The Mandinga, the Fulani, and the Wolof were the first to settle the region along the Gambia river. The Portuguese arrived in the late sixteenth century, followed by the French and British. The Gambia River region was claimed as a British protectorate in 1894. The Gambia gained its independence in 1965 and for a brief period formed the Federation of Senegambia with Senegal. Cultivation of peanuts in the sandy soil and fishing in the river are primary economic activities. Agriculture and the use of wood for fuel have resulted in the destruction of over 90 percent of original forests, which has had a significant impact on wildlife and human populations. Most of the population of the Gambia is Muslim. Roman Catholicism was first brought to the country by the Portuguese, but evangelization did not really begin until the nineteenth century. The Gambia Christian Council was formed in 1963 as an ecumenical association of Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Methodist churches. There is also dialogue with the majority Muslim population. There are no WCC member churches based in this country.