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   Information Center The Gambia
The Gambia General Information
 
History of The Gambia
The Gambia Culture
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The Gambia Geography
The Gambia Population
The Gambia Government
The Gambia Economy
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The Gambia People, Language & Religion
The Gambia Expatriates Handbook
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People, Languages & Religions in The Gambia
 
 
 

People

A wide variety of ethnic groups live in the Gambia, each preserving its own language and traditions. The Mandinka tribe is the largest, followed by the Fula,Wolof, Jola and Serahule. The Wolof tribe are the third largest tribe in the Gambia, consisting of mostly Sere and Fanafana who originally migrated from Senegal. The approximately 3,500 non-African residents include Europeans and families of Lebanese origin (roughly 0.23% of the total population). Most of the European minority are Britons, many of whom left after independence.

Languages

English is the official language, but there are 21 distinct languages spoken. The principal vernaculars are Wolof, Fula, and Mandinka, the latter spoken by the Mandingo.

Religions

Article 25 of the Constitution protects the rights of citizens to practice any religion that they choose. The government also did not establish a state religion. Islam is the predominant religion, practised by approximately 90% of the country's population. The majority of the Muslims in the Gambia adhere to Sufi laws and traditions. Virtually all commercial life in The Gambia comes to a standstill during major Muslim holidays, including Eid al-Adha and Eid ul-Fitr. Most Muslims in the Gambia follow the Maliki school of jurisprudence.

The Christian community represents about 8% of the population. Residing in the western and the southern parts of the Gambia, most of the Christian community identify themselves as Roman Catholic. However, there are smaller Christian groups present, such as Anglicans, Methodists, Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses and small evangelical denominations. Due to immigration from South Asia, there is a presence of Buddhists and followers of the Baha'i Faith. The remaining 1.97% of the population adheres to indigenous beliefs.

 

 
 

 



 


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