The Gambia (the ; officially the Republic of The Gambia), also commonly known as Gambia, is a country in West Africa. Gambia is the smallest country on mainland Africa, surrounded by Senegal except for a short coastline on the Atlantic Ocean in the west.
The country is situated around the Gambia River, the nation's namesake, which flows through the country's centre and empties into the Atlantic Ocean. Its area is 11,295 km² with an estimated population of 1.7 million.
On 18 February 1965, The Gambia gained independence from the United Kingdom and joined the Commonwealth of Nations. Banjul is The Gambia's capital, but the largest cities are Serekunda and Brikama.
The Gambia shares historical roots with many other West African nations in the slave trade, which was the key factor in the placing and keeping of a colony on the Gambia River, first by the Portuguese and later by the British. Since gaining independence in 1965, The Gambia has enjoyed relative political stability, with the exception of a brief period of military rule in 1994.
Thanks to the fertile land of the country, the economy is dominated by farming, fishing, and tourism. About a third of the population lives below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.