The Gambia (1965–1970)

Between 1965 and 1970, The Gambia was an independent sovereign state that shared its head of state with the United Kingdom and other states headed by Queen Elizabeth II. It was a predecessor to the modern-day republic of The Gambia.

Gambia was given independence from Britain in 1965 under the Gambia Independence Act 1964, which unified the British Crown Colony and Protectorate of the Gambia into an independent sovereign state. The British monarch, Elizabeth II, remained head of state of the Gambia, which shared its Sovereign with other Commonwealth realms. The Queen's constitutional roles were mostly delegated to the Governor-General of the Gambia. Governors-general who held office in the Gambia were:

  1. John Warburton Paul (18 February 1965 – 9 February 1966)
  2. Farimang Mamadi Singateh ( 9 February 1966 – 24 April 1970)

After two referenda on the issue, the monarchy was abolished on 24 April 1970, when the Gambia became a republic within the Commonwealth. The first referendum in 1965, with 65.85% in favour and 34.15 against, failed to reach the two-thirds majority needed to pass. The second in 1970 with 70.45% percent of the Gambian people voting in favour of a republic and 29.55% against, was successful. The Gambia adopted a new constitution in 1970 which abolished the monarchy. Dawda Jawara, the prime minister (and head of government) from 1965, became the first President of the Gambia.

Queen Elizabeth II did not visit the Gambia between 1965 and 1970. She visited in 1961 (3–5 December).

The Gambia

Motto: "Progression, Peace, Progress"
Anthem: For The Gambia Our Homeland
Location of the Gambia (dark red) in Western Africa.
Location of the Gambia (dark red) in Western Africa.
GovernmentConstitutional monarchy
• 1965–1970
Elizabeth II
• 1965–1966
Sir John Paul
• 1966–1970
Sir Farimang Mamadi Singateh
Prime Minister 
• 1965–1970
Sir Dawda Jawara
Historical eraCold War
• Independence
18 February 1965
• Republic
24 April 1970
CurrencyGambian Pound (from 1966)
ISO 3166 codeGM
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Gambia Colony and Protectorate
The Gambia


  • "REPUBLIC OF THE GAMBIA BILL [Lords] (Hansard, 26 May 1970)". Retrieved 2017-01-26.

Coordinates: 13°30′00″N 15°30′00″W / 13.5000°N 15.5000°W

Commonwealth realm

A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state in which Queen Elizabeth II is the reigning constitutional monarch and head of state. Each realm is independent from the other realms. As of 2019, there are 16 Commonwealth realms: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and the United Kingdom. All 16 Commonwealth realms are members of the Commonwealth of Nations, an intergovernmental organisation of 53 member states. Elizabeth II is Head of the Commonwealth.

In 1952, Britain's proclamation of Elizabeth II's accession used the term realms to describe the seven sovereign states of which she was queen—the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan and Ceylon. Since then, new realms have been created through independence of former colonies and dependencies and some realms have become republics.

Elizabeth II

Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926) is Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms.Elizabeth was born in London as the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York, later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, and she was educated privately at home. Her father acceded to the throne on the abdication of his brother King Edward VIII in 1936, from which time she was the heir presumptive. She began to undertake public duties during the Second World War, serving in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. In 1947, she married Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, a former prince of Greece and Denmark, with whom she has four children: Charles, Prince of Wales; Anne, Princess Royal; Prince Andrew, Duke of York; and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.

When her father died in February 1952, she became head of the Commonwealth and queen regnant of seven independent Commonwealth countries: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan and Ceylon. She has reigned as a constitutional monarch through major political changes, such as devolution in the United Kingdom, Canadian patriation, and the decolonisation of Africa. Between 1956 and 1992, the number of her realms varied as territories gained independence and realms, including South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon (renamed Sri Lanka), became republics. Her many historic visits and meetings include a state visit to the Republic of Ireland and visits to or from five popes. Significant events have included her coronation in 1953 and the celebrations of her Silver, Golden, and Diamond Jubilees in 1977, 2002, and 2012 respectively. In 2017, she became the first British monarch to reach a Sapphire Jubilee. She is the longest-lived and longest-reigning British monarch as well as the world's longest-serving female head of state, oldest-living monarch, longest-reigning current monarch, and the oldest and longest-serving current head of state.

Elizabeth has occasionally faced republican sentiments and press criticism of the royal family, in particular after the breakdown of her children's marriages, her annus horribilis in 1992 and the death in 1997 of her former daughter-in-law Diana, Princess of Wales. However, support for the monarchy has consistently been and remains high, as does her personal popularity.

Gambia Colony and Protectorate

The Gambia Colony and Protectorate was the British colonial administration of the Gambia from 1821 to 1965, part of the British Empire in the New Imperialism era. The colony was the immediate area surrounding Bathurst (now Banjul), and the protectorate was the inland territory situated around the Gambia River, which was declared in 1894. The foundation of the colony was Fort James and Bathurst, where British presence was established in 1815 and 1816, respectively. For various periods in its existence it was subordinate to the Sierra Leone Colony, however by 1888 it was a colony in its own right with a permanently appointed Governor.

The boundaries of the territory were an issue of contention between the British and French authorities due to the proximity to French Senegal. Additionally, on numerous occasions the British government had attempted to exchange it with France for other territories, such as on the upper Niger River.France and Britain agreed in 1889 in principle to set the boundary at six miles north and south of the river and east to Yarbutenda, the furthest navigable point on the river Gambia. This should have been followed by the dispatchment of a joint Anglo-French Boundary Commission to map the actual border. Yet, at its arrival on place in 1891, the boundary commission was met with resistance by local leaders whose territories they were coming to divide. The boundary commission could nevertheless rely on British naval power; British ships bombed the town of Kansala to force the Gambians to back off, and according to the 1906 The Gambia Colony and Protectorate: An Official Handbook men and guns from three warships landed on the riverbanks “as a hint of what the resisters had to expect in the event of any continued resistance.” The colony ended in 1965 when Gambia became an independent state within the Commonwealth of Nations, with Dawda Jawara as Prime Minister.


Governor-general (plural governors-general) or governor general (plural governors general), in modern usage, is the title of an office-holder appointed to represent the monarch of a sovereign state in the governing of an independent realm. Governors-general have also previously been appointed in respect of major colonial states or other territories held by either a monarchy or republic, such as French Indochina.

List of living former sovereign monarchs

This is a list of former monarchs of sovereign states who are living to date. While most monarchs retain their position for their lifetime, some choose to abdicate in favour of a younger heir, while other monarchs are deposed when their monarchies are abolished or when another ruler seizes power by force. By international courtesy, these individuals are usually still addressed by their monarchical titles.

List of state leaders in 1965

This is a list of heads of state, heads of governments, and other rulers in the year 1965.

List of state leaders in 1966

This is a list of heads of state, heads of governments, and other rulers in the year 1966.

List of state leaders in 1967

This is a list of heads of state, heads of governments, and other rulers in the year 1967.

List of state leaders in 1968

This is a list of heads of state, heads of governments, and other rulers in the year 1968.

List of state leaders in 1969

This is a list of heads of state, heads of governments, and other rulers in the year 1969.

List of state leaders in 1970

This is a list of heads of state, heads of governments, and other rulers in the year 1970.

Personal union

A personal union is the combination of two or more states that have the same monarch while their boundaries, laws, and interests remain distinct. A real union, by contrast, would involve the constituent states being to some extent interlinked, such as by sharing some limited governmental institutions. In a federation and a unitary state, a central (federal) government spanning all member states exists, with the degree of self-governance distinguishing the two. The ruler in a personal union does not need to be a hereditary monarch.The term was coined by German jurist Johann Stephan Pütter, introducing it into Elementa iuris publici germanici (Elements of German Public Law) of 1760.Personal unions can arise for several reasons, ranging from coincidence (a woman who is already married to a king becomes queen regnant, and their child inherits the crown of both countries; the King of one country inherits the crown of another country) to virtual annexation (where a personal union sometimes was seen as a means of preventing uprisings). They can also be codified (i.e., the constitutions of the states clearly express that they shall share the same person as head of state) or non-codified, in which case they can easily be broken (e.g., by the death of the monarch when the two states have different succession laws).

The Commonwealth realms are independent states that share the same person as monarch.

Because presidents of republics are ordinarily chosen from within the citizens of the state in question, the concept of personal union has almost never crossed over from monarchies into republics, with the rare exception of the President of France being a co-prince of Andorra. In 1860 Marthinus Wessel Pretorius was simultaneously elected as the president of Transvaal and Orange Free State and he tried to unify the two countries but his mission failed and led to the Transvaal Civil War.

Prime Minister of the Gambia

Prime Minister of the Gambia, known as Chief Minister from 1961–1962, was the head of government in the Gambia Colony and Protectorate, and later The Gambia, from 1961 to 1970. The position was only held by two people, Pierre Sarr N'Jie and Dawda Jawara.


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