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The Gambia, The Republic of The Gambia

Last modified: 2013-12-22 by rob raeside
Keywords: gambia | coat of arms: tools | lions: 2 | progress peace prosperity | palm tree |
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Flag of the Gambia image by Željko Heimer, 6 October 2001
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Description of the flag

Horizontally divided flag with stripes top to bottom red, white, blue, white, green in ratio 6:1:4:1:6.
Željko Heimer, 06 Oct 2001

Dorling-Kindersley [rya97] says this was adopted on 18 February 1965 and Smith [smi76] is more precise, saying that it was «officially hoisted on 18 February 1965», which may (or not) mean that the flag had been use before.
Ivan Sache, 06 Oct 2001

These symbols [flag and arms] were not modified during the short-lived Senegambian Federation (1981-1989). Remember that Gambia is enclaved within Senegal. The distance between both north and south borders never exceeds 25 km.
Ivan Sache, 06 Oct 2001

Construction details

specs of the Gambian Flag image by Željko Heimer, 6 October 2001

The protocol manual for the London 2012 Olympics (Flags and Anthems Manual London 2012) provides recommendations for national flag designs. Each NOC was sent an image of the flag, including the PMS shades, for their approval by LOCOG. Once this was obtained, LOCOG produced a 60 x 90 cm version of the flag for further approval. So, while these specs may not be the official, government, version of each flag, they are certainly what the NOC believed the flag to be. For Gambia, PMS 032 red, 293 blue, 355 green. The vertical flag is simply the horizontal version turned 90 degrees anti-clockwise.
Ian Sumner, 11 October 2012


Meanings of the flag

Symbolism: light blue, the Gambia River that flows through the land; red, the sun overhead; green, the land.
David Kendall, 1 October 1996

Note that a possible source for the symbolism given above is Smith (1976) [smi76].
Ivan Sache, 6 October 2001

Dorling-Kindersley Pocket Book (1998) [rya97] gives as symbolism of the colours: Green is said to represent forest and red savannah.
Ivan Sache, 6 October 2001

Politikens Flagbook, 2000 [rya98a], has for the colours (translated):

Red symbolizes the savannah’s grass plains and the sun; the blue stripe stands for the River Gambia; green symbolizes the forests as well as agriculture.
But in the text it says (translated):
The blue stripe symbolizes the River Gambia, which flows between the green forest and the red savannah. White stands for unity and peace.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 7 October 2001

According to M. Tallocci [tal93], the white fimbriations represent peace and purity.
Ivan Sache, 4 October 1996

The article [oaw07] says the blue stripe, which represents the river, in the middle; the white stripes on either side represent the lowland rice fields. The red and green stripes at top and bottom represent the higher land - red for laterite, green for forest.
Richard Mallett, 28 April 2007

In some sources, the interpretation of the colours is slightly different for the coat of arms.
Ivan Sache, 6 October 2001

Mistaken depiction on official postage stamp

Error Flag of the Gambia image by António Martins, 21 August 2007

Gambia SG 395 (13th. anniversary of independence 1978) which shows the flag as red-white-green-white-blue — the article [oaw07] says.
Richard Mallett, 28 April 2007

The stamp FotW#02249 shows two scarcely clad men trying to tip each other off a narrow rail by hitting one another with pillows, in what seems to be a sporting competition. The said pillows are white with a wide stripe patterned after the national flag of Gambia, but with green and blue swapped.
António Martins, 21 August 2007


President flag

Flag of the Gambian PR image by Željko Heimer and Mario Fabretto, 7 October 2001

Blue flag with the coat of arms in the middle and golden fringe along three edges. [smi82] does not mention this flag, but [cra90k] already describes it. Possibly it was not adopted yet in 1970 when the republic was proclaimed, but latter on.
Željko Heimer, 6 October 2001

At the official website, you can see parts of this flag.
Christian Berghänel, 18 December 2002


Ambassador flag

Flag of Gambian amb. image by Željko Heimer and Mario Fabretto, 6 October 2001

The national flag defaced with the coat of arms (approximately) of 2/3 height of the hoist.
Željko Heimer, 6 October 2001


Coat of arms

Adopted in 18 November 1964.
Nozomi Kariyasu

Znamierowski [zna99] says that the original idea of design came from Gambia and was forwarded to the College of Arms.
Ivan Sache, 6 October 2001

In some sources, the interpretation of the colours is slightly different for the coat of arms: According to Smith [smi76],

  • blue: love and loyalty
  • white: law-abiding nature of the Gambians and friendliness
  • green: hope and broadmindedness.
The agricultural implements depicted in the shield are an axe and hoe and indicate that future prosperity of Gambia depends upon agriculture. The lions as supporters represent stateliness and dignity and may also recall the former colonial power. Dorling-Kindersley [rya97] differs on the interpretation of axe and hoe, which are said to represent the Mandinka and Fulani, the two more important ethnic groups of Gambia. Was this interpreation proposed later than ndependence in order to stabilize the relations between both groups? The crest above the helmet is a local oil palm.
Ivan Sache, 6 October 2001

Storm warning signals

According to this WMO page and book [c9h07], Gambia uses the international system.
Jan Mertens, 8 November 2007