The Kunta Kinteh island, formerly known as James Island, is an island in the Gambia River, 30 km from the river mouth and near Juffureh.
As the rebel slave who defied his captors, Kunta Kinte, made famous by the book and series "Roots", put The Gambia on the map for historical tourism. But the island of Kinte's harrowing legacy, where he and tens of thousands of west African families were chained, branded and separated before leaving their homeland forever, is under threat from sea erosion and neglect.
Kinte's descendants, along with heritage officials, warn that without urgent action 550 years of history could be lost. The island's namesake sprang to fame as the central character in African-American author Alex Haley's "Roots: The Saga of An American Family", which though attacked for historical inconsistencies undisputedly heightened awareness of the horrors of the slave trade when published in 1976.