The Gambia profile - Timeline

  • 2 December 2016
  • From the section Africa

A chronology of key events:

1455 - Portuguese establish trading stations along Gambia river.

Image copyright visnews
Image caption Dawda Jawara was prime minister at independence and was ousted in 1994

1889 - Present boundaries of The Gambia set by agreement between Britain and France.

1894 - The Gambia becomes a British protectorate.

1965 - The Gambia becomes independent with Dawda Jawara as prime minister.

1970 - The Gambia becomes a republic following a referendum; Jawara elected president.

1981 - Five hundred people are killed as Senegalese troops help suppress a coup.

1982 - The Gambia and Senegal form a loose confederation called Senegambia.

1989 - Senegambia confederation collapses.


1994 - Jawara ousted in coup led by Lieutenant Yahya Jammeh.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Gambia has an unusual voting system in which voters deposit marbles into a steel drum marked with the candidate of their choice

1996 - New multiparty constitution promulgated, but three major political parties remain prohibited from taking part in elections; Jammeh elected president.

1998 - A British human rights group, Article Nineteen, accuses the Gambian government of harassing opposition activists and journalists.

2000 January - Government says it has foiled a military coup.

2000 April - At least 12 people are shot dead during student demonstrations against the alleged torture and murder of a student the previous month.

2000 June - Ousainou Darboe, leader of the main opposition United Democratic Party, and 20 of his supporters are charged with the murder of activist of the ruling Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction.

2000 July - Nine soldiers and businessmen charged with treason in connection with an alleged plot to overthrow the government.

2001 23 July - President Jammeh lifts the ban on the political parties he overthrew in his military coup of 1994.

2001 September - Military court sentences former head of the presidential guard Lieutenant Landing Sanneh to 16 years in prison for conspiracy in an alleged plot against Jammeh.

Second term for Jammeh

2001 October - Jammeh wins a second term. Foreign observers give the poll a clean bill of health in spite of rising tension ahead of the vote.

2002 January - Ruling Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction sweeps parliamentary elections boycotted by the opposition amid widespread voter apathy.

2002 May - Opposition MPs and journalists condemn a new media law, passed by parliament, as draconian and intended to muzzle the independent press.

2004 February - President Jammeh announces the discovery of large reserves of oil.

2004 December - New press law provides for the jailing of journalists found guilty of libel, sedition. Days later a critic of the law, prominent editor Deyda Hydara, is shot dead.

2005 March - Ministers and civil servants are sacked and more than 30 senior officials are arrested over corruption allegations.

2005 October - Dispute with neighbouring Senegal over ferry tariffs on the border leads to a transport blockade. The economies of both countries suffer. Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo brokers talks to resolve the issue.

2006 March - Government says a planned military coup has been foiled.

2006 July - Head of the independent electoral commission Ndondi Njai is sacked. The opposition complains that many non-Gambians have illegally registered to vote.

2006 August - Thousands flee into Gambia from Senegal's southern Casamance region to escape fighting between Senegalese troops and separatists.

Third Jammeh term

2006 September - Jammeh wins a third term.

2007 January - Ruling Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) wins parliamentary elections, retaining a tight grip on parliament.

Image caption Deyda Hydara, a critic of strict media laws, was murdered in 2004. Others journalists have gone missing or have been jailed

2007 February - UN development envoy Fadzai Gwaradzimba is expelled for criticizing the president's assertion that he can cure AIDS.

2007 April - Ten ex-army officers are sentenced to prison for plotting a coup.

2008 May - President Yahya Jammeh tells a rally that he would "cut off the head" of any homosexual found in The Gambia, prompting an outcry from international gay rights campaigners.

2009 March - Amnesty International says hundreds have been kidnapped during a government campaign against "witchcraft".

2009 August - Six journalists are jailed for publishing a statement criticising the president. They are later pardoned.

2009 September - President Jammeh threatens to kill human rights workers as saboteurs.

2010 July - Eight men, including a former army chief, are sentenced to death for their part in an alleged coup plot in 2009.

2010 October - Death penalty introduced for possession of cocaine or heroin in a bid to discourage international drug trafficking.

2010 November - Gambia cuts ties with Iran, after Nigeria says it intercepts a shipment of Iranian arms destined for Gambia.

2011 May - Former army and navy chiefs sentenced to 20 years in prison for involvement in March 2006 coup bid.

2011 July - Amnesty International marks Gambia's Freedom Day by criticising unlawful killings, enforced disappearances and torture by the security forces.

Fourth Jammeh Term

2011 November - President Jammeh wins another term in widely criticised elections.

2012 January - Former information minister Amadou Janneh sentenced to life in prison after distributing T-shirts with the slogan ''an End to Dictatorship''.

2012 March - Ruling party wins parliamentary polls boycotted by the opposition.

2012 June - Ex-justice minister Fatou Bensouda is sworn in as the International Criminal Court's new chief prosecutor in The Hague.

2012 August - Gambia executes nine prisoners by firing squad.

2012 September - President Jammeh suspends executions following international criticism of resumption of capital punishment.

2013 October - President Jammeh announces Gambia's withdrawal from the Commonwealth, describing it as a "neo-colonial institution".

2014 December - Group of Gambian diplomats in London who imported and sold 29 tonnes of tax-free tobacco are jailed. The Gambian government waived their diplomatic immunity.

A group of disaffected soldiers launch a foiled coup bid while President Jammeh is out of the country.

2015 January - Dozens of soldiers and civilians are arrested following December's foiled coup bid.

Two men are charged in the United States with attempting to stage a coup in Gambia. The two, who are of Gambian origin, are accused of conspiring against a friendly nation and conspiring to possess firearms.

Senegal expels Gambian opposition figure Cheikh Sidya Bayo to France, accusing him of being a threat to public order.

2016 May - Senegal blocks border with The Gambia.

2016 June - Government carries out brutal crackdown on political opponents ahead of December elections, Amnesty International reports.

2016 August - Death in detention of opposition party member Ebrima Solo Kurumah.

Jammeh's rule ends

2016 December - President Yahya Jammeh's 22-year rule ends after opposition candidate Adama Barrow wins more than 45% of the vote in presidential elections.