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Decolonisation of Africa

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Decolonisation of Africa

The Decolonisation of Africa followed World War II, when colonised people agitated for independence and colonial powers withdrew their administrators from Africa.

Contents

Background

During the Scramble for Africa in the late nineteenth century, Western European powers divided Africa and its resources into colonies at the Berlin Conference of 1884-85. By 1905, control of almost all African soil was claimed by Western European governments, with the only exceptions being Liberia (which had been settled by African-American former slaves) and Ethiopia (which had successfully resisted colonisation by Italy). Britain and France had the largest holdings, but Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium, and Portugal also had colonies. As a result of colonialism and imperialism, a majority of Africa lost sovereignty and control of natural resources such as gold and rubber. Following the concept of Rudyard Kipling's poem "The White Man's Burden", some Europeans who benefited from colonisation felt that colonialism was needed to civilise Africans.

Causes

On February 12th, 1941, United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill met to discuss the postwar world. The result was the Atlantic Charter. It was not a treaty and was not submitted to the British Parliament or the Senate of the United States for ratification, but it turned to be a widely acclaimed document. One of the provisions, introduced by Roosevelt, was the autonomy of imperial colonies. After World War II, the US and the African colonies put pressure on Britain to abide by the terms of the Atlantic Charter. After the war, some British considered African colonies to be childish and immature; British colonisers introduced democratic government at local levels in the colonies.

By the 1930s, the colonial powers had cultivated, sometimes inadvertently, a small elite of leaders educated in Western universities and familiar with ideas such as self-determination. These leaders came to lead the struggles for independence, and included leading nationalists such as Jomo Kenyatta (Kenya), Kwame Nkrumah (Gold Coast, now Ghana), Julius Nyerere (Tanganyika, now Tanzania), Léopold Sédar Senghor (Senegal), Nnamdi Azikiwe (Nigeria), and Félix Houphouët-Boigny (Côte d'Ivoire).

Timeline

This table is the arranged by the earliest date of independence in this graph; 58 countries have seceded.

References

Decolonisation of Africa Wikipedia


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