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1455 Some Portuguese had returned to settle in Gambia following earlier expeditions promoted by Prince Henry of Portugal. They introduced groundnuts to the area, (one of the main cash crops of today), cotton, and some tropical fruits that had originated from Brazil. However, their numbers were small and they were soon absorbed into the country by intermarriage.

1455 The Portuguese established trading stations along Gambia River.

1588   The British started trading with the Gambians.

1618 Portugal sold its coastal trading rights to Britain.

1642 France founded a trading post on the Gambia River.

1644 The first recorded purchase of slaves by British traders.

26th October 1651    Courlander Gambia was established as a Latvian colony.

1658 James Island was hand over to the Dutch.

19th March 1661   The English occupied St. Andrew Island and other Courlander possessions in Gambia, and renamed it James Island, administrated by the Royal Adventurers in Africa Company. Which they later lost to the Dutch.

1665 James Island was recaptured by Britain during the Second Dutch War.

1763 French traders and settlers are expelled from the region by Britain.

25th May 1765   Gambia was made a part of the British colony of SeneGambia with its headquarters being at St. Louis.

1807 Slave trading was abolished and James Island was used to check and stop the illicit traffic in slaves.

1816 Captain Alexander Grant obtained the sandy bank of Banjul Island by a treaty from the Chief of Kombo and built the planned city of Bathurst, now renamed Banjul.

1818 By this time Bathurst already had a civilian population of 700, the same year that civil a government was begun.

17th October 1821Gambia became administered as a crown colony from Sierra Leone. Since then Banjul (Bathurst) had been its capital.

1888 Gambia became a British Crown Colony.

1889 The present boundaries of Gambia were set by an agreement between Britain and France.

1894 Gambia became a British protectorate.

1906 Slavery in Gambia was totally abolished.

1945 Gambia achieved a limited self-government.

12th June 1962 Dawda Jawara gained power as prime minister of Gambia, the following year the country achieved full internal self-government.

18th February1965 Gambia achieved its independence within the Commonwealth under Prime Minister Dawda Jawara. Governor-general John Warburton Paul represented Queen Elisabeth II as head of state.

1970 Gambia became a republic following a referendum, and a constitution was enacted. Jawara was elected as the countries president.

25th May 1975   The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was formed and signed in Nigeria with 15 members that included: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.

16th April 1977 Alex Haley (1921-1992) arrived in Juffure, Gambia. Alex was the author of the hit novel “Roots” that he wrote in 1976.

30th July 1981   Senegalese troops aborted an attempt to overthrow the government of Gambia by a paramilitary field force, and President. Jawara was restored to power.

July 1981 Five hundred people were killed as Senegalese troops help suppress a coup in the country.

1982 Gambia and Senegal formed a loose confederation called Senegambia.

1989 The Senegambia confederation collapsed.

1991 Gambia and Senegal signed a friendship treaty.

23rd July 1994 Dawda Jawara was ousted from power during a coup by Gambian soldiers led by Lieutenant Yahya Jammeh, who proclaimed a military government in Dakar, Senegal. He also suspended the 1970 constitution.

December 1995 Gambia’s president, Captain Yahya Jammeh, defended the Nigerian government in the hanging of Ken Saro-Wiwa.

9th August 1996 Gambian voters approved a new constitution that gave army ruler Yahya Jammeh the mandate to hold elections.

27th September 1996 Captain Yahya Jammeh defeated three civilian rivals during national elections. Observers reported that the elections were severely flawed, after Jammeh’s government had outlawed opposition parties, muzzled the press, forbade meetings between rival candidates and foreign diplomats, and used soldiers to attack opposition rallies.

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

4th January 1999 In Sierra Leone Nigerian troops repelled a rebel attack on Freetown's airport. Gambia and Mali agreed to send troops to join the Nigerian forces.

January 2000 The Gambian Government announced it has foiled a military coup.

10th April 2000 Police fired on a student demonstration in Banjul, at least 12 people were killed. The Gambia Students Union had been denied a permit to march against the recent death of a high school student allegedly tortured by security members, and the reported rape of a 13-year-old girl by a police officer.

11th April 2000 Gambian students set fire to government buildings across the country to protest the killing of 12 people at an earlier demonstration.

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

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

26th April 2001 It was reported that a new malaria vaccine, developed by GlaxoSmithKline, would be given to children in Gambia in clinical trials funded by a charity associated with Bill Gates.

23rd July 2001 President Jammeh lifted the ban on the political parties he had overthrown during his military coup of 1994.

September 2001 A military court sentenced former head of the presidential guard Lieutenant Landing Sanneh to 16 years in prison for conspiracy in an alleged plot against President Jammeh.

October 2001 Jammeh won a second term in office. Foreign observers gave the poll a clean bill of health in spite of rising tension ahead of the vote.

January 2002 The Ruling Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction swept to power during parliamentary elections boycotted by the opposition amid widespread voter apathy.

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

26th  September 2002  Over 760 passengers and crew were believed to have perished when the crowded MS Joola, a state-run Senegalese ferry, capsized shortly before midnight in a fierce storm off the coast of Gambia. There were only 62 known survivors. The death toll was later raised to nearly 1,000 dead.

September 2003 President Jammeh Yahya named Maimuma Taal-Ndure (34) as director general of Gambia’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

17th February 2004 The president announced the discovery of "large quantities" of oil in his tiny West African nation, saying the offshore find would eliminate poverty and hunger.

August 2004 Following major efforts by Maimuma Taal-Ndure, (Gambia’s director of aviation), Britain finally removed Gambia from a blacklist, allowing Gambian planes to once again land in the UK.

December 2004 New press laws provided for the jailing of journalists found guilty of libel and sedition. Days later a critic of the law, prominent newspaper editor and reporter Deyda Hydara, was shot dead, his slaying has never been solved.

March 2005 Ministers and civil servants were sacked and more than thirty senior officials were arrested over corruption allegations.

21st September 2005   Pilots of a chartered jet carrying 289 Gambian soccer fans faked the need for an emergency landing in Peru so passengers could watch their nation's team play a key match.

October 2005 A dispute with neighbouring Senegal over ferry tariffs on the border led to a transport blockade of the country. The economies of both countries suffered badly. Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo later brokered talks to resolve the issue.

13th January 2006 Maimuma Taal-Ndure, Gambia’s director of aviation was arraigned on charges of economic crime, mostly related to the improvement of Banjul Airport. Taal-Ndure had resisted efforts to transfer aviation agency funds to another government agency. Her case was later dismissed following a trial that stretched over 18 months.

March 2006 The Government announced a planned military coup had been foiled.

March 2006 Gambia police closed the leading opposition newspaper, The Independent, after it published an article that incorrectly named a former interior minister among 23 people arrested for plotting a coup attempt. The paper printed a front-page retraction the next day, but the story ran up against a harsh new law that mandates prison sentences of at least six months for printing falsehoods. Daba Marena, director general of Gambia’s National Intelligence Agency, was arrested for allegedly taking part in a coup attempt. Amnesty International, later reported he may have been “extra-judicially executed.” In 2010 US-exiled Musa Saidykhan, former editor of The Independent, asked a regional court to order his government to pay him two million dollars in damages for alleged torture over the botched coup story.

July 2006 The head of the independent electoral commission Ndondi Njai was sacked. The opposition complained that many non-Gambians had illegally registered to vote.

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

1st July 2006 A summit of more than 50 African leaders opened with the aim of pursuing regional integration, but conflicts in Darfur and Somalia inevitably topped the agenda. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called on Africa to forge closer ties with Latin America to combat what he called a threat of U.S. hegemony.

2nd July 2006 African leaders meeting in Gambia agreed to send troops to Somalia to support regional efforts at calming the chaotic east African state.

22nd September 2006  Voters in Gambia went to the polls in a presidential election widely expected to hand incumbent strongman Yahya Jammeh a third elected term.

23rd September 2006 Gambian President Yahya Jammeh easily won a third term and called for a concerted effort to develop the country socially and economically.

13th December 2006    Gambia who at that time was classed as one of the world's poorest countries, went ahead and passed a law to give former presidents free foreign holidays, cars and personal staff for life after they leave office. At the time 60% of all Gambian people were living on less than $1 (50 pence) a day.

January 2007 The ruling Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) won parliamentary elections, and retained a tight grip on parliament.

22nd February 2007 Gambia expelled Fadzai Gwaradzimba, the United Nations chief representative in the country, after she expressed doubts over President Yahya Jammeh's claims to be able to cure AIDS. Jammeh had claimed to have mystical powers and herbs to treat HIV/AIDS and asthma within three days.

April 2007 Following another attempted coup d'état 10 ex-army officers are jailed.

6th October 2007 Gambia arrested two senior Amnesty International officials on suspicion of spying. Tania Bernath, Amnesty International's deputy director for Africa and an advocacy officer Ameen Ayobele, were arrested in the eastern town of Basse after they visited an opposition politician who has been held in detention for more than a year. Yaya Dath, a journalist with the country's privately-owned daily Foroyaa, who was travelling with the London-based Bernath, a British-American national and Ayobele, a Nigerian, was also arrested. All three were released on bail on 8th October 2008.

15th May 2008 President Yahya Jammeh told a rally (and televised speech) that he would "cut off the head" of any homosexual found in Gambia, and prompted an outcry from international gay rights campaigners. He also warned that legislation "stricter than those in Iran" would soon be introduced.

1st June 2008  In Liberia at least eight people suffocated at an overcrowded stadium during a soccer match between Liberia and Gambia.

12th August 2008 Security forces in Gambia arrested Rear Admiral Bubo Na Tchuto, for an alleged plot to topple the government in nearby Guinea-Bissau.

29th November 2008 The British missionary David Fulton (60) and his wife (46) were arrested for alleged sedition. Fiona Fulton was released in December 2009. David Fulton was freed in 2010 after serving nearly two years for sedition.

18th March 2009   Amnesty International reported that authorities in Gambia had rounded up about 1,000 people and forced them to drink hallucinogens in a witch-hunting campaign. Authorities began inviting "witch doctors," who combat witches, to come from nearby Guinea soon after the death earlier that year of President Yahya Jammeh’s aunt.

15th June 2009   Six journalists were jailed for publishing a statement criticising the president. They were later pardoned August 2009.

September 2009 President Jammeh threatened to kill all human rights workers as saboteurs.

21st September 2009   The President Yahya Jammeh warned that anyone who sought to destabilise Gambia would be killed.

22nd November 2009 The Iranian President Ahmadinejad arrived in Gambia for a 24-hour working visit aimed at fostering relations between the Islamic republic and the West African nation.

7th January 2010 Kenya deported Sheik Abdullah el-Faisal, a Jamaican-born radical Muslim cleric, to Gambia after several countries, including the United States, denied him a transit visa. Kenya's immigration minister said Gambian authorities had agreed to help el-Faisal find his way home to Jamaica.

26th February 2010 Sierra Leone and five other West African countries (Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia and Guinea) all signed an action plan in Freetown for sustainable mangrove management in their countries.

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

October 2010 The death penalty was introduced for possession of cocaine or heroin in a bid to discourage international drug trafficking.



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