Regions of Gambia

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Added 2013 census results, thanks to Sorin Cosoveanu. See Source [6].

The name of Western region has been changed to West Coast region. Source [5] says, "Lamin Sanneh, the governor of the region confirmed this to the Daily Observer Tuesday. He explained that the name change was effected to depict the region's actual location in the country."

I've been asked if it's true that the status of the primary subdivisions of Gambia has been changed from division to region. There are a few pages that confirm this. According to source [3], the change occurred in 2007. Most websites, including the ones that report the change, continue to speak of them as divisions.

FIPS Publication Change Notice No. 10, affecting FIPS PUB 10-4, was issued on 2006-03-23. It changes the name of MacCarthy Island to Central River.

Country overview: 

Short nameGAMBIA
ISO codeGM
LanguageEnglish (en)
Time zone+0


The Gambia was a British colony until its independence on 1965-02-18. With Senegal, it formed a federation called Senegambia from 1982-02-01 to 1989-09-21. In text, the country name is often given as The Gambia; on maps, it usually appears as just Gambia. The country's stamps were inscribed Gambia until 1966, when The Gambia came into use. In alphabetized lists, the country invariably appears under G.

Other names of country: 

  1. Danish: Gambia
  2. Dutch: Gambia, Republiek Gambia (formal)
  3. English: Republic of The Gambia (formal), The Gambia (variant)
  4. Finnish: Gambia
  5. French: Gambie f
  6. German: Gambia n
  7. Icelandic: Gambía
  8. Italian: Gambia f
  9. Norwegian: Gambia, Republikken Gambia (formal)
  10. Portuguese: Gâmbia f, República f da Gâmbia f (formal)
  11. Russian: Республика Гамбия (formal)
  12. Spanish: Gambia, República f de Gambia (formal)
  13. Swedish: Gambia
  14. Turkish: Gambiya, Gambiya Cumhuriyeti (formal)

Origin of name: 

from Gambia River, corruption of native name Ba-Dimma: river

Primary subdivisions: 

Gambia is divided into five regions and one independent city.

BanjulGM.BJ BGA01408,188357,2388834Banjul
Central RiverGM.MCCRRMGA03221,907185,8972,8951,118Janjanbureh
Lower RiverGM.LRLRRLGA0281,04272,5461,618625Mansa Konko
North BankGM.NBNBRNGA07220,080172,8062,256871Kerewan
Upper RiverGM.URURRUGA04237,220183,0332,070799Basse (Santa Su)
West CoastGM.WEWCRWGA05688,744392,9871,764681Brikama
6 regions1,857,1811,364,50710,6914,128
  • Region: Except for Banjul, which is a city.
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
  • Abv: Abbreviations used in Gambia (R stands for region).
  • ISO: Codes from ISO 3166-2.
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4.
  • Pop-13: 2013-04-08 census (final).
  • Pop-03: 2003-04-15 census (provisional).
  • Capitals: are known as headquarters. Basse Santa Su is a variant name for

Further subdivisions:

See the Districts of Gambia page.

The country is subdivided into 37 districts.

In addition to regions, Gambia is divided into local government areas (LGAs). Four regions are equivalent to LGAs; the other two are divided into two LGAs each. Apparently, the LGAs and the regions have both existed since independence (1965). Reference works almost unanimously list the regions, and maps show them, which is why I have chosen them as the primary subdivisions of Gambia. Here are the LGAs.

8 LGAs315,486493,499687,8171,038,1451,364,50710,689
  • Cd: Arbitrary LGA abbreviations (I used the last letter of the division name).
  • Div: Two-letter region code, as above (last part of HASC).
  • Dates are the dates of censuses.
  • Area: Note (1): area included in Janjanbureh.
  • Capitals: If there are capitals, they probably have the same names as the LGAs they
    are in.

Territorial extent: 

The UN LOCODE page  for Gambia lists locations in the country, some of them with their latitudes and longitudes, some with their ISO 3166-2 codes for their subdivisions. This information can be put together to approximate the territorial extent of subdivisions.

Origins of names: 

Banjul: native bangjulo: rope mats (informants thought they were being asked, what are you making?)
Bathurst: after Henry Bathurst, 3rd Earl Bathurst, British colonial secretary in 1816.
MacCarthy Island: after Sir Charles MacCarthy, governor of Gambia from 1814 to 1824.

Change history: 

  1. Before 1935, the Gambia was divided into the Colony (a small area containing present-day Banjul) and the Protectorate. The Protectorate had five divisions: Kombo Saint Mary, MacCarthy Island, North Bank, South Bank, and Upper River.
  2. 1935: Gambia divided into five provinces (Lower River, MacCarthy Island, North Bank, Upper River, and Western) and the Greater Bathurst Area by the Provinces Act of 1935. Probably the Greater Bathurst Area consisted of the Colony and Kombo Saint Mary, and Lower River and Western were formed from South Bank. According to another source, the divisions as of 1935 were Central, MacCarthy Island, Upper River, and Western.
  3. 1968-10-30: North Bank division split from Lower River division.
  4. 1973-04-24: Name of national capital and its division changed from Bathurst to Banjul. At this time, Gambia consisted of one city and six divisions:
Kombo Saint Mary228,21476Brikama
Lower River65,1461,618Mansa Konko
MacCarthy Island156,0212,894Georgetown
North Bank156,4622,256Kerewan
Upper River155,0592,069Basse Santa Su
7 subdivisions1,038,14510,689
  • Division: except Banjul, which is a city.
  • Population: 1993 (source [1])
  1. Some sources indicate that Kanifing was the capital of Kombo Saint Mary. I will try to check on this fact.
  2. 1995: The name of MacCarthy Island, referring to an island in the Gambia River, was changed to Janjanbureh Island. The name of MacCarthy Island, referring to a division of Gambia, was changed to Central River. The name of its capital, Georgetown, was changed to Janjanbureh.
  3. ~2003: Kombo Saint Mary merged with Banjul (source [4]), becoming Kanifing Municipal Council.
  4. 2007: Status of divisions changed to regions.
  5. 2010-10-19: Name of Western region changed to West Coast region.

Other names of subdivisions: 

  1. Central River: Jangjangbureh, Janjanbureh, Janjangburreh (variant); MacCarthy Island (obsolete)
  2. Janjanbureh [LGA]: Central River South, Georgetown (obsolete)
  3. Kombo Saint Mary: Kombo, Kombo North and Saint Mary (variant)
  4. Kuntaur: Central River North (obsolete)
  5. Lower River: Central (obsolete); South Bank (variant)


  1. [1] "Ershiyi (21) Shiji Shijie Diming Lu", Beijing, 2001.
  2. [2] The Gambia Echo  (online newspaper, retrieved 2009-12-15) has a scornful account of changes imposed by President Jammeh, including the new status of subdivisions.
  3. [3] Wikipedia's article on Districts of The Gambia  first mentioned the change of status on 2008-08-19.
  4. [4] "The Statesman's Yearbook", Barry Turner, ed. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, Hants. 2003 edition lists Kombo Saint Mary as a separate entity; 2005 edition includes it in Banjul.
  5. [5] Daily Observer  (online Gambian newspaper, dated 2010-10-20, retrieved 2010-10-21).
  6. [6] Gambia Bureau of Statistics  (retrieved 2017-06-30).
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