Juffureh is situated on the coast of the River Gambia in the Upper Niumi District, and the ancient little village has become famous as the birthplace of Kunta Kinteh! It was about 500 meters away from sister village Albreda which houses the Slave Museum, while James Island lies less than two miles away on the river.
The first Europeans to make contact with the island were the Portuguese in 1456, and they named it ilha de Santo André (St. Andrews Island). In 1651, a fort was built by the European settlers, and named after Jacob Kettler, the Duke of Courland which was used as a trade base. The fort was seized by the Dutch in 1659, but the British dislodged them in 1661.
Three years later, the Dutch formally ceded the island to Britain and it was renamed James Island, after the heir to the throne who eventually became King James II. On February 6, 2011 the government of The Gambia renamed the island Kunta Kinteh Island.
Oral tradition claims Albreda was founded between 1520 and 1681 by a Wolof marabout. It was known by the Mandinka as Albadar. It was in Albreda that Kunta Kinteh was captured after wandering from his home in Juffureh. As of today, there is no distance between Juffureh and Albreda as both have physically merged. An archway bids you “Welcome to Albreda/Juffureh” on the spot at the beach.
Together, juffureh, Albreda and Kunta Kinteh Island form part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in The Gambia and have become a major attraction for tourists, students of world history and diverse people of Africans descent in the diaspora, especially during the biannual International Roots Festival which is held around May.