James Island and Related Sites (2003)
Gambia

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James Island and Related Sites present a testimony to the main periods and facets of the encounter between Africa and Europe along the River Gambia, a continuum stretching from pre-colonial and pre-slavery times to independence. The site is particularly significant for its relation to the beginning of the slave trade and its abolition. It also documents early access to the interior of Africa. 
  • Gambia 1977. President Daouda Jawara overlooking the ruined fort on James Island. Scan by courtesy of Scarlet Mobuto Nielsen (Denmark). 

Gambia 1977. President Daouda Jawara overlooking the ruined fort on James Island.

The first Europeans settlers on the island were the Courlanders, who called it St. Andrews Island and used it as a trade base from 1651 until it was captured by the British in 1661. The British renamed the island James Island and the fort as Fort James. They initially used it for the gold and ivory trade and later in the slave trade. 

In 1695, Fort James was taken by the French after a battle with the English sailors. It was returned in 1697 and then captured again in 1702. Between 25 May 1765 - 11 February 1779 The Gambia was part of British Senegambia. As Britain withdrew from the slave trade, the fort was largely abandoned in 1779. 

Sources and links:

Other World Heritage sites in Gambia (on this website). Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, Gambia section, for further information.  

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Revised 29 jul 2006  
Copyright 1999 Heindorffhus 
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