World at a Glance: Kunta Kinteh Island

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.

unesco logo

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



15 Responses to “World at a Glance: Kunta Kinteh Island”

  1. Andrew Graeme Gould 26 July 2013 0248 #

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

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 28 July 2013 1552 #

      Thanks, Andrew.

  2. Leigh 26 July 2013 0340 #

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

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 28 July 2013 1552 #

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

  3. Salika Jay 26 July 2013 1429 #

    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 1551 #

      Thanks, Salika.

  4. Johanna 29 July 2013 0024 #

    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 1618 #

      Thanks for stopping by, Johanna.

  5. Marcia 30 July 2013 1354 #

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

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 31 July 2013 1703 #

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

  6. Bill 31 July 2013 1704 #

    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 1706 #

      It was quite small – and very thought-provoking.

  7. [email protected] 1 August 2013 1242 #

    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 1612 #

      UNESCO agrees with you 🙂

  8. Ayngelina 5 August 2013 0059 #

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

Leave a Reply