During the Scramble for Africa in the late nineteenth century, Western European powers divided Africa and its resources into political partitions 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 White Man's Burden, some Europeans who benefited from colonisation, felt that colonialism was needed to civilise Africans.
World War II saw many British African colonies support the Allies against the Axis powers with both military power and resources. Many African colonies did not totally gain independence after the war.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 Western Europeans faced were the U-boats patrolling the Atlantic Ocean. This reduced and hindered the amount of raw materials that could be transported from African colonies to Europe. As a result of the loss in trade, local industries in Africa became more prominent. Local industries in turn caused the creation of new towns, and existing towns to see a rise in economy and population. 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.
Dates of independence of African countries
On February 12th, 1941, United States PresidentFranklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime MinisterWinston 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.
^Siddiqui, Habib. "WHITE MAN’S BURDEN: THE NEVER-ENDING SAGA". http://www.iosworld.org. Retrieved 11 January 2015. It was a “White man’s burden” to “civilise” the so-called “uncivilised”, “savage”, “Negroes!” Within a few years, the entire Africa was colonised by the Europeans, and her mineral resources looted out to Europe and her people put into chains to workExternal link in |website= (help)
^"Nationalism and Independence". http://exploringafrica.matrix.msu.edu. Michigan State University. Retrieved 26 January 2015. World War II (1939-1945) had an important effect on Africa. Some important battles were fought in North Africa. Many Africans from French and British colonies were also recruited to fight for the Allies in Europe, Asia, and North Africa.External link in |website= (help)
^Explanatory notes are added in cases where decolonization was achieved jointly by multiple countries or where the current country is formed by the merger of previously decolonized countries.
^Some territories changed hands multiple times, so in the list is mentioned the last colonial power. In addition, the mandatory or trustee powers are mentioned for territories that were League of Nations mandates and UN Trust Territories.
^The dates of decolonization for territories annexed by or integrated into previously decolonized independent countries are given in separate notes.
^After the French Cameroun mandate and trust territory gained independence it was joined by part of the British Cameroons mandate and trust territory on October 1, 1961. The other part of British Cameroons joined Nigeria.
^Part of the British Cameroonsmandate and trust territory on October 1, 1961 joined Nigeria. The other part of British Cameroons joined the previously decolonized French Cameroun mandate and territory.
^After both gained independence Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged on 26 April 1964
^UN General Assembly Resolution 34/37 and UN General Assembly Resolution 35/19