Banjul Commonwealth Walkway

Gambia / Africa

Banjul is the capital and 4th largest city of Gambia. It is the centre of the eponymous administrative division, which is home to an estimated 400,000 residents, making it Gambia's largest and most densely populated metropolitan area. Banjul is on St Mary's Island (Banjul Island), where the Gambia River enters the Atlantic Ocean. The population of the city is 31,301, with the Greater Banjul Area, which includes the City of Banjul and the Kanifing Municipal Council at a population of 413,397 (2013). The island is connected to the mainland to the west and the rest of Greater Banjul Area via bridges. There are also ferries linking Banjul to the mainland at the other side of the river. In 1651 Banjul was leased by the Duke of Courland and Semigallia from the King of Kombo, as part of the Couronian colonization. On 23 April 1816 the King of Kombo ceded Banjul Island to Alexander Grant, the British commandant. Grant founded Banjul as a trading post and base, constructing houses and barracks for controlling entrance to the Gambia estuary and suppressing the slave trade. The British renamed Banjul Island as St. Mary's Island and named the new town Bathurst, after the 3rd Earl Bathurst, KG (1762-1834), then Colonial Secretary. Streets were laid out in a modified grid pattern and named after Allied generals at the Battle of Waterloo. The town became the centre of British activity in the Gambia Colony and Protectorate. It became the capital of the British colony and protectorate of Gambia and after 1947 was governed by a town council. Banjul is the commercial and transportation centre of the Gambia, with several peanut (groundnut) decorticating plants and oil mills. Local industries involve handicraft such as wood carvings, filigree jewellery, and hand-dyed cloth. After independence in 1973, the town's name was changed to Banjul. On 22 July 1994 Banjul was the scene of a bloodless military coup d'état in which President Dawda Jawara was overthrown and replaced by Yahya Jammeh. To commemorate this event, Arch 22 was built as an entrance portal to the capital.

3.1 miles / 5.1 kilometres

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