African Independence

After World War II, the European colonial powers found it increasingly difficult to hold on to their colonies. Some African countries fought for freedom, but others were granted it democratically.

Egypt (1952)

Although officially independent since 1922, Egypt was still occupied by Britain. The British Empire’s grip on the country is finally loosened by a revolution led by Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser, who becomes the country’s first president.

Kenyan uprising (1952)

A group of Kenyan protesters, called the Mau Mau, rebel against British control. About 13,000 of them are killed, but Kenya will finally gain independence in 1963.

Morocco and Tunisia (1956)

Two former French colonies in North Africa break free from French power within weeks of each other. Morocco achieves independence after a short period of unrest, but Tunisia’s transition comes in a largely peaceful fashion.

Ghanaian freedom (1957)

Ghana demands freedom from British rule, and it is immediately granted. Kwame Nkrumah becomes the first president of the new nation.

Kwame Nkrumah becomes the first president of an independent Ghana in 1957. He immediately sets about improving conditions in the country by opening schools and establishing a social welfare system. Perhaps one of his most enduring ideas is his promotion of Pan-Africanism - an intellectual movement dedicated to studying, understanding, and communicating African culture.

African independence (1960)

Seventeen sub-Saharan African countries, including 14 former French colonies, achieve independence from European control. It will become known as the "Year of Africa".

Algerian agreement (1962)

Years of war between the Algerian people and the ruling French army end when French president Charles de Gaulle grants Algeria its independence. Rwanda also gains freedom from Belgium, and Uganda its independence from Britain this year.

African unity (1963)

The Organization of African Unity is established by 32 African states. It aims to improve the lives of ordinary Africans through cooperation and discussion between member states.

Leaving the British Empire (1964 - 1968)

In four years, six countries leave the British Empire. In 1964, Malawi and Zambia go, followed by Botswana and Lesotho two years later. Mauritius and Swaziland gain independence in 1968, along with Equatorial Guinea, which cedes from Spain.

Portuguese colonies (1974 - 1975)

The dictatorship that had led Portugal since 1933 is overthrown in 1974. Angola, São Tomé, and Príncipe, Mozambique, and Cape Verde, all seize their opportunity and gain
independence from Portugal.