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Downtown Banjul, Banjul airport, Arch22
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Location of Banjul in the Gambia
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Banjul (Africa)
Coordinates: 13°27′11″N16°34′39″W / 13.45306°N 16.57750°W / 13.45306; -16.57750 Coordinates: 13°27′11″N16°34′39″W / 13.45306°N 16.57750°W / 13.45306; -16.57750
Country Gambia
  Mayor Rohey Malick Lowe
   Capital 12 km2 (5 sq mi)
93 km2 (36 sq mi)
0 m (0 ft)
 (2013 census)
   Capital 31,301
  Density2,600/km2 (6,800/sq mi)
  Urban density4,400/km2 (12,000/sq mi)
Time zone UTC±00:00 (GMT)
HDI (2017)0.552 [1]

Banjul ( UK: /bænˈl/ , [2] [3] US: /ˈbɑːnl/ ), [2] [3] [4] [5] officially the City of Banjul, is the capital and fourth largest city of The Gambia. It is the centre of the eponymous administrative division which is home to an estimated 400,000 residents, making it The 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 proper 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 census). [6] 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.



Banjul takes its name from the Mandinka people who gathered specific fibres on the island, which were used in the manufacture of ropes. Bang julo is the Mandinka word for rope fibre.


A sketch of Bathurst, published in 1824 1824 Bathurst Sketch.png
A sketch of Bathurst, published in 1824
Arch 22 at the entrance to Banjul. The statue of the former president was removed following democratic elections in 2016. Banjul-Arch22-And-Statue-2007.jpg
Arch 22 at the entrance to Banjul. The statue of the former president was removed following democratic elections in 2016.

In 1651 Banjul was leased by The Duke of Courland and Semigallia (German: Herzog von Kurland und Semgallen) from the King of Kombo, as part of the Couronian colonization. [7]

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. [8] The British renamed Banjul Island as St. Mary's Island and named the new town Bathurst, after the 3rd Earl Bathurst, Secretary of State for War and the Colonies at the time. 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. [9]

After independence, the town's name was changed to Banjul in 1973. [8] 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. The gate is 35 metres tall and stands at the centre of an open square. It houses a textile museum.


Attractions in the city include the Gambian National Museum, the Albert Market, Banjul State House, Banjul Court House, African Heritage Museum. [10]


Banjul is the destination of the Plymouth-Banjul Challenge, a charity road rally.


Banjul is the country's economic and administrative centre and includes the Central Bank of the Gambia. Peanut processing is the country's principal industry, but beeswax, palm wood, palm oil, and skins and hides are also shipped from the port of Banjul. [11]

Banjul is also the home of the Gambia Technical Training Institute. GTTI is engaged in a partnership with non-profit organization Power Up Gambia to develop a solar energy training program.


Banjul has a hot climate year round. Under the Köppen climate classification, Banjul features a tropical wet and dry climate (AW). The city features a lengthy dry season, spanning from November to May and a relatively short wet season covering the remaining five months. However, during those five months, Banjul tends to see heavy rainfall. August is usually the rainiest month, with on average 350 millimetres or 14 inches of rainfall. Temperatures are somewhat constant, though it tends to be warmer during the wet season than the dry season.

According to a Gambian government minister, Banjul is at risk of submerging under water by a meter rise in sea levels as a result of climate change and global warming. [12]

Climate data for Banjul
Record high °C (°F)37.2
Average high °C (°F)31.7
Average low °C (°F)15.7
Record low °C (°F)7.2
Average rainfall mm (inches)0.5
Average rainy days00000514191660060
Average relative humidity (%)47475058677381858480695567
Mean monthly sunshine hours 207.7237.3266.6252.0229.4201.0182.9189.1183.0217.0246.0210.82,622.8
Mean daily sunshine hours
Source 1: World Meteorological Organization [13]
Source 2: Deutscher Wetterdienst (extremes, humidity, and sun) [14]


The primary method reaching the city by land is by roadway. A highway connects Banjul to Serrekunda which crosses the Denton Bridge, however ferries provide another mode of transportation. [15] As of May 2014, ferries sail regularly from Banjul across the Gambia River to Barra. [16] The city is served by the Banjul International Airport. Banjul is on the Trans–West African Coastal Highway connecting it to Dakar and Bissau, and will eventually provide a paved highway link to 11 other nations of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).


Districts of Banjul Banjul districts.png
Districts of Banjul

Banjul Division (Greater Banjul Area) is divided into two districts:


The University of the Gambia was founded in 1999.

International schools:

Places of worship

Among the places of worship, they are predominantly Muslim mosques. There are also Christian churches and temples : Roman Catholic Diocese of Banjul (Catholic Church), Church of the Province of West Africa (Anglican Communion), Assemblies of God. [18]

See also

Related Research Articles

The Gambia Country in West Africa

The Gambia, officially the Republic of the Gambia, is a country in West Africa. It is the smallest country within mainland Africa and is surrounded by Senegal, except for its western coast on the Atlantic Ocean. The Gambia is situated on both sides of the lower reaches of the Gambia River, the nation's namesake, which flows through the centre of the Gambia and empties into the Atlantic Ocean. It has an area of 10,689 square kilometres (4,127 sq mi) with a population of 1,857,181 as of the April 2013 census. Banjul is the Gambian capital and the country's largest metropolitan area. The largest cities are Serekunda and Brikama.

Transport in the Gambia

The system of transportation in the Gambia mixes both public and private operations and consists of a system of roads, water and air transportation. The Trans-Gambia Highway runs along both sides of the river Gambia, which bisects the country. The river may be crossed by ferry or the Senegambia bridge. There are no railways in the country.

The first written records of the region come from Arab traders in the 9th and 10th centuries. In medieval times, the region was dominated by the Trans-Saharan trade and was ruled by the Mali Empire. In the 16th century, the region came to be ruled by the Songhai Empire. The first Europeans to visit the Gambia River were the Portuguese in the 15th century, who attempted to settle on the river banks, but no settlement of significant size was established. Descendants of the Portuguese settlers remained until the 18th century. In the late 16th century, English merchants attempted to begin a trade with the Gambia, reporting that it was "a river of secret trade and riches concealed by the Portuguese."

Gambia River Major river in West Africa

The Gambia River is a major river in West Africa, running 1,120 kilometres (700 mi) from the Fouta Djallon plateau in north Guinea westward through Senegal and The Gambia to the Atlantic Ocean at the city of Banjul. It is navigable for about half that length.

Kunta Kinteh Island Island in the lower Gambia River

Kunta Kinteh Island, formerly called James Island and St Andrew's Island, is an island in the Gambia River, 30 km (19 mi) from the river mouth and near Juffureh in the Republic of the Gambia. Fort James is located on the island. It is less than 3.2 km from Albreda on the river's northern bank.

Afrinat International Airlines was an airline headquartered in Bakau, the Gambia. It was founded in 2002, and provided scheduled services within West Africa out of Banjul International Airport. In 2004, the airline ceased to exist.

Banjul International Airport

Banjul International Airport, also known as Yundum International, is the international airport of Banjul, capital of the Gambia, built during World War II.

West Coast Division (Gambia) Administrative division of the Gambia

West Coast Region, originally the Western Division, also known as Foni or Fonyi, was one of the five administrative divisions of the Gambia. Its capital was Brikama. It was subsequently reorganised as the Brikama Local Government Area (LGA), without any change in the area covered.

Trans-Gambia Highway

The Trans-Gambia Highway is the most important road in The Gambia, running across the centre of the nation in a north–south direction.

Districts of the Gambia

The Gambia is subdivided into 43 districts. They are listed below, by Local Government Area, each with its population at the 15 April 2013 Census.

Subdivisions of the Gambia

The Gambia is divided into five administrative Regions and one City. The divisions of the Gambia are created by the Independent Electoral Commission in accordance to Article 192 of the National Constitution.

The tourism industry today in the Gambia started when a party of 300 Swedish tourists arrived in 1965. That pioneering trip was organised by a Swede named Bertil Harding together with the tour operators Vingresor. It was seen as an ideal place to escape the harsh winter months of Scandinavia where Europeans would enjoy not only sun, sand and beaches but also experience the excitement of a real African holiday. It also offered a new opening for an affordable holiday to increasing numbers of traveling Europeans.

Dog Island, Gambia

Dog Island is a small island, situated on the Gambia River in the Republic of the Gambia about 13 kilometres from the mouth of the river to the Atlantic Ocean. The area of the island is less than 3.5 hectares. During low tide the island is connected to the mainland, but during high tide it is separated by about 150 metres from the headland of Dog Island Point on the north bank of the river. The island is named after the sound made by the resident baboons, which from a distance sounds like dogs barking.

Alieu Ebrima Cham Joof Gambian politician

Alieu Ebrima Cham Joof commonly known as Cham Joof or Alhaji Cham Joof, was a Gambian historian, politician, author, trade unionist, broadcaster, radio programme director, scout master, Pan-Africanist, lecturer, columnist, activist and an African nationalist who advocated for the Gambia's independence during the colonial era.

University of the Gambia

The University of the Gambia (UTG) is an institution of higher education located in Sere Kunda, the largest city in the Gambia.

Gambia Bird Airlines Limited was the flag carrier airline of Gambia headquartered in Kanifing with its home base at Banjul International Airport. It suspended operations in December 2014.

Louise Antoinette N'Jie was a Gambian teacher, feminist and politician who was the first woman to serve as a cabinet minister in Gambia.

Sir Alexander Grant was a British Army officer who served as the first Commandant of St Mary's Island from 1816 to 1826.

The 1981 Gambian coup d'état attempt began on 30 July 1981 and was quashed in early August following a Senegalese military intervention. The insurrection was carried out by members of the Gambia Socialist Revolutionary Party and disaffected staff of the Gambia Field Force. At the time, President Dawda Jawara was in the United Kingdom attending the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer. The failure of the coup precipitated the creation of the Senegambia Confederation in 1982.

Rohey Malick Lowe Gambian politician

Rohey Malick Lowe is a Gambian politician who has served as the capital city Banjul's mayor since May 2018 and is the first woman elected to the position.


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  18. J. Gordon Melton, Martin Baumann, ‘‘Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices’’, ABC-CLIO, USA, 2010, p. 1172