A Political History of the Gambia: 1816-1994 is the first complete account of the political history of the former British West African dependency to be written. It makes use of much hitherto unconsulted or unavailable British and Gambian official and private documentary sources, as well as interviews with many Gambian politicians and former British colonial officials.
The first part of the book charts the origins and characteristics of modern politics in colonial Bathurst (Banjul) and its expansion into the Gambian interior (Protectorate) in the two decades after World War II. By independence in 1965, older urban-based parties in the capital had been defeated by a new, rural-based political organisation, the People's Progressive Party (PPP).
The second part of the book analyzes the means by which the PPP, under President Sir Dawda Jawara, succeeded in defeating both existing and new rival political parties and an attempted coup in 1981. The book closes with an explanation of the demise of the PPP at the hands of an army coup in 1994.
The book not only establishes those distinctive aspects of Gambian political history, but also relates these to the wider regional and African context, during the colonial and independence periods.
Emeritus Professor Arnold Hughes was educated at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, and Ibadan University, Nigeria. Between 1966 and 2001 he taught at the Centre of West African Studies, the University of Birmingham, becoming its Director and Professor of African Politics. He has researched and published widely on various aspects of African politics and political history and, since, 1972, developed a special interest in the political history of the Gambia. He has paid some twenty-five research visits to the Gambia and published two books, The Gambia: Studies in Society and Politics (1991) and Historical Dictionary of the Gambia (with H. A.Gailey) (1999); and over thirty articles and book chapters on Gambian politics.