The flag of Gambia was adopted on February 18, 1965 at midnight on the first official day Gambia was an independent country. Their flag consists of three horizontal bands of red, blue, and green. Each band has a thin white stripe that separates it from the other color; a white stripe separates the red from the blue and a white stripe separates the blue from the green. Each color on the flag is symbolic of the people and culture of Gambia. Blue represents the Gambia River, the nation’s biggest feature and where the country inherits its name. The red is symbolic of the sun which is particularly meaningful because Gambia is both close to the equator and close to the savanna. Green is representative of the forests and agricultural goods. These are goods that are both exported and consumed by the people of Gambia. The white in the flag represents unity and peace.
The flag that is used today is the only official flag used since Gambia gained its independence in 1965. Despite a seven year confederation with Senegal between 1982 and 1989, Gambia continued to use its current flag. In the 1820s Gambia was a protectorate of the United Kingdom under the jurisdiction of Sierra Leone. In 1888, Gambia eventually became its own separate crown colony within the colonial empire of the United Kingdom. This special distinction allowed them to utilize the British Blue Ensign with its own arms. The flag used during the colonial time period between 1888 and 1965 had a British Blue background with the Union Flag in the upper left corner. To the right, the arms of Gambia were shown. This consisted of a circle containing an elephant, palm tree, hills, and the letter “G”, which stood for Gambia. Although Gambia gained the right for self-governance in 1963, they continued to use the colonial flag until Gambia was granted its full independence in 1965. The modern day flag was designed by Louis Thomasi who was an accountant. It is interesting to note that Gambia’s flag is one of only a few modern African flags that do not feature the colors of that country’s leading political party. This is due to the fact that the colors of the flag were selected without a political basis in mind.