Africa under European colonial rule (1800-1950)
In the interior of West Africa caused an Islamic revival in the early 1800’s. the creation of Fulani emirates in the Hausa region of northern Nigeria. This was followed by a new dynasty in Bornu and in the formation of states around the upper reaches of the Niger and Senegal rivers, all marked by Islamic revival.
From approximately In 1810, a ban on the participation of European ships in slave transport was gradually introduced, which did not end until the 1860’s. This ban, which was largely trumped by Britain, was followed by increased European demand for African products such as vegetable oils, rubber and later, among others. stimulants. At the same time, Europeans explored the continent and set up missions in Africa.
The West African coastal communities sought to adapt to this new situation in various ways and with varying degrees of success. With the exception of Oyo, which collapsed in the 1830’s, most major states continued to exist. While Britain largely contented itself with seeking to limit the autonomy of African states from bases along the coast, in the 1850’s France began a slow expansion up the Senegal River.
In the rest of Africa north of the Limpopo River, the export of slaves remained important until the mid-1800’s. It was combined with ivory trade, which intensified in the latter half of the century. In East Africa, the island of Zanzibar became a center for the export of slaves and ivory when the Sultan of Oman moved there in the first half of the 1800’s. Deliveries to this came via trading systems that extended both to the kingdoms of Lake Victoria and to the area around Lake Tanzania. South of the Limpopo River, the establishment of the Zulu Empire at the turn of the century was followed by political upheavals and territorial restructuring, which left their mark far up in eastern Africa. From the Cape Colony, which had been taken over by Great Britain in 1815, part of the Boer population emigrated from the 1830’s,
In northern Africa where there are 7 countries according to Countryaah.com, the period was marked by modernization and European intervention. In 1830, a French occupation of Algeria initiated an immigration of French colonists, while a modernist political and financial extravagance weakened Tunisia to such an extent that it led to an invasion and establishment of a French protectorate in 1881.
In Egypt, in the first half of the 1800’s. initiated a modernization that led to military expansion south to present-day Sudan, from which ivory and slaves were retrieved. Debt and sale of concessions, to the Suez Canal (completed in 1869), led to European financial control, while the Egyptian regime in Sudan was displaced in 1881 by an Islamic revival movement.
From around 1880, the scattered and relatively limited European presence in Africa was replaced by the so-called race for Africa, during which all of Africa except Liberia and Ethiopia became subject to European powers. Previous analyzes of the causes of the race have pointed in particular to economic, strategic, political power and ideological elements in a European context with a focus on Germany’s leading role. Later, however, there has been increasing attention to the conditions in the individual areas of Africa and the gradually growing contradictions in the economic and political relations between the African communities and the local European agents. All this was expressed at the diplomatic level in Europe in a pressure against, in particular, Britain’s attempts to maintain its economic and political, informal dominance. Conflicting European demands for sovereignty over coastlines in Africa led to the Berlin Conference of 1884-85, which set out the constitutional procedures that European states should follow in future colonizations. The establishment of colonies, protectorates and spheres of interest in Africa, using both military and political means, therefore took place in parallel with the conclusion of reciprocal European treaties that demarcated borders and prevented inter-European military conflicts in Africa.
Whether the occupation took place through government agencies or was left to concessionaires, the European organization, communications, medicine, and weapons technology were superior to the African. Most societies in Africa sought in vain to defend their independence, partly by military resistance in the conquest phase, partly well into the 1900’s. by armed revolts and uprisings against the established colonial power as well as by passive resistance. Only around World War I were all parts of the colonial territory under the control of European state administrations.
At this time, the civilian colony administrations were finally organized. Although there were differences in organization and politics, these differences were not so prominent in practice, as considerations of stability and economy almost everywhere necessitated a difficult balance between direct governance and the involvement of African leaders. All colonial administrations sought to organize an export economy, be it mining, plantation production, European settler agriculture, or export crops grown by African farmers. This required a certain measure of modern infrastructure, health and education, which most often had to be financed locally through export earnings, as well as various forms of taxation and forced labor.
The challenge to the European monopoly of power shifted in the 1920’s from the traditional leaders to a Western-educated, nationalist elite, which from seeking participation in the colonial administration slowly during the crisis of the 1930’s and during World War II changed this to demands for takeover..
Decolonization after 1950
After World War II, the nationalist movements in Africa intensified their activity, supported by the changes that had taken place in the colonial powers, in the international system and in the third world. The process of decolonization began in the 1950’s in North Africa, and its first phase ended in the early 1960’s, when well over 40 African states had gained independence. The northern European colonial powers, France, Great Britain and Belgium, bowed in most colonies after vain attempts at various compromise solutions and handed over power to the leaders of the respective nationalist movements. Only where there were considerable European immigrant groups such as in Kenya and Algeria did armed uprisings develop, which proved so costly to counter that both colonial power and the European settlers had to give up. Back were the Portuguese colonies and Southern Rhodesia, whose major European settlement element unilaterally declared independence, as well as South Africa, where the ruling African Nationalist Party withdrew from the Commonwealth after pressure, after isolating itself from 1948 through the introduction of apartheid and the integration of Namibia. As a result, the nationalist movements in the 1960’s launched armed struggles that, with economic and political support from the independent African states and military support from the Eastern Bloc, progressed to the point of the fall of the Portuguese colonial regime in 1975 and Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980.
Thereafter, internal and external pressure increased on Namibia and South Africa. Thus, in 1988, due to the high cost and undermining of their political platform in the local and international political system, the South African leaders were forced to abandon Namibia, and from 1990 they had to enter into negotiations with the nationalist movements for power sharing and democratization.
In a number of the independent African states, there have been civil wars for long periods. These have been either caused by separatist movements or by political power struggles, often with ethnic backgrounds and often with more or less obvious African and international involvement.
The political system of most new states was initially copied after the former colonial power, but in many places it was quickly transformed into one-party systems and presidential regimes with an authoritarian character and often with African socialism as the declared ideology.
In quite a few countries, civilian governments have alternated with military regimes, but in general the scope of the administrative apparatus and a strong state control of the economic sphere have been maintained.
In 1963, the African states established the OAU (Organization of African Unity) as a body to promote “unity and solidarity between African states”; many regional co-operation organizations have also been established, which have had varying degrees of success. Internationally, many African states in the 1960’s advocated a neutralist policy that, up through the 1970’s and 1980’s, faced increasing difficulties in avoiding involvement in one of the two superpower blocs. Following the collapse of bloc politics in the late 1980’s, African states have experienced a weakening of their international position, which, together with heavily strained economies and debt crises, has led to increased responsiveness to foreign demands for economic restructuring and increased democratization.
In a world that is, moreover, characterized by globalization and by the fact that several fundamental problems such as epidemics and food shortages are being solved, Africa remains the continent that cannot keep up with developments. The problems are many, but wars and a galloping AIDS epidemic are among the most important. The number of refugees (including the so-called IDPs, Internally Displaced Persons) from the wars was estimated at 13.5 million in 2002, an increase of 5 million. since 1998. In Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola, a large proportion of refugees are staying. The lack of development means that a large number of African countries remain among the poorest in the world. See Human Development Index.