Gambia is a very small and narrow country whose borders mirror the meandering Gambia River. It lies between latitudes 13 and 14°N, and longitudes 13 and 17°W.
The Gambia is less than 50 kilometres (31 miles) wide at its widest point, with a total area of 11,295 km2 (4,361 sq mi). About 1,300 square kilometres (500 square miles) (11.5%) of The Gambia’s area are covered by water.
It is the smallest country on the African mainland. In comparative terms, The Gambia has a total area slightly less than that of the island of Jamaica.
Senegal surrounds The Gambia on three sides, with 80 km (50 mi) of coastline on the Atlantic Ocean marking its western extremity.
The present boundaries were defined in 1889 after an agreement between the United Kingdom and France. During the negotiations between the French and the British in Paris, the French initially gave the British around 200 miles (320 km) of the Gambia River to control.
Starting with the placement of boundary markers in 1891, it took nearly 15 years after the Paris meetings to determine the final borders of The Gambia. The resulting series of straight lines and arcs gave the British control of areas about 10 miles (16 km) north and south of the Gambia River.
Gambia has a tropical climate. A hot and rainy season normally lasts from June until November, but from then until May, cooler temperatures predominate, with less precipitation.
The climate in The Gambia closely resembles that of neighbouring Senegal, of southern Mali, and of the northern part of Benin.