Gambia, The, republic within the Commonwealth of Nations, situated on the western coast of Africa, enclosed on the north, east, and south by Senegal, and fronting the Atlantic Ocean on the west. Also called Gambia, it has an area of 11,295 sq km (4,361 sq mi). Banjul is the capital.
The Gambia extends for about 320 km (200 mi) inland from the Atlantic Ocean on both sides of the lower Gambia River. It is only about 50 km (30 mi) wide at its widest point. The river is lined with mangrove swamps.
The Gambia has a subtropical climate with distinct hot and cool seasons. During the cool season, from November to May, the harmattan, a hot, dry, dusty wind, blows from the Sahara. Temperatures range from 16°C (60°F) in winter to 43°C (110°F) in summer. The rainy season lasts from June to October. The average annual rainfall is about 1,020 mm (about 40 in).
The main natural resource of The Gambia is the Gambia River, one of Africa’s best navigable waterways. The country’s soil is mostly poor and sandy, except in the riverine swamps, but is ideally suited for the cultivation of peanuts, upon which the economy depends. Fish are increasing in economic importance, and seismic surveys have indicated the possibility that petroleum exists.
The mangrove, oil palm, and rubber vine grow in profusion, and cedar and mahogany trees abound. Wildlife includes leopard, wild boar, crocodile, hippopotamus, and several species of antelope. Such game birds as the guinea fowl and sand grouse are plentiful.
The Gambia has lost 91 percent of its original forest habitat, which has been cleared for agriculture and fuel wood. As a result, many of the big-game animals have been destroyed, although some protected areas have been established. With government incentives encouraging growth in the number of fishing companies, over fishing has emerged as a problem.
Saltwater has intruded farther upriver, causing agricultural lands to become saline. Desertification has increased.
A wide variety of ethnic groups live side by side in The Gambia while preserving individual languages and traditions.
Ďaľšie referáty z kategórie
Gambia (Commonwealth of Nations)
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