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The Republic of The Gambia, the country's official name, is surrounded on its landward sides entirely by Senegal. The narrow nation hugs the Gambia river, from which the country takes its name. At its western border, the river empties into the Atlantic Ocean.

It attained internal self-government in 1963 and gained independence on Feb. 18, 1965. In April 1970, it became a republic, led by Sir Dawda Jawara's party, which had been in power since independence. In 1981, while...

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