Flag of the Gambia

The national flag of the Gambia consists of three horizontal red, blue and green bands separated by two thin white fimbriations. Adopted in 1965 to replace the British Blue Ensign defaced with the arms of the Gambia Colony and Protectorate, it has been the flag of the Republic of the Gambia since the country gained independence that year. It remained unchanged throughout the Gambia's seven-year confederation with Senegal.

The Gambia
Flag of the Gambia
UseNational flag and ensign FIAV 111111.svg
AdoptedFebruary 18, 1965
DesignA horizontal tricolor of red, blue and green; each band of colour is separated by a narrow band of white
Designed byLouis Thomasi
Standard of the President
Variant flag of The Gambia
NameStandard of the President
DesignA blue flag with the national coat of arms charged in the center.


Flag of the Gambia Colony and Protectorate (1889–1965).

The British first arrived in what is now modern-day Gambia in 1661, when they conquered James Island. They proceeded to construct forts around the confluence of the Gambia River with the Atlantic Ocean, and gradually expanded their control upstream. This area became a protectorate in the 1820s under the jurisdiction of Sierra Leone, and eventually emerged as a separate crown colony of the United Kingdom within its colonial empire in 1888.[1] This newfound status gave the Gambia its own "distinctive" colonial flag.[2] This is because colonies were permitted to utilize the British Blue Ensign and deface it with the arms of the territory under the Colonial Naval Defence Act 1865. The arms of the Gambia at the time consisted of a circle depicting an elephant, a palm tree and hills, along with the letter "G" standing for the first letter of the territory's name.[2]

The Gambia was granted self-governance in 1963.[1] The defaced blue ensign continued to be used until full independence was granted in 1965.[3] The winning design for the new flag was created by Louis Thomasi, who worked as an accountant.[2][4] It is one of the few African flags that does not utilize the colours of the country's leading political party, since its design "has no political basis".[3][5] It was first hoisted at midnight on February 18, 1965, the day the Gambia became an independent country.[6][7] In 1982, the Gambia formed a confederation with Senegal, which lasted for seven years before its dissolution in 1989.[1] However, this closer union did not result in change of national symbols, and the Gambian flag continued to be flown during this time.[3]



The colours of the flag carry cultural, political, and regional meanings. The blue alludes to the Gambia River, which is the nation's key feature and is where the country derives its name from.[2] The red evokes the sun – given the Gambia's close proximity to the Equator[2] – as well as the savanna,[3][8] while the thin white stripes represent "unity and peace".[2][8] The green epitomizes the forest[3] and the agricultural goods that the Gambian people are heavily dependent on, both for exports and their personal use.[2]


The flag's colour scheme of red, blue, green and white is the same as the one featured on the coat of arms of the Gambia.[2]

It also uses the same colour combination of the unofficial Mars flag.[9]

Other usesEdit

Following the 2013 general election in Luxembourg, a three-party coalition between the Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party (LSAP), the Democratic Party (DP) and The Greens was formed.[10][11] It was labelled a "Gambia coalition", because the colours of the three political parties are identical to the ones on the flag of the Gambia – red (LSAP), blue (DP) and Green (The Greens).[11][12]

Military flags and ensignsEdit

Military flags and ensigns of the Gambia are following British practice but different from British military flags and ensigns.[citation needed]

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ a b c "History of The Gambia". Lonely Planet. Retrieved May 21, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Smith, Whitney. "Gambia, flag of The". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved May 21, 2014. (subscription required)
  3. ^ a b c d e Dorling Kindersley 2008, p. 77.
  4. ^ Dabo, Bakary (1992). The voice of the people: the story of the PPP, 1959–1989. Baroueli. Retrieved May 22, 2014. … Mr. Louis Thomasi, a private accountant, was selected as most suitable.
  5. ^ Dorling Kindersley 2008, p. 101.
  6. ^ "1965: Countdown to Gambian independence". BBC On This Day. BBC. Retrieved May 21, 2014.
  7. ^ "Gambia Flag Takes Place of Union Jack". The Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. February 18, 1965. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
  8. ^ a b "Gambia, The". The World Factbook. CIA. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
  9. ^ "Flag of mars website".
  10. ^ Norman, Laurence (December 2, 2013). "Luxembourg Parties Strike Deal Paving Way for New Government". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
  11. ^ a b Taylor, Simon (December 4, 2013). "Bettel to lead three-party 'Gambia' coalition in Luxembourg". European Voice. Retrieved May 22, 2014. (subscription required)
  12. ^ "Three-way "Gambia Coalition": a first for Luxembourg". Luxemburger Wort. October 22, 2013. Retrieved May 22, 2014.


External linksEdit