The Gambia (i/ˈɡæmbiə/; officially the Republic of the Gambia and often called simply Gambia) is an enclaved country in West Africa mostly surrounded by Senegal with a short strip of its coastline bordered by the Atlantic Ocean at its western end. It is the smallest country on mainland Africa.
The Gambia is situated on either side of the Gambia River, the nation's namesake, which flows through the centre of the Gambia and empties into the Atlantic Ocean. Its area is 10,689 square kilometres (4,127 sq mi) with a population of 1,882,450 at the 15 April 2013 Census (provisional). Banjul is the Gambian capital, and the largest cities are Serekunda and Brikama.
The Gambia shares historical roots with many other West African nations in the slave trade, which was the key factor in the placing and keeping of a colony on the Gambia River, first by the Portuguese, during
which era it was A Gâmbia, and later by the British. In 1965, the Gambia gained independence from the United Kingdom. Since gaining independence, the Gambia has had two leaders - Sir Dawda Jawara, who ruled
from 1970 until 1994, when the current leader Yahya Jammeh seized power in a coup as a young army officer.
The Gambia's economy is dominated by farming, fishing, and tourism. About a third of the population lives below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.
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Wassu Stone Circles
Some photos of the schools' neighborhood during rainy season.
The stone circles and other megaliths found in Senegal and Gambia are sometimes divided into four large sites: Sine Ngayene and Wanar in Senegal, and Wassu and Kerbatch in the Central River Region in Gambia. Researchers are not certain when these monuments were built, but the generally accepted range is between the third century B.C. and the sixteenth century A.D. Archaeologists have also found pottery sherds, human burials, and some grave goods and metals.
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Today is Gambia's Independence Day!
Independence Day celebrations are held every on the 18th February of each year which marks the day when Gambia gained full independence from colonial Britain in 1965. It is normally celebrated in Banjul at McCarthy Square with a march pass by school children, civil servants, the army, teachers and others in front of the President and other dignitaries.
The country had gained internal self-government earlier in 1963.
The Gambia Independence Act 1964 (1964 c. 93) was an Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom. It came into operation on December 17, 1964.
The Act made provisions for the Gambia to gain full independence and become a member of the Commonwealth of Nations; prior to this, it had been a fully self-governing crown colony.
"1. Fully responsible status of The Gambia.
On and after 18th February, 1965 (in this Act referred to as "the appointed day") all those territories which immediately before the appointed day are comprised either in the Colony of the Gambia or in the Protectorate of the Gambia shall together form part of Her Majesty’s dominions under the name of The Gambia; and on and after that day Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom shall have no responsibility for the government of those territories."
"1965: Countdown to Gambian independence -
The Duke and Duchess of Kent have celebrated the end of 300 years of colonial rule in Gambia with 35 chiefs. At midnight Gambia will become the smallest - and 37th - sovereign state in Africa and the last of Britain's West African colonies to gain independence.
It was the first African nation conquered by the British and will become the 21st member of the Commonwealth, as well as the 116th member of the United Nations.
Representing the Queen, the royal couple was escorted to the mansa bengo - gathering of kings - by Gambian Prime Minister Dawda Jawara and Governor Sir John Paul.
All the Gambian leaders showed their respect by removing their shoes before greeting the British dignitaries.
The oldest chief, Toure Sagniang, said: "It gives us confidence to know that as a monarchy we are members of that family of which the Queen is head."
And he thanked the UK for its assistance in making the transition to independence.
The traditional ceremony - in the village of Brikama, 22 miles from the capital, Bathurst - included soothsayers and standard bearers, accompanied by drumming and string instruments.
Guests from around 30 nations were present, including the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, George Mennen, and the Soviet Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Grigori Pashchenko.
Flag up -
The major celebration will begin tonight when the Union Jack is lowered for the last time and replaced with the red, white, blue and green of the Gambian national flag.
Presentations from the Gambian and British delegations will complete the formal beginning of independence.
The British Government has promised to provide support for Gambia, valued at £3m for the next two-and-a-half years".
In 1965 the Gambia had a total population of 320,000.