Colonial rule and independence

Nigeria

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Britain held up this colony as one of its most successful, with its policy of indirect rule leaving much of the day-to-day administration in the hands of local rulers. However, the decision to merge three distinct parts into one country contributed to one of the continent’s worst civil wars.

Kenya

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Attempts to employ the same system of indirect rule as that used elsewhere in the British Empire failed in Kenya due to the different make-up of the colony’s society. Britain had to contend with the active opposition of various African societies, and it also faced significant problems from land-hungry white settlers.

South Africa

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This colony saw persistent rivalry between two groups of settlers of European origin, as well as refusal on the part of Africans to give up their land without a fight. Later in the 20th century, it became the focus of world attention to the apartheid regime was dismantled and a majority African government was formed.

French West Africa

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In contrast to the British policy of indirect rule, France initially treated its colonies as an equal part of the motherland. Faced with the contradictions of direct rule, which evaded traditional power structures, it was obliged to backtrack and adopt a more British approach. However, France retained closer ties with its colonies upon their independence.

Congo Free State

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The rule of Leopold II of Belgium over this vast territory remains a byword for everything that was wrong with European colonisation. Dreadful cruelty and neglect were shown to Africans in the urgent quest to exploit the country’s natural riches.

 


African civilisations

African civilisations  

Rule and independence

Colonial rule and independence  

Themes

Themes