingdom of the Songhais.

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