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Wed, 07.22.1964

Gambia Gains its Independence From the UK

Dawda Jawara

*On this date in 1964, the Gambia Independence Act 1964 was issued.  This was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that gave independence to The Gambia with effect from February 18, 1965.  

This episode happened 80 years after the Berlin Conference convened.  It marked the high point of white European competition for African territory, commonly known as the Scramble for Africa.  On this date, in 1964, a conference was held at Marlborough House to make plans for Gambian independence. A high-level delegation from The Gambia, led by Prime Minister Dawda Jawara, met with a British delegation led by Duncan Sandys, the Secretary of State for the Colonies. Sandys discussed an independent Gambia's need for financial assistance, and the British would play a part he envisaged.

February 18, 1965, was the actual day of independence. However, Sandys also noted that independence 'was not all about money.'  The Act also provided for the continued right of appeal from the Gambian courts to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, which was abolished in 1998 when Yahya Jammeh decided to reorganize the Gambian judiciary under the 1997 Constitution of The Gambia, which replaced the 1970 Constitution of The Gambia that had been suspended after the 1994 Gambian coup d'état on July 22, 1994. 

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