GeographyThe Gambia is situated in West Africa, which is why todays six-hour flight from Britain causes very little jet lag. It is equidistant from the Equator and 30N being the approximate latitudinal extent.15-13the Tropic of Cancer, 13 The area counts 11,295 sq. kilometers (4361 sq. miles). The north and south bounders are with Senegal. The widest point is 48 kilometers (30 miles). It also borders the north Atlantic Ocean on the west. In The Gambia, the River Gambias initial width of 600 feet is constricted to a twenty-foot channel by the Barrow kunda Falls. The administrative regions are: Banjul, Kombo St. Mary, Western Division, Lower River Division, North Bank Division, Central River Division and Upper River Division.
Population 1,7 Million people are living in The Gambia (UN, 50,08% males and 49,92% females. The above-average ration of people of 2003) space is due more to the lack of latter than to over-explosive growth. The apparently high rate of demographic expansion 4,2% per annum ; is explained by immigration, mainly of refugees of wars in neighboring states. The Gambias natural increase is 2,7% per annum. The Gambian people acknowledge themselves to be Mandinka (39,60%), Fula (18,83%), Wolof (14,61%), Jola (10,66%), Serahuli (8,92%), Creoles or Aku (0,69%), Manjago (1,85%), Bambara (0,94%) and other Gambians (1,23%).
Languages Each of the ethnic groups has their own distinct language. But most of the Gambians can speak both Mandinka and Wolof. The official language of The Gambia is English, which is used in the administration, schools and the law courts. French is taught in some secondary and high schools and some of the staff in hotels, restaurants and excursions agencies speak other European languages such as German, Italian, Dutch, French and Scandinavian languages.
Religion The Gambia is for a big part an Islamic country. There are about 85% Muslims. About 10% belongs to the Roman-Catholic, Methodist and Anglican Church. Animism as a religion disappeared, but it still plays a role in the African daily life of some people (even Muslims and Christians).
Political structure The Gambia became independent in 1965 and since 26 April 1970 The Gambia is a sovereign republic with a multi-party of Government headed by a President who is elected by universal adult suffrage every five years. The President and his Secretaries of State (the Cabinet) form the Executive. A 42-member National Assembly (also elected every five years) constitute the Legislature while a set of independent judges; magistrates and barristers form the Judiciary. In 1964 the first elections were held. The elections are held according to a district system like in England. The Gambia is divided in five divisions (provinces), which are subdivided into 45 districts.
Economy The Gambia is primarily an agricultural nation growing groundnuts, rice, maize, millet and other cereals and horticulture. Agriculture and fisheries combined account for nearly 60% of the Gross Domestic Product. Small amounts of spices, mangos, papayas, cotton, millet, bananas and palm oil are exported to Guinea-Bissau, Great Britain, Holland, France, Mali and Senegal. Other important export goods are fish and products made of fish. Goods that are imported are machines, oils, chemicals and textiles. These goods come from China, Great Britain, Holland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Belgium and Senegal. Tourism is also a very important sector of the economy. It has become the biggest foreign exchange earner for the country and provides more than 25% of GDP. The industry provides employment for more than 10,000 Gambians.
Agriculture The principal crops, which are harvest in The Gambia, are groundnuts, rice, cotton, maize, millet and sorghum, market-garden produce and sesame, recently introduced.