World at a Glance: Kunta Kinteh Island

2014-10-25T10:29:57+00:0024 July 2013|Gambia, Islands, UNESCO World Heritage|

Kunta Kinteh Island

Many years ago, I was sailing on the River Gambia, and stopped here at what was then known as James Island. The tiny, yet important, island was renamed Kunta Kinteh Island in 2011.

The River Gambia gave Europeans access to Africa’s mysterious interior. Many were the explorers and traders who sailed up this mighty river; some even hoping to find that elusive sea route to India.

Kunta Kinteh Island is near the mouth of the river, by the Atlantic Ocean. It has had many roles throughout history: a meeting point for Arabs and Phoenicians, a fort for various colonial powers, and for that most agonizing phase of European interaction in West Africa, the slave trade.

If you’ve read Alex Haley’s book Roots, you’ll remember Kunta Kinteh, a man who was brought to the USA as a slave in 1767.

World at a Glance is a series of short, one-photo posts here on Sophie’s World, portraying the curious, evocative, happy, sad, wondrous, or unexpected.

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Kunta Kinteh Island is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Here are more UNESCO World Heritage sites around the world.

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  1. Andrew Graeme Gould 26 July 2013 at 0248 - Reply

    The image is beautiful, Sophie, and what a history that river has.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 28 July 2013 at 1552 - Reply

      Thanks, Andrew.

  2. Leigh 26 July 2013 at 0340 - Reply

    There’s a lot of moodiness to that photograph.You really have been to some wild places.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 28 July 2013 at 1552 - Reply

      Yes, I quite like that photo, too. Something so solitary about it – and such a brutal history.

  3. Salika Jay 26 July 2013 at 1429 - Reply

    It looks like one of those photos we stair for a long time at art galleries. I was starring at it for quite a while.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 28 July 2013 at 1551 - Reply

      Thanks, Salika.

  4. Johanna 29 July 2013 at 0024 - Reply

    Evocative Sophie I visited James Island many years ago,a place of such disturbing history. Thanks for the memory though. And thanks for commenting on my podcast interview at YtravelBlog too:)

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 29 July 2013 at 1618 - Reply

      Thanks for stopping by, Johanna.

  5. Marcia 30 July 2013 at 1354 - Reply

    I never knew there was an island named for Kunta Kinteh. Interesting. Very evocative photo, Sophie.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 31 July 2013 at 1703 - Reply

      Must admit, ever since I was there, I thought of it as James Island. A fitting name change, though.

  6. Bill 31 July 2013 at 1704 - Reply

    So interesting to see how just one small island (at least it looks relatively small) can effect so much history, culture, and memories. It’s no surprise that it’s become a UNESCO site.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 31 July 2013 at 1706 - Reply

      It was quite small – and very thought-provoking.

  7. [email protected] 1 August 2013 at 1242 - Reply

    Hi Sophie, Thanks for the interesting history and thought provoking bit. That’s a significant history and roles for such a small island. Strategic location is what matters after all. I think its new name is more apt.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 1 August 2013 at 1612 - Reply

      UNESCO agrees with you 🙂

  8. Ayngelina 5 August 2013 at 0059 - Reply

    photos with a story are the best kind, thanks for sharing this

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