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Flag of the Gambia

The Republic of the Gambia is a country located in West Africa, on land surrounded by Senegal while bordering the Atlantic Ocean to the west. It is the smallest land country in Africa, having a population of only 1,882,450 people in 2013.


The Gambia was granted independence from the United Kingdom on 18 February 1965, with Prime Minister Dawda Jawara becoming its first president on 24 April 1970. He had an authoritarian rule over The Gambia, and in 1981 he put down a coup by Marxists under Kukoi Samba Sanyang. In December, five months after the coup was foiled, The Gambia attempted to form a union with Senegal, a former colony of France that completely surrounded Gambia on land. The Senegambia Confederation lasted from 1982 to 1989, when Senegal decided that Gambia was not moving closer towards the union. In 1994, army officer Yahya Jammeh seized power in Gambia and became its dictator, ousting Jawara from power. Under his rule, the government persecuted gays, restricted the freedom of press, killed 12 students and a journalists in 2000 protests, abducted 1,000 people on charges of witchcraft, massacred 44 Ghanaian migrants in 2004, and crushed a 2014 failed coup. On 12 December 2015, Jammeh announced that the Republic of Gambia was now the "Islamic Republic of Gambia", abolishing secularism in favor of Islamism to erase all traces of colonialism in society. In 2016, Jammeh also began to campaign against the use of English in Gambia, hoping to end globalization in Gambia. In early 2017, Jammeh was deposed by a coalition of West African countries after he refused to peacefully hand over power to his democratically-elected successor, Adama Barrow, and Barrow restored secularism to Gambia.