Gambian history

Brief history of the Gambia summarized

A brief review of Gambia’s history summarized.

Old Gambia

Around 500 AD there was a sophisticated culture in The Gambia, which was capable of building stone circles. Shortly thereafter trade across the Sahara with the Arabs began and then flourished.

Powerful states were built in West Africa as a result of trade. In the 13th century the Mali Empire grew in the region. However, it fell into decline in the 15th century and a people called the Mandinka migrated to the Gambia River.

Meanwhile, in the 15th century, the Portuguese began to sail along the coasts of Africa. By 1500 they had built settlements on the Gambia River and from there slaves and gold were shipped to Portugal. In exchange, the Portuguese gave the Africans weapons and cloth.

However, by the early 17th century the English, Dutch and French were also trading in West Africa, and by the 1650s the Dutch had been driven out. For 150 years, Europeans made huge profits transporting African slaves across the Atlantic.

However, it was ultimately the British who took control of The Gambia. Britain abolished the slave trade in 1807, but Gambian settlers made a profit from growing peanuts.

The Gambia became a British protectorate in 1820 and a colony in 1886 (after the Europeans divided Africa among themselves). However, the British government was not enthusiastic about the Gambia, as it contained little wealth and was surrounded by French territory (Senegal). There were few attempts to develop the Gambia colony or to build infrastructure on it.

Modern Gambia

Finally, in the early 1960s, parts of Africa became independent. The Gambia became independent in 1965 with David Jawara as Prime Minister and for the first 10 years of independence The Gambia was a prosperous country.

The price of peanuts was high and tourists flocked to the country. Unfortunately in the late 1970s the price of groundnuts fell and there were two coup attempts in The Gambia in 1980 and 1981. Jawara survived both and won the 1982, 1987 and 1992 elections.

However, the price of groundnuts continued to fall in the late 1980s and discontent grew in The Gambia. Finally in 1994 Jawara was overthrown in a coup and Yahya Jammeh became the ruler of The Gambia.

In 1996 a new constitution was introduced in The Gambia and Jammeh won the presidential elections. Jammeh won a second presidential election in 2001. In 2013 Gambia left the Commonwealth. Then, in December 2016, Adama Barrow was elected President of The Gambia.

Today, The Gambia is still a poor country, but the economy is constantly growing. Tourism in The Gambia is thriving. Today, The Gambia is developing rapidly. Today the population of The Gambia is 2 million.

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