Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Gambia River is a major river in Africa, running 1,130 km (700 miles) from the Fouta Djallon plateau in north Guinea to the Atlantic Ocean at the city of Banjul. It is navigable for about half that length.
The river is known largely because of The Gambia, the smallest country in Africa, which consists of little more than half the river and its two banks.
From the Fouta Djallon, the river runs northwest into the Tambacounda province of Senegal, where it flows through the Parc National du Niokolo Koba , then is joined by the Nieri Ko and Koulountou before entering The Gambia at Fatoto . At this point the river runs generally west, but in a meandering course with a number of oxbows, and about 100 km from its mouth it gradually widens, to over 10 km wide where it meets the sea.
According to Alex Haley's novel Roots , the Gambia River provided one of the clues that helped him trace his American family history back to Africa. The words "Kamby Bolongo" were among the few words that his family had been passed down from generation to generation; he discovered that a bolongo was a "moving water" or "river" in the Mandinka language, so he concluded that the phrase probably referred to the Gambia River. His theory was confirmed when he traveled to Juffure, The Gambia , on the north bank of the river, and found that their oral family histories complemented his own.
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