THE GAMBIA: COLONIAL PERIOD- PART II

By Capt. Ebou Jallo, 18 February 2021

  1. 1870 March: British government accepts French proposals on the cession of the Gambia in principle.

April: First petition against cession, signed by over 500 Gambians.                                                     May: Second petition against cession.                                                                                                        15 July: House of Commons debate reveals opposition to cession and leads to formal abandonment of negotiations by Britain (on 16 July).                                                                                               October: Third petition against cession.

AD
  1. 1871 May: Publication of the first Gambian newspaper, The Bathurst Times.
  2. 1874 12 April: French government proposes that the Gambia be exchanged for the Ivory Coast and the Mellacourie in Guinea-Conakry.
  3. 1875 Gambia Committee established to coordinate opposition in London to the cession of the Gambia to France. Methodist Boys’ High School opens

23 July: British government makes formal proposal to France over cession.

13 September: St. Mary’s High School opens in Bathurst.

29   September: Tomani Bojang, the last Soninke King of Kombo, surrenders to Foday Sillah and abdicates.

  1. 1876 29 February: Further petition against cession.                                                                                     20 March: Announcement in the House of Commons that British government will abandon negotiations with France over the Gambia.
  2. 1877–1887 Civil War in Baddibu between forces of Biram Ceesay, Saer Maty Ba, and Mamur Nderi Ba.
  3. 1883 23 January: First issue of The Bathurst Observer and West African Gazette, the Gambia’s first substantive newspaper.
  4. 1887 29 March: Establishment of Board of Health, with African representation.

29 April: New administrator, Samuel Rowe, arrives.                                                                             11 May: Saer Maty Ba, the Ruler of Baddibu, surrenders to Rowe.                                                            15 September: Leaders of 16 Jola towns in the Fonis sign an agreement with Rowe to come under British protection.                                                                                                                                            19 September: Kiang Chiefs sign treaty with Rowe.

  1. 1889 10 August: Anglo–French Agreement, which fixes the boundaries of the British colony of the Gambia and the French colony of Senegal, signed.                                                                     November: Agreement ratified.
  2. 1891 9 June: French and British commissioners sign an agreement marking the Gambia’s boundaries.
  3. 1892 Musa Molloh proclaims himself King of all Fuladu.                                                                          2 January: Fode Kaba driven into Casamance by British forces.
  4. 1894 26 February: Fode Sillah lays siege to Bathurst but he was driven back to the Kombos.

11 March: Fode Sillah captured by the French and exiled to northern Senegal escorted by Demba War Sall, a former general in Lat Dior’s army in Kajor.

27 December: Abolition of slave trading in the Protectorate.                                                                            28 December: First comprehensive ordinance for governing the Protectorate.

  1. 1901 22 March: Death of Fode Kaba at Medina.                                                                                     1 7 June: British protection secured over Fuladu through a treaty with Musa Molloh.
  2. 1906 Domestic slavery prohibited in the Gambia.
  3. 1919 Musa Molloh, king of Fulladu, deposed and exiled.
  4. 1922 2 January: Demonetization of French five-franc piece announced (ceases to be legal tender on 31 January).                                                                                                                                                        22 March: Muslims of Bathurst select Alhajj Ousman Jeng to be their first representative on the Legislative Council.                                                                                                                                        26 May: First issue of Edward Small’s newspaper, The Gambia Outlook and Senegambian Reporter, published in Senegal.
  5. 1932 31 March: Sheikh Omar Fye appointed as Muslim member of the Legislative Council, replacing Alhajj Ousman Jeng; Fye serves until 1947.
  6. 1943 13 January US President Franklin D. Roosevelt visits the Gambia.
  7. 1946 May: I. M. Garba-Jahumpa revives Bathurst Young Muslims Society (BYMS, founded 1936) as the first political organization formed in The Gambia.
  8. 1952 January: Garba-Jahumpa founds Gambia Muslim Congress (GMC).
  9. 1954 April: United Party (UP) formed by P. S. N’Jie.
  10. 1956 30 December: Foundation of Protectorate People’s Society (later PPP) by Alhajj Sanjali Bojang.
  11. 1959 January: Opening of Gambia High School following merger of Methodist Boys’ High School and Methodist Girls’ High School                                                                                                                                     14 February: Protectorate People’s Party formed at Basse.                                                                                           June: Alan Lennox-Boyd, secretary of state for the colonies, arrives in Bathurst on official visit.                                                                                                                                                                              4 June: “Bread and butter” demonstration and protest march on Government House against Lennox-Boyd results in police using physical force to break up the protest.                                                                                  23 September: Constitution drawn up by Governor Edward Windley, establishing theHouse of Representatives that replaces the Legislative Council, published (comes into force after 1960 election).                                                                                                                                                            December: Protectorate People’s Party renamed People’s Progressive Party (PPP).
  12. 1960 20–30 May: First national election held. PPP becamethe largest single party in the House, winning 9 out of 19 seats. The UP wins 5, the DCA 1, and 4 independents are elected.

15 June: UP stages walkout during official opening of House of Representatives protesting that  P. S. Njie was not offered a specific ministerial portfolio.                                                                                                      16 June: Governor Windley appoints members of all parties and independents to the Executive Council.                                                                                                                                                            1 October: PPP publishes its “Independence Manifesto.”

  1. 1961 24–28 January: Gambia Workers Union organizes successful general strike.

4 March: Resignation of PPP leader, D. K. Jawara, from the cabinet.                                                                           14 March: P. S. N’Jie appointed as Chief Minister.

24–27 July: Constitutional conference (London), leading to a new constitution allowing full internal self-government and a 32-member House of Representatives with ministerial government.

  1. 1962 1 April: Government-controlled Radio Gambia broadcasts for first time.

22–31 May: Second national election. PPP wins overall majority, with 18 out of 32 seats to the 13 for the UP and 1 for the DCA.                                                                                                                            4 June: D. K. Jawara becomes premier and appoints his first cabinet.                                                                5 July: First Cabinet meeting in The Gambia.                                                                                                                       11 December: The secretary of state for the colonies, Duncan Sandys, announces in the House of Commons that independence will be granted to the Gambia if a satisfactory basis for association with Senegal can be achieved.

  1. 1963 April: First PPP Congress held at Bathurst.                                                                                      17–18 April: First major comprehensive census of the Gambia.                                                                   4 October: The Gambia achieves internal self-government; Jawara becomes prime minister.                                                                                                                                  16 October: Arrival of United Nations (UN) team of experts led by H. J. van Mook.
  2. 1964 16 March: UN report submitted to Gambian government.                                                                        28–29 May: UN report discussed by Gambian and Senegalese governments in Dakar. June: Gambian government announces that it will seek full membership of the United Nations and the Commonwealth after independence.                                                                                                                                                                11 July: The Gambia and Senegal reach agreement on foreign policy, security, and defense issues, promising to support each other in the case of external attack (these come into force on 18 February 1965).                                                                                                                                                       22–30 July: Independence constitutional conference convened at Marlborough House, London.

30 July: Gambia Independence Agreement signed.                                                                                                   17 December: Queen Elizabeth II gives formal assent to the Independence Agreement.

  1. 1965 18 February: The Gambia achieves independence from Great Britain and becomes the 21stmember of the Commonwealth.                                                                                                                   27 May: PPP government announces proposal for The Gambia to become a republic in February 1966 under an executive president. 8 June: PPP ends coalition with UP, one day after dismissal of UP’s E. D. N’Jie as minister of health.                                                                                                                            5 August: Merger of PPP and DCA.                                                                                                              21 September: United Nations (UN) General Assembly formally approves The Gambia’s admission as the 116th member of the UN.                                                                                                                      30 September: J. C. Faye resigns from PPP in opposition to the “Republic Bill”.

9 November: Republic Bill passed by House of Representatives.                                                                                                            18–26 November: Government fails to achieve required two-thirds majority for a republic in a national referendum by 758 votes.

  1. 1966 10 February: Sir John Paul, the last British post holder, replaced as governor general by a Gambian pharmacist, Sir Farimang Singhateh.                                                                                                   17–26 May: First post-independence parliamentary election. PPP wins 24 seats to 8 for the UP/GCP alliance.
  2. 1967 6 February: GWU calls unsuccessful general strike, the first since independence.

19 April: Treaty of Association between The Gambia and Senegal signed in Bathurst.

9–10 June: First Inter-State Ministerial Committee held in Dakar.                                                             21 September: The Gambia joins the International Monetary Fund.

  1. 1968 28 January: Senegal and The Gambia sign agreement to establish Senegalo–Gambian Secretariat in Bathurst.                                                                                                                                               March: Establishment of Abuko Nature Reserve.                                                                                                               7 March: GCP dissolved by Garba-Jahumpa and merges with PPP.                                                              4 April: Garba-Jahumpa appointed minister of health.                                                                                                                1 September: PPP expels four former ministers or parliamentary secretaries, Sheriff Sisay, Paul Baldeh, Yusupha Samba, and K. C. A. Kah.

15 October: Formation of People’s Progressive Alliance (PPA).                                                                  30 October: Reorganization of provincial administration with the establishment of North Bank Division.                                                                                                                                              November: Diplomatic relations established with Taiwan.                                                                              December: Lucretia St. Clair Joof becomes first female member of the House of Representatives following her nomination by Dawda Jawara.

  1. 1969 11 January: President L. S. Senghor accuses The Gambia of economic aggression.

6 February: Demonstration against Senghor during a state visit to Bathurst.

13 May: PPP National Executive endorses proposed new republican constitution.

18 June: Jawara informs House of Representatives about constitutional proposals.

18 December: House of Representatives endorses republican constitution by 27 votes to 5.

Join The Conversation