The Gambia (officially the Republic of the Gambia) is a country in West Africa. It is surrounded by Senegal, apart from a short strip of Atlantic coastline at its western end. It is the smallest country on mainland Africa.
The country is situated on either side of the Gambia River, the nation's namesake, which flows through the country's centre and empties into the Atlantic Ocean. Its area is 10,689 square kilometres (4,127 sq mi) with a population of 1,882,450 at the 15 April 2013 Census (provisional). Banjul is the Gambian 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. On 18 February 1965, the Gambia gained independence from the United Kingdom and joined the Commonwealth of Nations, from which it withdrew in October 2013. Since gaining independence, the Gambia has enjoyed relative political stability, with the exception of a brief period of military rule in 1994.
Due 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.
The pound was the currency of the Gambia between 1907 and 1971. Gambia used the British West African pound until it issued its own currency on October 5, 1964. In 1971, the dalasi replaced the pound at a rate of 1 pound = 5 dalasi, i.e., 1 dalasi = 4 shillings.
Coins were introduced in 1966 in denominations of 1, 3 and 6 pence, 1, 2 and 4 shillings, with 8 shillings added in 1970. All coins had Queen Elizabeth II's portrait on the obverse.
Value Date Composition Reverse
1 penny 1966 Bronze Native sailing boat
3 pence 1966 Aluminium bronze Double-spurred francolin
6 pence 1966 Cupronickel Three peanuts
1 shilling 1966 Cupronickel Oil palm
2 shillings 1966 Cupronickel African domestic ox
4 shillings 1966 Cupronickel Slender-snouted crocodile
8 shillings 1970 Cupronickel Hippopotamus
The 8 shilling coin of Gambia is the only example of this denomination ever minted. With the exception of the Hippopotamus, the reverse designs of the pre-decimal coins were reused on Gambia's decimal coins.
The dalasi is the currency of the Gambia. It is subdivided into 100 bututs. The dalasi was adopted in 1971. It replaced the Gambian pound at a rate of 1 pound = 5 dalasi, i.e., 1 dalasi = 0.2 pound = 4 shillings.
The monetary system of the Gambia is decimal based, with the primary unit of Gambian money being called the Dalasi.
One Butut - 1/100 of a Dalasi
Five Bututs - 5/100 of a Dalasi
Ten Bututs - 10/100 of a Dalasi
Twenty-five Bututs - 25/100 of a Dalasi
Fifty Bututs - 50/100 of a Dalasi
One Dalasi - 100/100, 1 full Dalasi
Coins of Gambia
In 1971, coins in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 bututs and 1 dalasi were introduced. The 1 and 5 bututs were struck in bronze while the 10 bututs was brass and the 25, 50 bututs and 1 dalasi were cupro-nickel. The reverse designs of the three higher denominations were taken from the corresponding denominations of the previous currency (1, 2 and 4 shillings), with the reverse designs for the lower three coins coming from the 6, 1 and 3 pence coins, respectively. All coins of this series depict former president, Dawda Jawara.
New 1 dalasi coins were introduced in 1987, modelled on the 50 pence coin of the United Kingdom. These replaced the larger, round dalasi coins which never saw as widespread use as the lower denominations.
In 1998, a new coin series was introduced, in which the effigy of Dawda Jawara was dropped and replaced with the national crest. However, older Jawara era coins still commonly circulate as legal tender. The 1 dalasi coin was also downsized in size and weight, but none of the other coins were changed. Only 25 and 50 bututs and 1 dalasi coins are currently in circulation, they are of the 1998 issue which also included 1, 5 and 10 bututs coins but have since disappeared due to low valuation.