The Gambia withdraws from the Commonwealth

The Gambia recently announced that it will no longer be part of the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth is a group of countries most of which were part of the British Empire in the past. With The Gambia included, there were 54 nations in the group.

The Commonwealth nations encourage economic development and trade amongst themselves, and also promote democracy, human rights, and peace. The head of the Commonwealth is Queen Elizabeth II, the Queen of the United Kingdom. The Commonwealth group came into existence in the form that it is today in 1949. The combined population of the Commonwealth countries is about 2 billion, which is approximately 30% of our planet’s population. A Commonwealth Day is annually celebrated on the second Monday of March. The group also holds a sports event for all the member countries called the Commonwealth Games. The Games are held every 4 years, with the next in 2014 in Glasgow, UK.

The last time a nation joined the Commonwealth was in 2009 and that was the country Rwanda. The last nation to pull out from the Commonwealth was Zimbabwe in 2003.

Yahya Jammeh has been The Gambia’s president for almost 20 years. The country’s capital is Banjul and its official language is English. The Gambia got its independence from the United Kingdom in 1965. It is a skinny country with a short coastline on the Atlantic Ocean and the rest surrounded by the country Senegal.

The Stone Circles of Senegambia, which actually lie in both The Gambia and Senegal, are a famous landmark of the region. They are groups of large stone monuments (around 2 meters or 6 feet in height) arranged in circles. The sites were used as burial grounds and were built between the 3rd century BC and the 16th century AD. There are over 1,000 large standing stones in the area.

Want a three-day weekend? Time to work in The Gambia! Earlier this year, the government changed the work week for government jobs to four days from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Thursday.

You can see a list of all the Commonwealth countries here. Mozambique and Rwanda are two countries in the group that did not have any past ties to the British.

Sources: http://www.royal.gov.uk, http://www.thecgf.com/, http://thecommonwealth.org/, http://whc.unesco.org

Image Credits: shaunamullally for the Stone Circles’ image, http://www.royal.gov.uk for the image of Queen Elizabeth II, TUBS for Gambia’s image