Kemintang Camara (1770-1844)
From 1834 - 1844, Kemintang Camara successfully kept out the British
traders and their Bathurst allies from his jurisdiction. He resisted
British pressure to open up his state to the traders,
missionaries and treaty seeking colonial officials. Kemintang
maintained the independence of his people until his death in 1844.
He opposed African Bathurst (Banjul) based traders who refused to pay taxes
to him as much as he resisted the desire by European merchants and
missionaries to set up base in present day Sami and Niani districts.
Kemintang was a great warrior of Niani in the Central River regions
of the Gambia River who killed his uncle Namory Sabally King of Kataba to
ascend to the throne. He soon proved to be a thorn in the flesh of
the British because he also wanted to control the lucrative trade in
the middle river in goods and products like wax, grains and imported
goods. On several occasions he was forced to attack traders under
British protection who encroached into his territory.
In June 1834, the tension came to boiling point when he ordered the
arrest of the schooner the "Oro" at the Colonia port, one of
the towns on the river side of his territory loaded with goods worth
600 pounds belonging to Saloum Jobarte, a rich Bathurst merchant.
The merchants immediately came together and wrote to the authorities
in Bathurst asking for assistance and protection from Kemintang.
Ndungusine the residence of Kemintang was situated about thirty
miles inland from the river and two hundred miles from Bathurst
In the subsequent fight, Kemintang defeated the British force which
attacked his fort at Ndungusine and became the undisputed ruler of upper Gambia. The British later sent one Mr. Sall as an embassy to Kataba and
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Last updated on July 31, 2010