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maanantai 28. maaliskuuta 2016

Gambia, Cool Facts #107

<= 106. Botswana                                                                                                           108. Ghana => 

1. Flag of Gambia

The flag of Gambia was adopted in 1965 when it became independent from Great Britain. The flag was designed by Louis Thomasi who worked as an accountant. The design was inspired by the flag of Botswana. Unique for the Gambian flag was that it didn't use the colors of the leading political party like many African countries. 

Meaning of the Gambian flag colors: 

Blue = represents Gambia River
Red = the sunset on the Gambia River
Green = the rain forests surrounding the Gambia River
White = symbols of peace and unity 

Flags of Gambia and Botswana

2. Gambia River

Gambia is a country, which was formed around the Gambia River. The country is under 50km at its widest point and expands 400km to the inland following the Gambia River stream, which then continues flowing to Senegal and Guinea. 

Gambia is the smallest African country in the mainland. Only the island nations of Cape Verde, Comoros, Mauritius, Sao Tome and Principe and Seychelles are smaller by size in Africa. 

Gambia River basin

Gambia River in the Niokolo-Koba National Park 

3. Borders of 1889  

France and United Kingdom established the current borders of Gambia after an agreement in 1889. The British got about 16km of areas north and south from the Gambia River.

The region had a major importance because of the slave trade. The Gambia River was used to transport slaves from the inland to the coast, where they were shipped and traded by the Europeans.

The French and the British had fought over the dominance of the area for ages before making the agreement in 1889 when Gambia became a British colony as it was separated from the surrounding French dominated Senegal.

Originally the British had got their slave trading rights from the Portuguese in 1588, who had been in the region since the middle of the 1400s.

Map of Gambia
British Fort in Gambia from 1755

4. Two Leaders of Gambia 

Since the independence of Gambia in 1965, the country has had only two leaders. 

First Leader 1965-1994: Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara 

First Jawara was the Prime Minister between 1962-1970 including the time between 1962-1965 when Gambia was still a British colony. Gambia became a constitutional monarchy within the British Commonwealth having Elizabeth II as head of state but later in 1970 it became a republic after a referendum and so Jawara assumed the office of the president. Jawara ruled until 1994 when he was overthrown in a bloodless coup. 

Second Leader 1994 - : Yahya Jammeh

 In 1994 a group of young officers seized power from president Jawara in a bloodless coup which met with very little resistance. Jammeh was re-elected in 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2011. Jammeh has caused controversy in the world with his very anti-homophobic statements. His regime has been also accused of restricting the freedom of press and alleged of human right violations. 

5. The Gambian Society 

- Gambia was one of the few multiparty democracies in Africa for a long time
- None of the tribes in Gambia is in leading position and there's a harmony between the different ethnic groups
- Despite the fact that 90% of the population are Muslims, different faiths are allowed to practice freely
- Gambia is one of the poorest African countries.
- In 2005 the WHO estimated that 78% of the Gambian girls and women have suffered from genital mutilation

Serekunda market
Bundung mosque


1300s Most of the present-day Gambia was part of the Mali Empire
1400s In the middle of the century the Portuguese started slave trade at the area
1588 The Portuguese sold their exclusive trade rights to the British
1651-1661 Courland, a vassal state of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, ruled parts of Gambia
1758 UK captured Senegal from France during the Seven Years' War
1783 The Treaty of Versailles gave UK possession of the Gambia River
1807 UK abolished slavery throughout its empire but was unable to end slave trade in Gambia
1816 The British established the military post of Bathurst, the current Banjul
1888 Gambia became a separate colony
1889 The present borders of Gambia were established after an agreement with France
1906 Slavery was abolished terminally
1963 The British granted full self-governance to Gambia
1965 Gambia gained independence from the UK, becoming a constitutional monarchy within the Commonwealth with the queen as the head of state
1970 Gambia became a republic after a second referendum about the issue. Prime Minister Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara assumed the office of president
1981 A military coup against Jawara, which was defeated with the help of the Senegalese troops
1982 After the military coup Gambia and Senegal signed a treaty of confederation called the Senegambia Confederation
1989 Gambia withdrew permanently from the Senegambia Confederation
1994 Yahya Jammeh became the president after a bloodless coup overthrowing president Jawara
2002 Gambia had presidential, legislative and local elections that foreign observers deemed free, fair and transparent and president Jammeh was re-elected 

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