Gambia Old History

By | January 2, 2023

Gambia is an independent nation in Western Africa. With the capital city of Banjul, Gambia 2020 population is estimated at 2,416,679 according to countryaah. The area that makes up today’s Gambia has been part of several early West African kingdoms. During the heyday of Malirik in the 1300s, Islam came to the region. In the 1400s, Europeans came and established trade relations with local rulers along the Gambia River. Soon, the trade in slaves dominated the Atlantic. In 1888, Gambia became a British colony. In 1965 independence was achieved under non-dramatic forms.

Of the people now living in The Gambia, researchers believe that diola has been around the furthest. The largest ethnic group Mandinka immigrated on a large scale in the 1300s, when the Mali kingdom expanded from its center in Timbuktu. Mandinka organized trade along the Gambia River. They founded several small vassal states, which became independent as the Mali Empire collapsed in the 16th century.

  • Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Gambia, covering history, economy, and social conditions.

Portuguese traders arrived in the Gambia River in 1455. Initially, they were primarily interested in gold and ivory, but the slave trade grew rapidly. Soon there also came British, French and Dutch. Europeans were in constant conflict with each other over the control of trade. In 1661, a British trading company established a base on James Island in the Gambia River. The island was an important center of British slave trade until 1807, when it was banned. By then, Britain had already secured control of the river through the Versailles Treaty of 1783. For Gambia political system, please check cancermatters.

The area was managed periodically from the British colony of Sierra Leone, but in 1888 the Gambia became a separate British crown colony. The following year, the borders were set against the surrounding French West Africa. The main reason why the British extended their control from the slave trading port of Bathurst (now Banjul) and up the Gambia River was to prevent the French from using the river as a transport route.

Besides the river and peanut cultivation, the British did not show much interest in the small colony. When the liberation process began in Gambia after the Second World War, there were no paved roads outside the capital and only a school and a hospital.

The first political parties targeted an elite in the cities. Veterinarian Dawda Jawara and his People’s Progress Party (PPP) were the first to present a rural program, winning the election in 1962. When Gambia became an independent state within the Commonwealth (made up of the United Kingdom and former colonies) in 1965, Jawara was named prime minister. After a referendum five years later, Gambia became a republic and Jawara its first president.



The coup attempt is turned down

On December 30, a group of armed men attack the presidential palace. Jammeh is currently abroad. The coup makers are regime-critical Gambians in exile who have entered the country via Senegal. Disgruntled soldiers in The Gambia also participate. The coup attempt is defeated by regimented forces and the coup leader Lieutenant Lamin Seneh is killed. Three other coup makers are also killed, while a fourth is arrested. Many other people involved in the failed coup attempt manage to escape from the country. The coup is condemned by Senegal, the United States and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

Presidential elections are boycotted.

Six opposition parties decide to boycott the presidential election in November 2016 because they feel that there are no conditions for the election to be conducted under free and fair forms. The six parties are calling on the authorities to stop the arrests and harassment of their members.

October November

Death sentences are transformed into life imprisonment

The death sentences against the eight men found guilty of planning a coup against President Jammeh in 2009 are converted to life imprisonment by the Supreme Court in November (see October 2009 and March 2010).

The Gambia threatens to cut off dialogue with the EU

Foreign Minister Bala Garba Jahumpa threatens to interrupt the political dialogue with the EU after the Union criticized the new law on homosexuality.

UN experts are denied access to sentenced prisoners

Two UN experts, charged with investigating charges of extrajudicial executions and torture of opposites, are denied entry to the section of the Banjul Jail where sentenced prisoners are being held. This is happening even though the government has promised to cooperate with the experts.

Homosexuals are arrested and tortured

The new law against homosexuality is signed by President Jammeh. Shortly thereafter, around 20 people are arrested for violating the law, several of whom are tortured and abused.

August September

The penalty for homosexuality is tightened

Parliament adopts a new law that tightens the penalty for homosexuality, which is banned in The Gambia. The maximum sentence is increased from 14 years in prison to life for “gross homosexuality”. The law does not specify what this heading would mean.

February March

English loses the status of official language

The President states that English is no longer the official language of the Gambia, as it is, according to Jammeh, a remnant from the colonial era. It is unclear whether any other language will receive official status.

Members of the UDP Youth Federation are arrested

Twelve members of the UDP Youth Federation are arrested, accused of holding a meeting without permission from the authorities. The youth are released by a court in March.

Gambia Old History