HISTORY: The Gambia, translated from the French La Gambia was first colonized by Portugal in 1445 on what was later named St. Mary's Island. Subsequently, the area was visited by France and later, Britain who began to build strong trading posts along it's western shores. In the 1700's The Gambia was proclaimed to be part of Britain. By 1969 The Gambia became a republic within the British commonwealth of nations. In 1982 it was declared a republic in what was later declared the Senegambian conference.
The Gambia stated its independence from Britain and the Province of Senegal. The Gambia then established The People's Progressive Party led by, Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara , until the change of government in 1994. Today The Gambia lives under a multi-party system. The Constitution of the Second Republic of The Gambia provides elections by making everyone over the age of 18 pay suffrage. Every five years the people elect 45 candidates that make up the county's National Assembly.
Four parties made up the 1996 elections. The Alliance for Patriotic Re-Orientation and Construction (APRC), The United Democratic Party (UDP), The National Reconciliation Party (NRP), and The People's Democratic Organization for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS). On October 18, 1996 Yahya Jammeh (ADRC) won 56% of the votes to become the new president of The Gambia. The flag consist of three horizontal stripes. From top to bottom they are: red, blue, then green. Sorry I couldn't get a color print on the flag pictured below.
TOPOGRAPHY: The Gambia is a long narrow country focusing around the central river that gave them their name. The Gambia river is 300 miles long inside The Gambia and is about 3 miles wide at most points. The Gambia has a total land area of 4,000 miles. It is relatively flat with few mountains and has an inward sloping bowl shape from where the Gambia river once covered. The Gambia river opens into the ocean at the western most tip of The Gambia. The capital, Banjul, is located near the inlet to the river and is a very large city with many tourist attractions and shops to buy stuff in. The Gambia is located completely within the county of Senegal from which it won it's independence. The river is navigable up to 241km inland. After that point is impossible to further follow the river without the aid of a specialized boat for such a trip. Gambia is known to have the most agreeable climate in the whole of West Africa because of their amazingly mild climate which keeps the temperatur! e range between 70°F and 80°F in the winter, and 80°F and 90°F in the summer. The one failure in their weather is their unusually high humidity, ranging from 30% to 60% all year long.
POPULATION GROWTH: Since first colonized by the Portuguese, The Gambia's population has steadily risen quadraticaly. This graph shows that if this trend continues then The Gambia might soon run into problems with hunger and lack of space. The estimated population in 1950 was 500 thousand people which grew to 600 in 1960, 730 in 1970, 960 in 1980, and finally the population today is estimated to be around 1.2 million people.
ECONOMICS: The economics of The Gambia are highly reliant on their agriculture which consists of bananas, cassava, corn, hides and skins, limes, goats, cattle, sheep, mangoes, millet, oranges, palm kernels, papayas, peanuts, rice, and vegetables. Recently though, the government has put millions of dollars into tourism as to create a more stable less reliant economy.
GOVERNMENT: Right now, The Gambia, Is under the control of The Alliance for Patriotic Re-Orientation and Construction (APRC), led by Yahya Jammeh. The country is a republic with everyone over the age of 18 who pays suffrage to the country being able to vote for the president and the 45 members of the National Assembly. These people then represent the people by voting on all bills and laws passed by the senate. Before The Gambia became under republic rule, it was governed by the military after they threw over the government in1994 soon to be re-overthrown by the people of The Gambia.
NATIONAL ANTHEM: For the gambia our homeland For The Gambia, our homeland We strive and work and pray, That all may live in unity, Freedom and peace each day. Let justice guide our actions Towards the common good, And join our diverse peoples To prove man's brotherhood.
We pledge our firm allegiance, Our promise we renew Keep us, great God of nations, To The Gambia ever true.
MY TRIP TO GAMBIA: For my trip to The Gambia I plan to take off from the San Diego international airport on a 6am flight. I should reach Florida at about 12noon where I will have a lay over for 2 hours while they refuel and prepare the flight. After the wait I will board the flight and reach The Gambia at about 8am the next day. I'll have reservations at the hotel for the day I arrive. I plan to have such a severe case of jet lag as to render me bed ridden for the next 2 days. After I recover I will spend another 2 days exploring the sites around the hotel in eastern The Gambia. After those days are up I will hop on a small charter boat and take the river east until I reach the west coast of Africa. This trip should take 3 weeks. After I arrive at the coast I will stay at the beach for 2 days then head to the capital ad stay there for 3 days. After that, I will take off from a local airport and head the same back as the way I came.