In 1816, Captain Alexander Grant (by order of the British Colonial Office) established a military post on Banjul Island. He renamed the island St. Mary’s and named the settlement in honor of Colonial Secretary Henry Bathurst. The settlement was meant to suppress the slave trade out of Western Africa and, also, served as a trade outlet for the merchants who were ejected from Senegal when the French took over. Eventually, it became the capital of the British colony and protectorate of Gambia. With Gambia’s independence, it became the national capital. The name was changed to Banjul in 1973.
This is a very poor country. The people are very nice and look happy but we wonder what it is like to live here. Our guide, was a port guard who took the day off to earn extra money as a guide and driver. Four of us hired him for 4 hours and paid him U.S.$80.00 for his services. Not only did he perform as a guide; he was our protector as he fended off over-zealous hawkers and (no doubt) potential pickpockets!
This experience was eye-opening and thought-provoking!