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History of The Gambia

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1 History of The Gambia on Mon Nov 15, 2010 2:28 pm

Arab traders provided the Gambia's first written accounts in the 9th and 10th centuries. During the 10th century, Muslim merchants and scholars created communities in several of West Africa's commercial centers. Both groups established trans-Saharan trade routes, leading to an exchange for slaves, gold and ivory.

By the 11th or 12th century, the rulers of kingdoms such as Takrur (a kingdom centered on the Sénégal River just to the north), Ancient Ghana and Gao, had converted to Islam and had appointed Muslims who were literate in Arabic as advisers.[4] At the beginning of the fourteenth century, most of what is today called The Gambia was a tributary to the Mali Empire. The Portuguese reached the area by sea in the mid-fifteenth century and began to dominate trade.

In 1588, the claimant to the Portuguese throne, António, Prior of Crato, sold exclusive trade rights on the Gambia River to English merchants; letters patent from Queen Elizabeth I confirmed the grant. In 1618, James I granted a charter to an English company for trade with the Gambia and the Gold Coast (now Ghana). Between 1651 and 1661 some parts of The Gambia were under Courland's rule, bought by prince Jacob Kettler, who was a Polish vassal.

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