--- Independence Day
During World War II, the entire Gambian army, 10 soldiers, fought with the Allies of World War II. Though these soldiers fought mostly in Burma, some died closer to home and there is a Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery in Fajara (close to Banjul). According to Jammeh, "when Germany was about to defeat Britain, not only were Gambians conscripted and forced to go and fight in Britain, but also..." Banjul contained an airstrip for the U.S. Army Air Forces and a port of call for Allied naval convoys. President of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt visited by air and stopped overnight in Banjul en route to and from the Casablanca Conference (1943) in Morocco, marking the first visit to the African continent by an American President.
After World War II, the pace of constitutional reform increased. Following general elections in 1962, the United Kingdom granted full internal self-governance in the following year. The Gambia achieved independence on 18 February 1965, as a constitutional monarchy within the Commonwealth of Nations. Shortly thereafter, the national government held a referendum proposing that an elected president should replace the Gambian monarch (Queen Elizabeth II) as the head of state. This referendum failed to receive the two-thirds majority required to amend the constitution, but the results won widespread attention abroad as testimony to the Gambia's observance of secret balloting, honest elections, civil rights, and liberties. On 24 April 1970, Gambia became a republic within the Commonwealth, following a second referendum. Prime Minister Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara became the Head of State.
Upcoming 3 celebrations:
February 19: Nepal (Democracy Day)
February 23: Brunei | Guyana
February 24: Estonia