Timeline Gambia

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Gambia is on the west coast of Africa, south of Senegal. It is the smallest country in mainland Africa.
    (WSJ, 1/2/98, p.8)(Econ, 8/24/13, p.65)

1455        Some Portuguese had come to The Gambia following the expeditions promoted by Prince Henry. They had introduced groundnuts, tie main cash crop of today, cotton, and some tropical fruits from Brazil. Their number, however, was never large and they were soon absorbed by intermarriage.

1588        The British started trading with the Gambians.

1651        Oct 26, Courlander Gambia was established as a Latvian colony.

1661        Mar 19, English occupied St. Andrew Island and other Courlander possessions in Gambia. They renamed the island James Island with administration by the Royal Adventurers in Africa Company.

1765        May 25, The Gambia was made a part of the British colony of SeneGambia with its headquarters 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        Bathurst already had a civilian population of 700 by 1818, the year that civil government was begun.

1821        Oct 17, The Gambia became administered as a crown colony from Sierra Leone. Since then Banjul (Bathurst) has been its capital.

1965        Feb 18, Gambia gained independence from Britain.
    (SFC, 7/1/97, p.A9)(www.vdiest.nl/gambia.htm)

1970        Apr, The country became a republic and a constitution was enacted.
    (SFC, 8/10/96, p.A9)

1975        May 25, ECOWAS Treaty1 was signed. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was formed 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.

1977        Apr 16, Alex Haley (1921-1992) arrived in Juffure, Gambia. He authored “Roots" in 1976.
    (MC, 4/16/02)

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

1994        Jul 23, Gambian soldiers proclaimed a military government in Dakar, Senegal.
    (AP, 7/23/97)

1994        Jul, Yahya Jammeh seized power in Gambia and suspended the 1970 constitution.
    (SFC, 8/10/96, p.A9)

1995        Gambia’s president, Captain Yahya Jammeh, defended the Nigerian government in the hanging of Ken Saro-Wiwa.
    (WSJ, 12/15/95, p.A-16)

1996        Aug 9, Gambia voters approved a new constitution that gave army ruler Yahya Jammeh the mandate to hold elections.
    (SFC, 8/10/96, p.A9)

1996        Sep 27, In Gambia Yahya Jammeh defeated 3 civilian rivals in national elections. Observers said that the elections were severely flawed. 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.
    (SFC, 9/28/96, p.A11)

1999        Jan 4, 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.
    (WSJ, 1/5/99, p.A1)

2000        Apr 10, In Gambia police fired on a student demonstration in Banjul and at least 9 people were killed. The Gambia Students Union was 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.
    (SFC, 4/11/00, p.D4)

2000        Apr 11, In Gambia students set fire to government buildings across the country to protest the killing of 12 people at a demonstration.
    (SFC, 4/12/00, p.A17)

2001        Apr 26, 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.
    (WSJ, 4/25/01, p.B4)

2002        Sep 26, Over 760 passengers and crew were believed to have perished when the crowded MS Joola, a state-run Senegalese ferry, heaved to its side shortly before midnight in a fierce storm off the coast of Gambia. There were only 62 known survivors. The toll was later raised to nearly 1,000 dead.
    (AP, 9/28/02)(SFC, 9/28/02, p.A1)(SSFC, 9/29/02, p.A18)(WSJ, 9/30/02, p.A1)

2003        Sep, Pres. Jammeh Yahya named Maimuma Taal-Ndure (34) as director general of Gambia’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
    (WSJ, 12/24/07, p.A8)

2004        Feb 17, The Gambian president announced the discovery of "large quantities" of oil in his tiny West African nation, saying the offshore find would eliminate poverty and hunger.
    (AP, 2/17/04)

2004        Aug, Following efforts by Maimuma Taal-Ndure, Gambia’s director of aviation, Britain removed Gambia from a blacklist allowing Gambian planes to again land in the UK.
    (WSJ, 12/24/07, p.A8)

2004        Dec, Deyda Hydara, a reporter for Gambian daily The Point, was shot and killed by unidentified gunmen. The slaying has never been solved.
    (AP, 7/31/06)

2005        Sep 21, 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.
    (AP, 9/22/05)

2006        Jan 13, 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 transfer aviation agency funds to another government agency. Her case was dismissed following a trial that stretched over 18 months.
    (WSJ, 12/24/07, p.A8)

2006        Mar, Gambia police closed the leading opposition paper, 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 Int’l. later said 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.
    (AP, 7/31/06)(WSJ, 12/24/07, p.A8)(AFP, 6/3/10)

2006        Jul 1, In Gambia a summit of more than 50 African leaders opened with the aim of pursuing regional integration, but conflicts in Darfur and Somalia are inevitably topping 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.
    (AFP, 7/1/06)(Reuters, 7/1/06)

2006        Jul 2, Africa's leaders meeting in Gambia agreed to send troops to Somalia to support regional efforts at calming the chaotic east African state.
    (Reuters, 7/2/06)

2006        Sep 22, Voters in Gambia went to the polls in a presidential election widely expected to hand incumbent strongman Yahya Jammeh a third elected term.
    (AP, 9/22/06)

2006        Sep 23, Gambian President Yahya Jammeh easily won a third term and called for a concerted effort to develop the country socially and economically.
    (AP, 9/23/06)

2006        Dec 13, The parliament of Gambia, one of the world's poorest countries, passed a law to give former presidents free foreign holidays, cars and personal staff for life after they leave office. 60% of Gambia’s people live on less than $1 (50 pence) a day.
    (AP, 12/13/06)

2007        Feb 22, Gambia expelled Fadzai Gwaradzimba, the UN chief representative in the country, after she expressed doubts over President Yahya Jammeh's claims to cure AIDS. Jammeh had claimed to have mystical powers and herbs to treat HIV/AIDS and asthma within three days.
    (www.aegis.com/news/afp/2007/AF070285.html)(Econ, 4/28/07, p.54)

2007        Oct 6, Gambia arrested 2 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 traveling with the London-based Bernath, a British-American national and Ayobele, a Nigerian, was also arrested. All 3 were released on bail on Oct 8.
    (AFP, 10/8/07)(AFP, 10/8/07)

2008        May 15, Gambia’s Pres. Yahya Jammeh ordered homosexuals to leave the country and in a televised speech threatened to cut off the head of anyone discovered to be gay.
    (SFC, 6/3/08, p.A3)

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

2008        Aug 12, Security forces in Gambia arrested Rear Adm. Bubo Na Tchuto, the suspected leader of an alleged plot to topple the government in nearby Guinea-Bissau.
    (AP, 8/12/08)

2008        Nov 29, In Gambia 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.
    (http://tinyurl.com/8ftt3c)(AP, 9/11/10)

2009        Mar 18, Amnesty international said authorities in Gambia have 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 this year of President Yahya Jammeh’s aunt. The concoctions left six people dead.
    (AP, 3/18/09)(AFP, 7/18/11)

2009        Jun 15, In Gambia seven journalists were detained after criticizing the nation's president, who has ruled the tiny country since a 1994 coup.
    (AP, 6/17/09)

2009        Sep 21, Gambian President Yahya Jammeh warned that anyone who sought to destabilize the tiny west African nation would be killed.
    (AP, 9/21/09)

2009        Nov 22, Iranian Pres. Ahmadinejad arrived in Gambia for a 24-hour working visit aimed at fostering relations between the Islamic republic and the West African nation.
    (AFP, 11/22/09)

2010        Jan 7, 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 have agreed to help el-Faisal find his way home to Jamaica.
    (AP, 1/7/10)

2010        Feb 26, Sierra Leone and five other west African countries (Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia and Guinea) signed onto an action plan in Freetown for sustainable mangrove management.
    (AFP, 2/27/10)

2010        Oct 19, The UN said that 377 people had died in flooding in central and west Africa, with nearly 1.5 million people affected since the start of the rainy season in June. The highest toll was in Nigeria with 118, followed by Ghana (52), Sudan (50), Benin (43), Chad (24), Mauritania (21), Burkina Faso (16), Cameroon (13), Gambia (12), with other countries reporting less than 10 dead.
    (AFP, 10/19/10)

2010        Oct 28, Israeli officials said that the military-grade armaments seized at a shipping terminal in Nigeria came from Iran and were bound for the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. On Oct 30 an international shipping company said the weapons cache originally came from Iran. Last week, the Iranian shipper filed a request for the containers to be picked up again and this time shipped to the West African nation of Gambia. On Feb 1, 2011, Azim Aghajani of Iran and his alleged accomplice, Nigerian national Usman Abbas Jega, both maintained their innocence against three charges over the shipment.
    (AP, 10/28/10)(AP, 10/30/10)(AP, 2/1/11)

2010        Nov 22, A Gambian Foreign Ministry statement was issued giving Iranian government officials 48 hours to leave the country. The next day a senior Gambian security official said the move was linked to Nigeria's recent seizure of arms sent from Iran which were allegedly destined for Gambia.
    (AP, 11/23/10)

2011        Feb 8, Hussein Abdullahi, Iran's ambassador to Nigeria, said that he had spoken to senior officials of the Nigerian government as soon as an arms shipment was seized last Oct 26 and told them that the intercepted cargo was the third of four Gambia-bound shipments originating from Iran.
    (AP, 2/10/11)

2011        Feb 9, Hussein Abdullahi, Iran's ambassador to Nigeria, said that a Gambia-bound arms shipment seized at Nigeria's busiest port three months ago did not breach sanctions imposed by the UN, because Iran and Gambia had signed a secret agreement two years before the UN's 2010 ban on Iranian arms exports.
    (AP, 2/10/11)

2011        Apr 22, Gambia said it wants the Libyan ambassador loyal to Moammar Gadhafi to leave and declared its support for the Benghazi-based rebel council.
    (AP, 4/22/11)

2011        May 9, The Gambian high court granted an application allowing the government to seize millions of dollars worth of Libyan assets "until a government recognized by the United Nations is in place in Libya."
    (AFP, 5/9/11)

2011        Jun 7, In Gambia former communications minister Amadou Janneh, a US national, was arrested along with others for "conspiring among themselves to carry out an enterprise with force with the intent to usurp the executive powers of the state."
    (AFP, 7/20/11) 

2011        Jul 18, Gambian Pres. Yahya Jammeh (46) said that neither the upcoming November presidential election nor a military coup, but only God, could unseat him from power.
    (AFP, 7/19/11)

2011        Jul 19, Gambian prosecutors charged Ndey Tapha Sosseh, the former president of the Gambia Press Union, with treason for attempting to overthrow the government of President Yahya Jammeh. She was currently living in exile in Mali.
    (AFP, 7/19/11)

2011        Oct 12, A Gambian court sentenced eight foreigners to 50 years in prison for trafficking cocaine worth a billion dollars. They included 4 Venezuelans, 2 Dutchmen, a Mexican and a Nigerian. Another accused Venezuelan died before the judgment.
    (AFP, 10/12/11)

2011        Nov 24, Gambia, continental Africa's smallest country, held elections. Voters popped a glass marble into a colored drum representing their candidate. President Yahya Jammeh (46) was widely expected to win a fourth term in office. The 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) withdrew from observing the poll after a fact-finding mission. Jammeh won with 72% of the vote.  
    (AFP, 11/24/11)(SFC, 11/26/11, p.A2)

2011        Dec 12, International Criminal Court (ICC) member states, meeting at The Hague, unanimously elected Fatou Bensouda of Gambia as the new chief prosecutor for the main genocide and war crimes tribunal.
    (AFP, 12/12/11)

2012        Jan 7, In Gambia Mamadou Jallow, a reporter with the privately owned The Daily News, was arrested. 3 days later he was charged with defaming a local chief in the Central River Region. Jallow had interviewed local farmers who accused chief Mamadou Lamin Baldeh of mismanaging public assets.
    (AFP, 1/11/12)

2012        Jan 17, Gambia's High Court sentenced Amadou Janneh, the former information minister, to life imprisonment for conspiring to overthrow the ruler of 17 years with T-shirts demanding an end to dictatorship. 3 others were sentenced to three years' imprisonment.
    (AP, 1/17/12)

2012        Feb 2, Gambian President Yahya Jammeh dissolved his cabinet, two months after he was reelected to a fourth term as the head of Africa mainland's smallest country.
    (AFP, 2/3/12)

2012        Mar 5, Gambia's Supreme Court upheld a request by the government to lift economic sanctions imposed on Libyan assets during the toppled regime of Moamer Kadhafi. The move restores tens of millions of dollars (euros) in property invested by the Libyan Arab African Investment Company (LAAICO) in Gambia to the ruling National Transitional Council in Tripoli.
    (AFP, 3/5/12)

2012        Mar 29, Gambians began voting in parliamentary elections boycotted by the opposition which has accused the ruling party of abusing the system to tip the poll in its favor. The election only took place in 23 of the 48 constituencies as the remaining 25 parliamentary seats held by the ruling Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) went unopposed due to the boycott.
    (AFP, 3/29/12)

2012        Apr 21, Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh warned foreign diplomats his country would not be "bribed" with aid to accept homosexuality.
    (AFP, 4/22/12)

2012        May 22, Gambian President Yahya Jammeh issued a harsh warning to criminals in the tiny African nation, telling security chiefs to "shoot first and ask questions later."
    (AFP, 5/23/12)

2012        Jun 15, Gambia's Fatou Bensouda (51) was sworn as the International Criminal Court's new chief prosecutor, saying she was ready to lead the fight against the world's worst war criminals.
    (AFP, 6/15/12)

2012        Aug 19, Gambian President Yahya Jammeh told his people that by the middle of September all those already sentenced to death for crimes will be executed.
    (AFP, 8/19/12)

2012        Aug 24, Gambia executed nine convicted criminals. Amnesty International warned that dozens more on death-row were under imminent threat as the West African nation carries out its first death sentences in 27 years.
    (AFP, 8/25/12)

2012        Sep 15, Gambian President Yahya Jammeh issued a statement saying that has he suspended the imminent executions of 37 inmates sentenced to death, as long as violent crime does not rise in Gambia.
    (AP, 9/15/12)

2012        Dec 3, Gambia detained Imam Baba Leigh. Media reports linked his arrest with comments he made in August 2012 in which he described the executions of nine people carried out by the government as "un-Islamic." Leigh was released on May 10, 2013.
    (AP, 5/11/13)

2013        Sep 27, Gambia's Pres. Yahya Jammeh warned the UN General Assembly that gays were a threat to human existence, along with excessive greed and obsession with world domination, and criticized other countries for regarding homosexuality as a human right.
    (Reuters, 9/27/13)

2013        Oct 2, The Gambian government announced that the former British colony is pulling out of the Commonwealth with immediate effect, saying it would "never be a member of any neo-colonial institution."
    (AFP, 10/3/13)

2013        Nov 14, Gambia’s Pres. Yahya Jammeh announced a break off of diplomatic relations with Taiwan after 18 years. The move was greeted with "shock and regret" by Taipei, which is now recognised by just 22 nations.
    (AFP, 11/15/13)

2013        Dec 18, Gambia jailed United Democratic Party treasurer Amadou Sanneh, a leading opposition politician, for sedition after he helped two supporters planning to flee to Finland.
    (AFP, 12/18/13)

2013        Gambia’s population was about 1.8 million.
    (Econ, 8/24/13, p.65)

2014        Feb 18, Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh called homosexuals "vermin."
    (Reuters, 2/18/14)

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