Independence stories in Africa



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Did you know that the Berlin Conference during the last quarter of the 19th century made Africa fall under the control of Europe?  The African people and their land were used for the benefit of the world.  This was the new imperialism.


1. the policy of extending the rule or authority of anempireor nation over foreign countries, or of acquiring and holding colonies and dependencies.
2. advocacy ofimperialor sovereign interests over the interests of the dependent states.
Almost all of of Africa was claimed by a meeting of 14 European nations in 1884.

The following 14 countries did send representatives to attend the Berlin Conference and sign the subsequent Berlin Act:

The conference was convened on Saturday, November 15, 1884 at Bismarck’s official residence on Wilhelmstrasse (site of the Congress of Berlin six years earlier).[5] Bismarck accepted the chairmanship. The British representative was Sir Edward Malet (Ambassador to the German Empire). Henry Morton Stanley attended as a U.S. delegate.[5]


Why were Ethiopia and Liberia able to resist European imperialism in the 20th century?

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Liberia was a nation set up by freed slaves from America.  In 1847 Liberia proclaimed with independence from the United States. Liberia was under control or as protectorate of the United States. Liberia was a country in west Africa which is founded or controlled by citizens of the United States.

Joseph Jenkins Roberts, First President of Liberia

In 1816, a group of white Americans founded the American Colonization Society (ACS) to deal with the “problem” of the growing number of free blacks in the United States by resettling them in Africa. The resulting state of Liberia would become the second (after Haiti) black republic in the world at that time.

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[Act by State of Virginia making appropriations for removal of free persons of color to Liberia], 1850. American Colonization Society Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (7)
Ethiopia retained its independence thanks to strong leaders such as Haile Selassie, depicted here.
Ethiopia retained its independence thanks to strong leaders such as Haile Selassie, depicted here.

Ethiopia remained a strong and independent Christian kingdom. Ethiopia was Christian from the beginning, long before Europeans arrived.  The Ethiopian Orthodox bible contains numerous Jewish words because of the mix of people in that region. The old testament in Ethiopian bible may be a translation of the Hebrew form with possible assistance from Jewish scholars. Christians in this country divided into several groups. Christian church of Africa with the Ethiopian church has a membership of between 45million. Roman Catholicism has been present in Ethiopia since the beginning but political power and religious power became more loyal to Ethiopia than to any European power.  When the European Catholic missionaries came to Ethiopia it was already strong and independent in its Christianity.  When Italy tried to take over Ethiopia they lost in the battle of Adowa.

Ethiopia under Menelik was victorious at Adowa partly because of an alliance with Russia, which ensured a steady supply of money and weapons. Selassie continued the system of alliances by maintaining good relations with Britain and appealing to the League of Nations. On October 3, 1935, Italian forces under Mussolini invaded and conquered Ethiopia. They colonized the country for five years, but Ethiopia was finally liberated from Italy in 1941.

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Ghana was the first African country to peacefully achieve independence from Great Britain after World War II.

On March 6, 1957 the gold coast declared independence from the British empire. The first independent leader was Kwame Nkrumah.  It was a peaceful independence.


Algeria: Independence from France through a long ugly war.

Kenya; a bloody revolt against the British

Kenya is in East Africa. It is located on the coast of the Indian ocean below the horn of Africa. In 1963 and 1964 Jomo Kenyatta fought hard to become president of the new nation. He worked hard to unite the country’s different ethnic and language groups.  This came with violence. Kenyatta died  in 1978.

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South Africa; the inheritance of racism through Apartheid

The Dutch and British controlled South Africa. When South Africa was racially divided. In 1910 and 1931 South Africa become an independent member of the British. They were a constitutional government of white Dutch settlers over a black majority while dividing its rights. In 1948 the national party came to power in South Africa. This party promoted Afrikaner or Dutch South African nationalism. The government set up with homelands for the country’s major black tribal groups.Image result for south african homelands map

Nelson Mandala won the Nobel Peace Prize.
Mandala was  the first free black president of South Africa. He was president of South Africa in a democratic election in 1994 and served to 1999.


Ethiopia ready to peacefully and successfully host 28th AU summit
A photo of the African Union Congress meeting in Ethiopia.