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Republic of Gambia


Population: 1.5 million (UN, 2005)

Capital: Banjul

Ethnic groups: Mandinka 39.5%, Fula 18.8%, Wolof 14.6%, Jola 10.6%, Serahule 8.9%, Serere 7.8%, Krio/Aku Marabout 1.8%, Manjago 0.8%, Bambara 0.7%, other Gambians 1.2%, no declaration 0.3%

Major languages: English (colonial), indigeno Mandinka, Wolof, Fula, other indigenous languages are also used

Major religion: Muslim 95%, Christian 4%, Indigenous practices 0.08%

Main exports: Peanuts and peanut products, fish, cotton lint, palm kernels

Creation Story

Shared with Mali and Senegal: The Mande people of southern Mali think that at first Mangala was alone. Although Mangala did not have a physical form (he was “perceived to be a round, energetic presence” he was troubled by having matter inside of him. After removing the matter he tried to turn it into a seed. This first seed fell apart, but instead of giving up, Mangala decided to try again. This time, he used two seeds and placed them inside of a womb. The seeds transformed into fish. One of these fish, Pemba, tried to escape and in doing so created Earth but almost destroyed the womb. Mangala used Pemba's brother Farro and salvaged his creation by turning it into the sun. Farro was turned into a human and populated the Earth with his followers, which became the horonw. Then another being, Sourakata came down from the sky and became the first nyamakalaw.

Did you Know?

Gambia is the smallest country on the African continental mainland and is known as the smiling coast of Africa because its people are very hospitable and tolerant. Gambians see themselves as reflecting the diverse indigenous groups within their country and relate to each other as cousins of the same family. Gambia is also referred to as the melting pot of West Africa because it has all the nationalities from West Africa. Men Playing MusicSerer, Serahule, Jola, Fula, Mandinka, and Wolof language groupings could be found in the place we now call The Gambia at various periods during the pre-colonial times. Some of these language groups had kings who established different states. There were no big Mandinka, Wollof, Fula, Jola, Serer, Serahule speaking kingdoms which involved only the members of each language grouping. All these groupings could be found in settlements where the predominant language was Mandinka.
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