The Gambia gained its independence from the UK on 18th February 1965. A constitution was written on 24 April 1970, before being suspended in July 1994 and subsequently rewritten and approved by national referendum on 8 August 1996. It was re-established in January 1997.
The Gambia formed a short-lived federation of the Senegambia with Senegal between 1982 and 1989. In 1991 the two nations signed a friendship and cooperation treaty. A military coup in 1994 overthrew the president and banned political activity, but a new 1996 constitution and presidential elections, followed by parliamentary balloting in 1997, completed a nominal return to civilian rule. The Gambia undertook another round of presidential and legislative elections in late 2001 and early 2002.
The Gambia celebrates its independence day on 18 February.
There is also the Muslim festival of Eid which is celebrated by virtually all Gambians and is a 2 to 3 day event where up to 250,000 animals are slaughtered to provide food for the feast. It is also a time when Gambians, especially female, dress in their finest regalia and buy new dresses at up to 3000 dalasi.