The Jola (Diola, in French transliteration) are an ethnic group found in Senegal (where they predominate in the region of Casamance), The Gambia, and Guinea-Bissau. There are great numbers on the Atlantic coast between the southern banks of the Gambia River, the Casamance region of Senegal and the northern part of Guinea-Bissau. The Jola are believed to have preceded the Mande and Fula peoples in the riverine coast of Senegambia and may have migrated into Casamance before the 13th century. The Jola language is distinct from that of the Dioula (Dyoula) Mande people of The Gambia, Upper Niger and the Kong highlands of Burkina Faso. The Jola speak a variety of dialects which may not, at times, be mutually intelligible, including: Unlike most ethnic groups of the Senegambian region, the Jola have no caste system of griots, slaves, nobility, leather workers, etc.
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