DECOLONISATION OF AFRICA
|Country||Independence Date||Prior ruling country|
|Liberia, Republic of||26 July 1847||–|
|South Africa, Republic of||31 May 1910||Britain|
|Egypt, Arab Republic of||28 February 1922||Britain|
|Ethiopia , People’s Democratic Republic of||5 May 1941||Italy|
|Libya (Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya)||24 December 1951||Britain|
|Sudan, Democratic Republic of||1 January 1956||Britain/Egypt|
|Morocco , Kingdom of||2 March 1956||France|
|Tunisia, Republic of||20 March 1956||France|
|Ghana, Republic of||6 March 1957||Britain|
|Guinea, Republic of||2 October 1958||France|
|Cameroon , Republic of||1 January 1960||France|
|Senegal, Republic of||4 April 1960||France|
|Togo, Republic of||27 April 1960||France|
|Mali, Republic of||22 September 1960||France|
|Madagascar, Democratic Republic of||26 June 1960||France|
|Congo (Kinshasa), Democratic Republic of the||30 June 1960||Belgium|
|Somalia, Democratic Republic of||1 July 1960||Britain|
|Benin, Republic of||1 August 1960||France|
|Niger, Republic of||3 August 1960||France|
|Burkina Faso, Popular Democratic Republic of||5 August 1960||France|
|Côte d’Ivoire, Republic of (Ivory Coast)||7 August 1960||France|
|Chad, Republic of||11 August 1960||France|
|Central African Republic||13 August 1960||France|
|Congo (Brazzaville), Republic of the||15 August 1960||France|
|Gabon, Republic of||17 August 1960||France|
|Nigeria , Federal Republic of||1 October 1960||Britain|
|Mauritania, Islamic Republic of||28 November 1960||France|
|Sierra Leone, Republic of||27 April 1961||Britain|
|Tanzania, United Republic of||9 December 1961||Britain|
|Burundi, Republic of||1 July 1962||Belgium|
|Rwanda, Republic of||1 July 1962||Belgium|
|Algeria, Democratic and Popular Republic of||3 July 1962||France|
|Uganda, Republic of||9 October 1962||Britain|
|Kenya, Republic of||12 December 1963||Britain|
|Malawi, Republic of||6 July 1964||Britain|
|Zambia, Republic of||24 October 1964||Britain|
|Gambia, Republic of The||18 February 1965||Britain|
|Botswana, Republic of||30 September 1966||Britain|
|Lesotho, Kingdom of||4 October 1966||Britain|
|Mauritius, State of||12 March 1968||Britain|
|Swaziland, Kingdom of||6 September 1968||Britain|
|Equatorial Guinea, Republic of||12 October 1968||Spain|
|Guinea-Bissau, Republic of||24 September 1973
(alt. 10 September 1974)
|Mozambique, Republic of||25 June 1975||Portugal|
|Cape Verde, Republic of||5 July 1975||Portugal|
|Comoros, Federal Islamic Republic of the||6 July 1975||France|
|São Tomé and Principe, Democratic Republic of||12 July 1975||Portugal|
|Angola, People’s Republic of||11 November 1975||Portugal|
|Western Sahara||28 February 1976||Spain|
|Seychelles, Republic of||29 June 1976||Britain|
|Djibouti, Republic of||27 June 1977||France|
|Zimbabwe, Republic of||18 April 1980||Britain|
|Namibia, Republic of||21 March 1990||South Africa|
|Eritrea, State of||24 May 1993||Ethiopia|
The decolonization of Africa followed World War II as colonized peoples agitated for independence and colonial powers withdrew their administrators from Africa.The only two world powers to officially and actively support decolonization in Africa through the entire 20th century were the Soviet Unionand the People’s Republic of China — all others varied their opinions from the strong and stubborn defense of colonialism to a half-hearted support to fait-accompli situations.
World War II saw the British African colonies support the Allies against the Axis powers, but with no mention of independence for African nations. German wartime propaganda had a part in this defiance of British rule. Imperial Japan’s conquests in the Far East caused a shortage of raw materials such as rubber and various minerals. Africa was therefore forced to compensate for this shortage and greatly benefited from this change.
Another key problem the Europeans faced were the U-boats patrolling the Atlantic Ocean. This reduced the amount of raw materials being transported to Europe and prompted the creation of local industries in Africa. Local industries in turn caused the creation of new towns, and existing towns doubled in size. As urban community and industry grew so did trade unions. In addition to trade unions, urbanization brought about increased literacy, which allowed for pro-independence newspapers.
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, the British still considered their African colonies as “children” and “immature”; they introduced democratic government only at the local levels.
The right of self-determination of the peoples was decided in the UN Charter of 1945 and within only two decades the whole system of colonialism collapsed.
While the United States generally supported the concept of national self-determination, it also had strong ties to its European allies, who had imperial claims on their former colonies. The Cold War only served to complicate the U.S. position, as U.S. support for decolonization was offset by American concern over communist expansion and Soviet strategic ambitions in Europe. Several of the NATO allies asserted that their colonial possessions provided them with economic and military strength that would otherwise be lost to the alliance. Nearly all of the United States’ European allies believed that after their recovery from World War II their colonies would finally provide the combination of raw materials and protected markets for finished goods that would cement the colonies to Europe.
However, as the Cold War competition with the Soviet Union came to dominate U.S. foreign policy concerns in the late 1940s and 1950s, the Truman and Eisenhower Administrations grew increasingly concerned that as the European powers lost their colonies or granted them independence, Soviet-supported communist parties might achieve power in the new states. This might serve to shift the international balance of power in favor of the Soviet Union and remove access to economic resources from U.S. allies. Even if new governments did not directly link themselves to the Soviet Union. Thus, the United States used aid packages, technical assistance and sometimes even military intervention to encourage newly independent nations in the Third World to adopt governments that aligned with the West. The Soviet Union deployed similar tactics in an effort to encourage new nations to join the communist bloc, and attempted to convince newly decolonized countries that communism was an intrinsically non-imperialist economic and political ideology. Many of the new nations resisted the pressure to be drawn into the Cold War, joined in the “nonaligned movement,” which formed after the Bandung conference of 1955, and focused on internal development.
There was no one process of decolonization. In some areas, it was peaceful, and orderly. In many others, independence was achieved only after a protracted revolution. A few newly independent countries acquired stable governments almost immediately; others were ruled by dictators or military juntas for decades, or endured long civil wars. Some European governments welcomed a new relationship with their former colonies; others contested decolonization militarily. The process of decolonization coincided with the new Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States, and with the early development of the new United Nations. Decolonization was often affected by superpower competition, and had a definite impact on the evolution of that competition. It also significantly changed the pattern of international relations in a more general sense.
The newly independent nations that emerged in the 1950s and the 1960s became an important factor in changing the balance of power within the United Nations. In 1946, there were 35 member states in the United Nations; as the newly independent nations of the “third world” joined the organization, by 1970 membership had swelled to 127. These new member states had a few characteristics in common; they were non-white, with developing economies, facing internal problems that were the result of their colonial past, which sometimes put them at odds with European countries and made them suspicious of European-style governmental structures, political ideas, and economic institutions. These countries also became vocal advocates of continuing decolonization, with the result that the UN Assembly was often ahead of the Security Council on issues of self-governance and decolonization. The new nations pushed the UN toward accepting resolutions for independence for colonial states and creating a special committee on colonialism, demonstrating that even though some nations continued to struggle for independence, in the eyes of the international community, the colonial era was ending.
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 (Tanzania), Léopold Sédar Senghor (Senegal), and Félix Houphouët-Boigny (Côte d’Ivoire).
Mau Mau Rebellion:
It was a military conflict that took place in Kenya between 1952 and 1960. It involved Kikuyu-dominated groups called Mau Mau and elements of the British Army, the local Kenya Regiment mostly consisting of the British, auxiliaries and anti-Mau Mau Kikuyu.
The governor requested and obtained British and African troops, including the King’s African Rifles. The British began counter-insurgency operations took place with the personal backing of Winston Churchill.
Operation Anvil opened on 24 April 1954.The operation effectively placed Nairobi under military siege, and the occupants were screened and the Mau Mau supporters moved to detention camps. By the end of the emergency, amounting to 42% of the total insurgents were killed. The capture of Dedan Kimathi on 21 October 1956 signified the ultimate defeat of the Mau Mau.
Mau Mau failed to capture widespread public support, partly due to the British policy of divide and rule.
During this period, substantial governmental changes to land tenure occurred. The most important of these was the Swynnerton Plan( a colonial agricultural policy that appeared as a government report in 1954 in Kenya, aiming to intensify the development of agricultural practise in the Kenya Colony. The plan was geared to expanding native cash-crop production through improved markets and infrastructure and the gradual consolidation and enclosure of land holdings) which was used to both reward loyalists and punish Mau Mau.
Independent Kenya (1963):
After the suppression of the Mau Mau rising, the British provided for the election of the six African members to the Legislative Council under a weighted franchise based on education. The new colonial constitution of 1958 increased African representation, but African nationalists began to demand a democratic franchise on the principle of “one man, one vote.” However, Europeans and Asians, because of their minority position, feared the effects of universal suffrage.
The first direct elections for native Kenyans to the Legislative Council took place in 1957. Despite British hopes of handing power to “moderate” local rivals, it was the Kenya African National Union (KANU) of Jomo Kenyatta that formed a government shortly before Kenya became independent on 12 December 1963, on the same day forming the first Constitution of Kenya.
Jomo Kenyatta was the leader of Kenya from independence in 1963 to his death in 1978, serving first as Prime Minister (1963–64) and then as President (1964–78). He is considered the founding father of the Kenyan nation. Kenyatta was a well-educated intellectual who authored several books, and is remembered as a Pan-Africanist.
On 12 December 1964 the Republic of Kenya was proclaimed, and Jomo Kenyatta became Kenya’s first president
(2) Gold Coast / Ghana:
In 1947, the newly formed United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) by The Big Six (e six leaders of UGCC, the leading political party ) called for “self-government within the shortest possible time” following the Gold Coast legislative election, 1946.
Dr. Kwame Nkrumah formed the Convention People’s Party(CPP) with the motto “self-government now”.
The first Prime Minister of Ghana and President of Ghana Kwame Nkrumah won a majority in the Gold Coast legislative election, 1951 for the Gold Coast Legislative Assembly in 1952, Nkrumah was appointed leader of the Gold Coast’s government business.The Gold Coast region declared independence from the United Kingdom on 6 March 1957 and established the nation of Ghana.
On 1 July 1960, following the Ghanaian constitutional referendum, 1960 and Ghanaian presidential election, 1960 Nkrumah declared Ghana as a republic as the first President of Ghana.
(3) Zimbabwe (Southern Rhodesia)
Southern Rhodesia became a self-governing British colony in October 1923, subsequent to a 1922 referendum. Rhodesians of all races served on behalf of the United Kingdom during the two World Wars. Proportional to the white population, Southern Rhodesia contributed more per capita to both the First and Second World Wars than any other part of the Empire, including Britain itself.
In 1953, in the face of African opposition,Britain consolidated the two Rhodesias with Nyasaland (Malawi) in the ill-fated Central African Federation, which was dominated by Southern Rhodesia. Growing African nationalism and general dissent, particularly in Nyasaland, persuaded Britain to dissolve the Union in 1963, forming three separate divisions. On 6 July 1964, Nyasaland became independent from British rule and renamed itself Malawi.
While multiracial democracy was finally introduced to Northern Rhodesia (later Zambia )and Nyasaland, however, Southern Rhodesians of European ancestry continued to enjoy minority rule.
In Northern Rhodesia, election held in 1962 resulted in an African majority in the legislative council and an uneasy coalition between the two African nationalist parties. The council passed resolutions calling for Northern Rhodesia’s secession from the federation and demanding full internal self-government under a new constitution and a new National Assembly based on a broader, more democratic franchise. The federation was dissolved on 31 December 1963, and in January 1964, Kaunda won the only election for Prime Minister of Northern Rhodesia. The Colonial Governor, SirEvelyn Hone, was very close to Kaunda. Soon after, there was an uprising in the north of the country known as the Lumpa Uprising led by Alice Lenshina – Kaunda’s first internal conflict as leader of the nation.Northern Rhodesia became the Republic of Zambia on 24 October 1964, with Kenneth Kaunda as the first president.
With Zambian independence, Ian Smith’s Rhodesian Front (RF) dropped the designation “Southern” in 1964 and issued a Unilateral Declaration of Independence from the United Kingdom on 11 November 1965, intent on effectively repudiating the recently adopted British policy of “no independence before majority rule”. It was the first such course taken by a British colony since the American declaration of 1776.
UDI and civil war (1965–1979):
After the Unilateral declaration of independence (UDI), the British government petitioned the United Nations for sanctions against Rhodesia pending unsuccessful talks with Smith’s administration in 1966 and 1968. In December 1966, the organisation complied, imposing the first mandatory trade embargo on an autonomous state.These sanctions were expanded again in 1968.
The United Kingdom deemed the Rhodesian declaration an act of rebellion, but did not re-establish control by force. A guerrilla war subsequently ensued when Joshua Nkomo’s Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) and Robert Mugabe‘s Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), supported actively by communist powers and neighbouring African nations, initiated guerilla operations against Rhodesia’s predominantly white government. ZAPU was supported by the Soviet Union, the Warsaw Pact and associated nations such as Cuba, and adopted a Marxist–Leninist ideology; ZANU meanwhile aligned itself with Maoism and the bloc headed by the People’s Republic of China.
Smith declared Rhodesia a republic in 1970, following the results of a referendum the previous year, but this went unrecognised internationally. Meanwhile, Rhodesia’s internal conflict intensified, eventually forcing him to open negotiations with the militant nationalists.
In March 1978, Smith reached an accord with three African leaders, led by Bishop Abel Muzorewa, who offered to leave the white population comfortably entrenched in exchange for the establishment of a biracial democracy.
As a result of the Internal Settlement,elections were held in April 1979, concluding with the United African National Council (UANC) carrying a majority of parliamentary seats. On 1 June 1979, Muzorewa, the UANC head, became prime minister and the country’s name was changed to Zimbabwe Rhodesia. The internal settlement left control of the Rhodesian Security Forces, civil service, judiciary, and a third of parliament seats to whites.On 12 June, the United States Senate voted to lift economic pressure on the former Rhodesia.
Following the fifth Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), held in Lusaka, Zambia from 1 to 7 August in 1979, the British government invited Muzorewa, Mugabe, and Nkomo to participate in a constitutional conference at Lancaster House. The purpose of the conference was to discuss and reach an agreement on the terms of an independence constitution, and provide for elections supervised under British authority allowing Zimbabwe Rhodesia to proceed to legal independence.
On 21 December 1979, delegations from every major interest represented reached the Lancaster House Agreement, effectively ending the guerrilla war.
On 11 December 1979, the Rhodesian House of Assembly voted to revert to British colonial rule. Britain lifted sanctions on 12 December, and the United Nations on 16 December, before calling on its member states to do likewise on 21 December. Thus Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Angola and Botswana lifted sanctions.
At the Lancaster Conference of 1965, it became clear that Britain wanted to relieve itself of the colony of Mauritius. In 1959, Harold Macmillan had made his famous Winds of Change Speech where he acknowledged that the best option for Britain was to give complete freedom to its colonies. Thus, since the late-fifties, the way was paved for independence.
Later in 1965, after the Lancaster Conference, the Chagos Archipelago was excised from the territory of Mauritius to form British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). A general election took place on 7 August 1967, and the Labour Party and its two allies obtained the majority of seats. Mauritius adopted a new constitution and independence was proclaimed on 12 March 1968.
In 1954, Julius Nyerere transformed an organisation into the politically oriented Tanganyika African National Union (TANU). TANU’s main objective was to achieve national sovereignty for Tanganyika. A campaign to register new members was launched, and within a year TANU had become the leading political organisation in the country. Nyerere became Minister of British-administered Tanganyika in 1960 and continued as prime minister when Tanganyika became independent in 1961.
(6) French and British Cameron:
The British administered their territory from neighbouring Nigeria. Natives complained that this made them a neglected “colony of a colony”. Nigerian migrant workers flocked to Southern Cameroons, ending forced labour but angering indigenous peoples.The League of Nations mandates were converted into United Nations Trusteeships in 1946, and the question of independence became a pressing issue in French Cameroun.
France outlawed the most radical political party, the Union des Populations du Cameroun (UPC), on 13 July 1955.This prompted a long guerrilla war and the assassination of the party’s leader, Ruben Um Nyobé.
In British Cameroons, the question was whether to reunify with French Cameroun or join Nigeria.On 1 January 1960 French Cameroun gained independence from France under President Ahmadou Ahidjo. On 1 October 1961, the formerly British Southern Cameroons united with French Cameroun to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon. Ahidjo used the ongoing war with the UPC to concentrate power in the presidency, continuing with this even after the suppression of the UPC in 1971.
Gradually, dissatisfaction among the Muslim population, which lacked political and economic status in the colonial system, gave rise to demands for greater political autonomy, and eventually independence, from France. Tensions between the two population groups came to a head in 1954, when the first violent events of what was later called the Algerian War began. It is estimated that between 30,000 and 150,000 Harkis ( a group of volunteers, especially soldiers or Muslim Algerian loyalists who served as Auxiliaries in the French Army during the Algerian War from 1954 to 1962.) and their dependents were killed by the Front de Libération Nationale (FLN) or by lynch mobs in Algeria.
The FLN used terrorist attacks in Algeria and France as part of its war, and the French conducted severe reprisals. The war led to the death of hundreds of thousands of Algerians and hundreds of thousands of injuries.
The war concluded in 1962, when Algeria gained complete independence following the March 1962 Evian agreements and the July 1962 self-determination referendum.
In 1958, on the eve of neighboring Somalia’s independence in 1960, a referendum was held in Djibouti to decide whether to join the Somali Republic or to remain with France. The referendum turned out in favour of a continued association with France.In 1967, a second plebiscite was held to determine the fate of the territory. Initial results supported a continued but looser relationship with France.In 1977, a third referendum took place. A landslide 98.8% of the electorate supported disengagement from France, officially marking Djibouti’s independence.
(9) Portuguese Colonies:
The Portuguese regime refused to accede to the demands for independence, provoking an armed conflics in its colonies. After the 1974 coup d’état in Lisbon, Portugal, which overthrew the Portuguese regime headed by Marcelo Caetano.Portugal’s new revolutionary leaders began in 1974 a process of political change at home and accepted independence for its former colonies abroad.
Belgium continued to rule Rwanda as a UN Trust Territory after World War II, with a mandate to oversee independence.Tension escalated between the Tutsi, who favoured early independence, and the Hutu emancipation movement, culminating in the 1959 Rwandan Revolution: Hutu activists began killing Tutsi. In 1961, the now pro-Hutu Belgians held a referendum in which the country voted to abolish the monarchy. Rwanda was separated from Burundi and gained independence in 1962.
In Burundi, 1948, Belgium allowed the region to form political parties.These factions contributed to gaining Burundi’s independence from Belgium.On January 20, 1959, Burundi’s ruler Mwami Mwambutsa IV requested from the Belgian Minister of Colonies a separation of Burundi and Rwanda and a dissolution of Ruanda-Urundi. Six months later, political parties were formed to bring attention to Burundi’s independence from Europe and to separate Rwanda from Burundi.The first of these political parties was the Union for National Progress (UPRONA).
South Africa occupied the colony in 1915 after defeating the German force during World War I and administered it from 1919 onward as a League of Nations mandate territory.it was administered as the de facto ‘fifth province’, with the white minority having representation in the whites-only Parliament of South Africa, as well as electing their own local administration the SWA Legislative Assembly. The South African government also appointed the SWA administrator, who had extensive powers.
Following the League’s replacement by the United Nations in 1946, South Africa refused to surrender its earlier mandate to be replaced by a United Nations Trusteeship agreement, requiring closer international monitoring of the territory’s administration (along with a definite independence schedule).
During the 1960s, when European powers granted independence to their colonies and trust territories in Africa, pressure mounted on South Africa to do so in Namibia. In 1966 the International Court of Justice dismissed a complaint brought by Ethiopia and Liberia against South Africa’s continued presence in the territory, but the U.N. General Assembly subsequently revoked South Africa’s mandate, while in 1971 the International Court of Justice issued an “advisory opinion” declaring South Africa’s continued administration to be illegal.
In response to the 1966 ruling by the International Court of Justice, South-West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO) military wing,People’s Liberation Army of Namibia, a guerrilla group began their armed struggle for independence, but it was not until 1988 that South Africa agreed to end its occupation of Namibia, in accordance with a UN peace plan for the entire region, when the transition to independence finally started under a diplomatic agreement between South Africa, Angola and Cuba, with the USSR and the USA as observers, under which South Africa agreed to withdraw and demobilise its forces in Namibia. As a result, Cuba agreed to pull back its troops in southern Angola sent to support the MPLA in its war for control of Angola with UNITA.
During the South African occupation of Namibia, white commercial farmers, most of whom came as settlers from South Africa and represented 0.2% of the national population, owned 74% of the arable land.
Outside the central-southern area of Namibia (known as the “Police Zone” since the German era and which contained the main towns, industries, mines and best arable land), the country was divided into “homelands”, the version of South African bantustan applied to Namibia.
A combined UN civilian and peace-keeping force called UNTAG (United Nations Transition Assistance Group) was deployed from April 1989 to March 1990 to monitor the peace process, elections and supervise military withdrawals. After the return of SWAPO exiles, Namibia’s first one-person one-vote elections for the constitutional assembly took place in November 1989.
The country officially became independent on 21 March 1990. Sam Nujoma was sworn in as the first President of Namibia watched by Nelson Mandela (who had been released from prison the previous month).
In 1958 the French Fourth Republic collapsed due to political instability and its failures in dealing with its colonies, especially Indochina and Algeria. The founding of a Fifth Republic was supported by the French people, while French President Charles de Gaulle made it clear on 8 August 1958 that France’s colonies were to be given a stark choice between more autonomy in a new French Community and immediate independence in the referendum to be held on 28 September 1958. The other colonies chose the former but Guinea — under the leadership of Ahmed Sékou Touré whose Democratic Party of Guinea (PDG) had won 56 of 60 seats in 1957 territorial elections — voted overwhelmingly for independence.
The French withdrew quickly, and on 2 October 1958, Guinea proclaimed itself a sovereign and independent republic, with Sékou Touré as president.
Following France’s withdrawal, Guinea quickly aligned itself with the Soviet Union and adopted socialist policies.
In 1943, the Istiqlal Party (Independence Party) was founded to press for independence, with discrete US support. That party subsequently provided most of the leadership for the nationalist movement.
France’s exile of Sultan Mohammed V in 1953 to Madagascar and his replacement by the unpopular Mohammed Ben Aarafa sparked active opposition to the French and Spanish protectorates. The most notable violence occurred in Oujda where Moroccans attacked French and other European residents in the streets. France allowed Mohammed V to return in 1955, and the negotiations that led to Moroccan independence began the following year.In March 1956 the French protectorate was ended and Morocco regained its independence from France as the “Kingdom of Morocco”. A month later Spain ceded most of its protectorate in Northern Morocco to the new state but kept its two coastal enclaves (Ceuta and Melilla) on the Mediterranean coast. Sultan Mohammed became king in 1957.
(15) “Wind of Change” and “Year of Africa”:
The “Wind of Change” speech was a historically significant address made by British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan to the Parliament of South Africa, on 3 February 1960 in Cape Town.He said: “The wind of change is blowing through this continent and, whether we like it or not, this growth of national consciousness is a political fact. We must all accept it as a fact, and our national policies must take account of it.”
Macmillan acknowledged that imperial powers would have difficulty continuing to control their colonies.The speech represented an admission by the British political elite that the British Empire was over and could not be revived.
1960 is known as the “African Year“: 17 colonies gained their independence this year mostly from France.
After the First World War, Saad Zaghlul and the Wafd Party led the Egyptian nationalist movement to a majority at the local Legislative Assembly. When the British exiled Zaghlul and his associates to Malta on 8 March 1919, the country arose in its first modern revolution. The revolt led the UK government to issue a unilateral declaration of Egypt’s independence on 22 February 1922.
The new government drafted and implemented a constitution in 1923 based on a parliamentary system. Saad Zaghlul was popularly elected as Prime Minister of Egypt in 1924. In 1936, the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty was concluded. Continued instability due to remaining British influence and increasing political involvement by the king led to the dissolution of the parliament in a military coup d’état known as the 1952 Revolution. The Free Officers Movement forced KingFarouk to abdicate in support of his son Fuad. British military presence in Egypt lasted until 1954.
Following the 1952 Revolution by the Free Officers Movement, the rule of Egypt passed to military hands. On 18 June 1953, the Egyptian Republic was declared, with General Muhammad Naguib as the first President of the Republic.
In 1899, Britain and Egypt reached an agreement under which Sudan was run by a governor-general appointed by Egypt with British consent. In reality Sudan was effectively administered as a British colony. The British were keen to reverse the process, started under Muhammad Ali Pasha, of uniting the Nile Valley under Egyptian leadership, and sought to frustrate all efforts aimed at further uniting the two countries.
During World War II, Sudan was directly involved militarily in the East African Campaign. Formed in 1925, the Sudan Defence Force(SDF) played an active part in responding to the early incursions (occupation by Italian troops of Kassala and other border areas) into the Sudan from Italian East Africa during 1940. In 1942, the SDF also played a part in the invasion of the Italian colony by British and Commonwealth forces.
From 1924 until independence in 1956, the British had a policy of running Sudan as two essentially separate territories, the north (Muslim) and south (Christian).
The continued British administration of Sudan fueled an increasingly strident nationalist backlash in Egypt, with Egyptian nationalist leaders determined to force Britain to recognise a single independent union of Egypt and Sudan.
With the formal end of Ottoman rule in 1914,Hussein Kamel was declared Sultan of Egypt and Sudan, as was his brother and successor Fuad I. They continued their insistence of a single Egyptian-Sudanese state even when the Sultanate was retitled as the Kingdom of Egypt and Sudan, but the British continued to frustrate such reaches for independence.
The Egyptian Revolution of 1952 finally heralded the beginning of the march towards Sudanese independence. Having abolished the monarchy in 1953, Egypt’s new leaders, Muhammad Naguib, whose mother was Sudanese, and later Gamal Abdel-Nasser, believed the only way to end British domination in Sudan was for Egypt to officially abandon its claims of sovereignty over Sudan.
The British on the other hand continued their political and financial support for the Mahdi successor Sayyid Abdel Rahman who, they believed, could resist the Egyptian pressures for Sudanese independence. Rahman was able to resist the pressures, but his regime was plagued with political ineptitude, which garnered him a loss of support in northern and central Sudan. Egypt and Britain both sensed a great political instability forming, and opted to allow the Sudanese in the north and south to have a free vote on independence to see whether they wished for a British withdrawal.
A polling process was carried out resulting in composition of a democratic parliament and Ismail al-Azhari was elected first Prime Minister and led the first modern Sudanese government
In 1934, Italy adopted the name “Libya” as the official name of the colony (made up of the three provinces of Cyrenaica, Tripolitania and Fezzan).
Omar Mukhtar was the resistance leader against the Italian colonization and became a national hero despite his capture and execution on 16 September 1931.
Idris al-Mahdi as-Senussi (later King Idris I), Emir of Cyrenaica, led the Libyan resistance to Italian occupation between the two world wars.
In June 1940, Italy entered World War II. Libya became the setting for the hard-fought North African Campaign that ultimately ended in defeat for Italy and its German ally in 1943.
From 1943 to 1951, Libya was under Allied occupation. The British military administered the two former Italian Libyan provinces of Tripolitana and Cyrenaïca, while the French administered the province of Fezzan. In 1944, Idris returned from exile in Cairo but declined to resume permanent residence in Cyrenaica until the removal of some aspects of foreign control in 1947. Under the terms of the 1947 peace treaty with the Allies, Italy relinquished all claims to Libya.
King Idris I led the country into independence in 1951 and became its first head of state. On 24 December 1951, Libya declared its independence as the United Kingdom of Libya,