The Gambia: Trading Post to Independent Nation

Michael Langley writes how, as early as 1620, an English traveller wrote an enthusiastic report on the wealth of the Gambia and its commercial possibilities.

When Mr. Macleod opened the constitutional conference on the Gambia at Lancaster House in 1961 he spoke of “the accident of history which created the Gambia, too small and too ill-endowed with natural resources to develop economically in isolation.” The historical irony of this newly independent country, scarcely as large as Yorkshire, is that her natural resources were probably the first to be fully appreciated in West Africa; but because they were so bitterly contested, they were abandoned for the less accessible fields of plunder farther round the coast.

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