|Government||republic under multiparty democratic rule|
|Area||total: 11,300 sq km |
land: 10,000 sq km
water: 1,300 sq km
|Population||1,455,842 (July 2002 est.)|
|Language||English (official), Mandinka, Wolof, Fula, other indigenous vernaculars|
|Religion||Muslim 90%, Christian 9%, indigenous beliefs 1%|
The Gambia is a country in West Africa and is the smallest country on the continent of Africa. It has a North Atlantic Ocean coastline in the west and is surrounded by Senegal so that it is almost an enclave. The country occupies the the Gambia river valley and surrounding hills.
- Administrative divisions
- 5 divisions and 1 city*; Banjul*, Central River, Lower River, North Bank, Upper River, Western
- Banjul - Capital
Tropical; hot, rainy season (June to November); cooler, dry season (November to May); Natural hazards : drought (rainfall has dropped by 30% in the last 30 years)
Flood plain of the Gambia river flanked by some low hills
- Highest point
- unnamed location 53 m
The Gambia gained its independence from the UK in 1965.
- 18 February 1965 (from UK)
- National holiday
- Independence Day, 18 February (1965)
- 24 April 1970; suspended July 1994; rewritten and approved by national referendum 8 August 1996; reestablished in January 1997
It formed a short-lived federation of Senegambia with Senegal between 1982 and 1989. In 1991 the two nations signed a friendship and cooperation treaty. A military coup in 1994 overthrew the president and banned political activity, but a new 1996 constitution and presidential elections, followed by parliamentary balloting in 1997, completed a nominal return to civilian rule. The country undertook another round of presidential and legislative elections in late 2001 and early 2002.
Gambia is becoming a popular vacation destination for Northern Europeans. Therefore, many charter and holiday operators offer reasonable airfare and accommodation if desired.
- Malawi Guest House (393012/ 392227 Fax). 18 rooms
- Wendels Guest House stub and needs your attention. Plunge forward and help it grow!