celebrations are held every on the 18th
February of each year which marks the day
when Gambia gained full independence from colonial Britain
It is normally celebrated in Banjul
at McCarthy Square with a march pass by school children,
civil servants, the army, teachers and others in front
of the President
and other dignitaries.
The country had gained internal self-government
earlier in 1963.
The Gambia Independence Act 1964 (1964 c. 93) was an
Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom. It came into
operation on December 17, 1964.
The Act made provisions for the Gambia to gain full
independence and become a member of the Commonwealth
of Nations; prior to this, it had been a fully self-governing
"1. Fully responsible
status of The Gambia.— (1)
On and after 18th February, 1965 (in this Act referred
to as "the appointed day") all those territories
which immediately before the appointed day are comprised
either in the Colony of the Gambia or in the Protectorate
of the Gambia shall together form part of Her Majesty’s
dominions under the name of The Gambia; and on and
after that day Her Majesty’s Government in the United
Kingdom shall have no responsibility for the government
of those territories."
"1965: Countdown to Gambian independence
The Duke and Duchess of Kent have celebrated the end
of 300 years of colonial rule in Gambia with 35 chiefs.
At midnight Gambia will become the smallest - and
37th - sovereign state in Africa and the last of Britain's
West African colonies to gain independence.
It was the first African nation conquered by the British
and will become the 21st member of the Commonwealth,
as well as the 116th member of the United Nations.
Representing the Queen, the royal couple was escorted
to the mansa bengo - gathering of kings - by Gambian
Prime Minister Dawda Jawara and Governor Sir John
All the Gambian leaders showed their respect by removing
their shoes before greeting the British dignitaries.
The oldest chief, Toure Sagniang, said: "It gives
us confidence to know that as a monarchy we are members
of that family of which the Queen is head."
And he thanked the UK for its assistance in making
the transition to independence.
The traditional ceremony - in the village of Brikama,
22 miles from the capital, Bathurst - included soothsayers
and standard bearers, accompanied by drumming and
Guests from around 30 nations were present, including
the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs,
George Mennen, and the Soviet Ambassador to Sierra
Leone, Grigori Pashchenko.
Flag up -
The major celebration will begin tonight when the
Union Jack is lowered for the last time and replaced
with the red, white, blue and green of the Gambian
Presentations from the Gambian and British delegations
will complete the formal beginning of independence.
The British Government has promised to provide support
for Gambia, valued at £3m for the next two-and-a-half
In 1965 the Gambia had a total population of 320,000.