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Kunta Kinteh Island – The Sorry State of Gambia’s Most Important Historical Site on Brink of Disappearing

Once named James Island by colonialists seeking to scramble every sector of Africa, the Kunta Kinteh island is not only a famous site but historical and a tourist attraction centre.


A small piece of a land, towering baobab trees with a dilapidated mini-bridge is the first view, looking from a distance.


In it, is ancient brick walls built by various European colonialists fighting to gain absolute control over the island located in Juffureh, north bank of Albreda.
The surrounding water made it a strategic docking point for Europeans who traded in slaves, Gambia News understands.

Photo: Inside view of Kunta Kinteh island of what was a fortress

First, slaves who are mostly West Africans and some being natives of Gambia, were captured and detained in dungeons considered prison cells where they await buyers and off to Europe and the Americas to work in plantations without pay in heart-wrenching conditions.

Made famous by The Roots Movie, chronicling the life of a Gambian-born legend Kunta Kinteh who resisted European colonialists prior to his capture and whose descendants could still be found in Barra, the island is today Gambia’s most important historical site.

Photo: Kunta Kinteh island is a hot spot for tourists but is affected by lightening frequently during rainy season


Also visited by students seeking knowledge of what transpired during dark ages of slavery, the island today risks submerging as it is surrounded on all sides by water.
Abandoned by previous governments of Gambia, the edges is being slowly eaten away by water causing its current embryonic shape and an expected loss of money in the event it finally fades.

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One Comment

  1. L.S.

    It is good to bring this to the attention of a greater audience. It is even better to act.
    My suggestion would be to approach technical universities around the world, specialised in civil engineering to do a feasibility study into the rescue of Kunta Kinteh Island.

    1. What is technically needed to save the island?
    2. How can the costs be recuperated, e.g. by setting up an hydrolic power plant, or additional tourist attractions in the vicinity of the island and access possibilities to the island

    Let me know if you need assistance with that. Ask the manager of the island to this study.

    Kind regards
    Aldrik de Jongh

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