A CONCISE HISTORY OF THE GAMBIA- PART I

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A CONCISE HISTORY OF THE GAMBIA- PART I

By Capt. Ebou Jallo, 18 February 2021

  1. Circa 750–1000 Stone circles at Wassu and Kerr Batch constructed.
  2. Circa 1200 First Fula migrants settle in the Gambia River area.
  3. Circa 1235–1600 Mali Empire rules over western Sudan, including the Gambia area.
  4. Circa 1400 The Mandinka established themselves as the dominant ethnic group in the Gambia, displacing the Jola.
  5. 1455 First European expedition to Senegal and the Gambia by Alvise da Cadamosto and Antoniotto Usodimare on behalf of Prince Henry of Portugal.
  6. 1587 First English ships reach the Gambia River under command of Francisco Ferreira, a Portuguese refugee.
  7. 1618 August: Royal charter given to the Company of Adventurers of London Trading into Africa. September: First English expedition to the Gambia led by George Thompson of the Company of Adventurers.
  8. 1621 Dutch West India Company takes control of Island of Gorée.
  9. 1651 October: Duchy of Courland formally establishes a colony in the Gambia and builds a fort (Fort Jacob) on St. Andrew’s Island.
  10. 1655 Otto Stiel appointed acting chief agent of the Duchy of Courland in the Gambia.
  11. 1664 22 January: Holmes captures Gorée from the Dutch.    October: Dutch retake Gorée.

17 November: Duchy of Courland formally cedes the Gambia to England.

  1. 1677 1 November: French capture Gorée from Dutch.
  2. 1679 French Compagnie du Senegal obtains trading rights on the North Bank of the Gambia River.
  3. 1681 May: French purchase land at Albreda from the king of Barra and establish a base there.
  4. 1689 May: England declares war on France.
  5. 1693 8 February: John Booker captures Gorée from French and partly demolished its fort.                                                         June: French recapture Gorée.
  6. 1695 27 July: French capture James Island.                               August: French blow up James Fort.
  7. 1698 13 April: French reoccupy Albreda.
  8. 1709 c. 15 June: James Island abandoned by English
  9. 1752 April: Company of Merchants Trading to Africa assumes sole control over the Gambia.
  10. 1765 25 May: British government formally assumes control of the Gambia, establishing Province of Senegambia with headquarters at Saint-Louis.                                                             28 December: Lieutenant Colonel Charles O’Hara appointed as first governor.
  11. 1775 O’Hara resumes large-scale slave trading in the Senegambia
  12. 1783 3 September: Province of Senegambia reverts to French control under the Treaty of Versailles, with the British retaining the Gambia River and James Island and France retaining trading rights at Albreda. Company of Merchants Trading to Africa resumes control of the Gambia. On the north bank and south bank of the Gambia River, 15 kingdoms exist, mostly controlled by the Mandinka. On 4 April 1800 British captured Gorée from French.
  13. 1804 January: French recapture Gorée. 8 March: English recapture Gorée.
  14. 1807 25 March: Parliament passes Abolition of Slave Trade Act, abolishing slave trade in the British Empire from 1 May.
  15. 1814 Transfer of Senegal to France.
  16. 1816 19 March: Captain Alexander Grant dispatched from Gorée with 50 soldiers and 24 artisans to reoccupy James Island.                                                                                                23 April: Grant purchases Banjul Island from the king of Kombo, renaming it St. Mary’s. New town of Bathurst (Banjul) was subsequently constructed as a main civilian settlement.     20 July: Earl Bathurst formally approves occupation of St. Mary’s.                                                                                            5 October: MacCarthy informs Bathurst that he will withdraw almost all troops from James Island.
  17. 1821 17 October: Gambia forms part of the British West African Settlements under jurisdiction of the governor of Sierra Leone.
  18. 1823 14 April: Lemain Island ceded to British by the king of Kataba and renamed MacCarthy Island.
  19. 1827 15 May: The King of Wuli signs treaty of friendship with the British, agreeing to suppress the slave trade in his territory.
  20. 1832 3 January: Right to possess slaves abolished.                                                        5 January: The king of Barra, Burungai Sonko and the British sign a peace treaty to end the Barra War.                                     July: First official transfer of Liberated Africans [ the AKUs] from Freetown to the Gambia.
  21. 1835 Forster and Smith open a mill in London to crush groundnuts and render the oil.                                                   June: Rendall organizes an expedition against Kemintang Kamara, the King of Niani, but this ends in failure with the capture of two abandoned British guns.
  22. 1837 August–September: Major outbreak of yellow fever in Bathurst kills half the European population.  Hence, the name “Half-Die” in Banjul.
  23. 1851 31 March: First census of the Colony conducted.                                             11 June: Establishment of Supreme Court and Court of Appeal in the Gambia.
  24. 1853 24 May: Upper Kombo ceded to the British by the King of Kombo, Suling Jatta.                                                           1 June: British force captures Sabaji (Sukuta)
  25. 1854 July: Opening of Royal Victoria Hospital in Banjul.
  26. 1855 24 June: Marabout forces attack Busumbala and kill Suling Jatta, the King of Kombo.                                                                                                       17 July: British force under O’Connor routed at Sabaji.                                                                              4 August: Sabaji recaptured by combined Anglo–French force.
  27. 1857 19 May: French surrender Albreda to British in exchange for rights in the gum trade at Portendic.
  28. 1859 28 February: Establishment of Gambia militia (Gambia Armed Forces)
  29. 1861 16 February: D’Arcy launches an expedition against the King of Baddibu, Jeriba Marong, for harassing Bathurst traders.                                                                                           26 February: Peace treaty signed between British and Marong.                                                                18 August: Treaty signed between Gambia government and Marong.
  30. 1862 February: Ma Ba Jahu begins attacks on Soninke in Baddibu.                        May: Ma Ba’s army sent to Niumi to aid Marabout forces.
  31. 1863 Export duty imposed on groundnuts for the first time.                                        24 February: Governor D’Arcy signs treaty of friendship with Ma Ba.                                             March: Ma Ba forces defeated at Battle of Kwinella in Kiang.
  32. 1865 30 November: Ma Ba’s forces defeat French forces at Battle of Pathébadiane in Senegal. December: French consul in Bathurst informs D’Arcy that the Liberated African community (the AKUs) plotting to murder all the Europeans in the town.
  33. 1866 March: French government proposes that the Gambia be exchanged for French Territory.
  34. 1867 July: Death of Ma Ba at Battle of Somb, Sine in Senegal.
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