List of heads of state of the Gambia

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Coat of arms of The Gambia.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the Gambia

This is a list of the heads of state of The Gambia, from the independence of The Gambia in 1965 to the present day.

From 1965 to 1970 the head of state under the Gambia Independence Act 1964 was the Queen of The Gambia, Elizabeth II, who was also the Monarch of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms. The Queen was represented in The Gambia by a Governor-General. The Gambia became a republic in 1970 and the Monarch and Governor-General were replaced by an executive President.

Monarch (1965–1970)[edit]

The succession to the throne was the same as the succession to the British throne.

Portrait Reign Royal House Prime Minister
Reign start Reign end Time in Office
1 Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Portrait Herbert James Gunn.jpg 18 February 1965 24 April 1970 5 years,

66 days

Windsor Jawara


The Governor-General was the representative of the Monarch in The Gambia and exercised most of the powers of the monarch. The Governor-General was appointed for an indefinite term, serving at the pleasure of the Monarch. The Governor-General was appointed solely on the advice of the Cabinet of The Gambia without the involvement of the British government. In the event of a vacancy the Chief Justice served as Officer Administering the Government.

  Denotes Chief Justice acting as Officer Administering the Government
Portrait Tenure Monarch Prime Minister
Took office Left office Time in Office
1 Sir John Paul
No image.png 18 February 1965 9 February 1966 356 days Elizabeth II Jawara
2 Sir Farimang Mamadi Singateh
No image.png 9 February 1966 24 April 1970 4 years

75 days

Elizabeth II Jawara

President of the Gambia[edit]

Under the 1970 Constitution, the first constitution of the Republic of The Gambia, the President replaced the Monarch as executive head of state. The President was elected by the National Assembly for a five-year term. In the event of a vacancy the Vice-President served as Acting President.

In 1994, Colonel Yahya Jammeh led a coup d'état which overthrew President Jawara and his government, all political parties and Parliament were dissolved. The period of military rule lasted until 1996, when it was succeeded by the Second Republic. Under the current constitution of the Republic of The Gambia, the President is executive head of state. The President is elected by popular vote for a five-year term. In the event of a vacancy, the Vice-President will serve as Acting President.

  Denotes Vice-President acting as President
Portrait President
Term of office & mandate Political affiliation
(at time of appointment)
President of the Gambia (First Republic) 1970–1994
1 Dawda Jawara (1979).jpg Sir Dawda Jawara
(Born 1924)
24 April 1970 22 July 1994
People's Progressive Party
32 years, 40 days
Chairman of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (Military Rule) 1994–1996
Yahya Jammeh.png Colonel
Yahya Jammeh

(Born 1965)
22 July 1994 18 October 1996 Armed Forces
Provisional Ruling Council
2 years, 86 days
President of the Gambia (Second Republic) 1996–present
2 Yahya Jammeh.png Yahya Jammeh
(Born 1965)
18 October 1996 21 January 2017 1996 Alliance for Patriotic
Reorientation and
20 years, 94 days
3 Adama Barrow, President, Republic of the Gambia - 2018 (cropped).jpg Adama Barrow
(Born 1965)
19 January 2017[1] Incumbent 2016 United Democratic Party
1 year, 226 days


Living former heads of state[edit]

There are three living former Gambian Heads of State:

Image Name Term/Reign Office Date of birth
Elizabeth II greets NASA GSFC employees, May 8, 2007 edit.jpg Elizabeth II 1965–1970 Queen of The Gambia (1926-04-21) 21 April 1926 (age 92)
Dawda Jawara (1979).jpg Sir Dawda Jawara 1970–1994 President of The Gambia (1924-05-16) 16 May 1924 (age 94)
Yahya Jammeh.png Yahya Jammeh 1994–1996
Military ruler
President of The Gambia
(1965-05-25) 25 May 1965 (age 53)


  1. ^ Presidency was in dispute from 19 January 2017 to 21 January 2017.

External links[edit]