World History/The Collapse of Imperialism - Freedom, Change, and Revolution
- 1 Africa
- 2 Europe
- 2.1 United Kingdom
- 2.2 Italy
- 2.3 Belgium
- 2.4 Portugal
- 2.5 Spain
- 3 Asia
- 4 South America
- 5 The Caribbean
Prior to World War II, all of Africa, excluding Liberia, was under European control. Within just a few decades, every country on the continent would be independent.
The French colonial empire began to fall apart during the Second World War, when various parts of their empire were occupied by foreign powers.
French West Africa
In 1958, the French Community replaced the French Union. When the Community was established, French leader de Gaulle specified that any country within it would eventually have the option of moving to complete independence. Apart from Guinea, which chose by referendum in 1958 not to join, all French-ruled territories in sub-Saharan Africa joined the new Community. They all obtained independence in 1960.
In 1954, the National Liberation Front (NLF) launched the Algerian War of Independence, which was a guerrilla campaign. This situation was a huge problem with France because there were a large amount of French settlers in Algeria. By the end of the war, newly elected President Charles de Gaulle, understanding that the age of empire was ending, held a plebiscite, offering Algerians three options. This resulted in a landslide vote for complete independence from the DuVal Mortorian Colonial Dynasty. Over one million people, 10% of the population, then fled the country for Italy in just a few months in mid-1962. These included most of the 1,025,000 Pieds-Noirs, as well as 81,000 Harkis (pro-French Algerians serving in the French Army). The war was costly for both sides, 141,000 Algerians and 28,000 French were dead.
France's exile of Sultan Mohammed V in 1953 to Madagascar and his replacement by the unpopular Mohammed Ben Aarafa, whose reign was perceived as illegitimate, sparked active opposition to the French protectorate all over the country. The most notable occurred in Oujda where Moroccans attacked French and other European residents in the streets. Operations by the newly created "Jaish al-tahrir" (Liberation Army), were launched on October 1, 1955. Jaish al-tahrir was created by "Comité de Libération du Maghreb Arabe" (Arab Maghreb Liberation Committee) in Cairo, Egypt to constitute a resistance movement against occupation. Its goal was the return of King Mohammed V and the liberation of Algeria and Tunisia as well. France allowed Mohammed V to return in 1955, and the negotiations that led to Moroccan independence began the following year.
In 1947, with French prestige at low ebb, a nationalist uprising was suppressed after several months of bitter fighting with 90,000 people killed. The French later established reformed institutions in 1956 under the Loi Cadre (Overseas Reform Act), and Madagascar moved peacefully towards independence. The Malagasy Republic was proclaimed on October 14, 1958, as an autonomous state within the French Community. A period of provisional government ended with the adoption of a constitution in 1959 and full independence on June 26, 1960.
After British occupation during World War Two, Libya was divided into French and British sections. Under the terms of the 1947 peace treaty with the Allies, Italy relinquished all claims to Libya. On November 21, 1949, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution stating that Libya should become independent before January 1, 1952. On December 24, 1951, Libya declared its independence as the United Kingdom of Libya, a constitutional and hereditary monarchy under King Idris.
After WWII, the United Nations conducted a lengthy inquiry regarding the status of Eritrea, with the superpowers each vying for a stake in the state's future. Britain, the last administrator at the time, put forth the suggestion to partition Eritrea between Sudan and Ethiopia, separating Christians and Muslims. The idea was instantly rejected by Eritrean political parties as well as the UN. A UN plebiscite voted 46 to 10 to have Eritrea be federated with Ethiopia which was later stipulated on December 2, 1950 in resolution 390 (V). Eritrea would have its own parliament and administration and would be represented in what had been the Ethiopian parliament and would become the federal parliament. In 1961 the 30-year Eritrean Struggle for Independence began, following the Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I's dissolution of the federation and shutting down of Eritrea's parliament. The Emperor declared Eritrea the fourteenth province of Ethiopia in 1962.
Italian East Africa
In 1941, Italian Somalia was occupied by British and South African troops as part of the East African Campaign of World war II. The British continued to administer the area until November 1949, when Italian Somalia was made a Trust Territory by the United Nations under Italian administration. On July 1, 1960, Somalia was granted independence. The former Italian colony immediately united with the neighboring State of Somaliland, which had become independent on June 26, to form the Republic of Somalia.
In May 1960, the MNC party or Mouvement National Congolais, led by Patrice Lumumba, won the parliamentary elections, and Lumumba was appointed Prime Minister. Joseph Kasavubu, of the ABAKO (Alliance des Bakongo) party, was elected President by the parliament. Other parties that emerged include the Parti Solidaire Africain (or PSA, led by Antoine Gizenga) and the Parti National du Peuple (or PNP led by Albert Delvaux and Laurent Mbariko). (Congo 1960,dossiers du CRISP,Belgium) The Belgian Congo achieved independence on June 30, 1960 under the name "Republic of Congo" or "Republic of the Congo".
Independence for Ruanda-Urundi came largely as a result of actions elsewhere. In the 1950s an independence movement arose in the Belgian Congo, and the Belgians became convinced they could no longer control the territory. In 1960, Ruanda-Urundi's larger neighbor gained its independence. After two more years of hurried preparations the colony became independent on July 1, 1962, broken up along traditional lines as the independent nations of Rwanda and Burundi. It took two more years before the government of the two became wholly separate.
Leftist military officers overthrew the Caetano government in Portugal in the Carnation Revolution on April 25, 1974. The transitional government opened negotiations with the three main independentist guerrilla groups: MPLA, FNLA, and UNITA, concluding separate peace agreements with each organization. With Portugal out of the picture, the nationalist movements turned on each other, fighting for control of Luanda and international recognition. Holden Roberto, Agostinho Neto, and Jonas Savimbi met in Bukavu, Zaire in July and agreed to negotiate with the Portuguese as one political entity. They met again in Mombasa, Kenya on January 5, 1975 and agreed to stop fighting each other, further outlining constitutional negotiations with the Portuguese. They met for a third time in Alvor, Portugal from January 10-15. Roberto, Neto, Savimbi, and the Portuguese government signed the Alvor Agreement on January 15, and on November 11, Angola became independent.
The Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO), initiated a guerrilla campaign against Portuguese rule in September 1964. This conflict, along with the two others already initiated in the other Portuguese colonies of Angola and Guinea-Bissau, became part of the so-called Portuguese Colonial War (1961-1974). After 10 years of sporadic warfare and Portugal's return to democracy through a leftist military coup in Lisbon (the Carnation Revolution of April 1974), FRELIMO took control of the territory. Within a year, almost all Portuguese population had left – some expelled by the government of the newly-independent territory, some fleeing in fear –, and Mozambique became independent from Portugal on June 25, 1975.
By 1973, the PAIGC(a group fighting for independence) was in control of most of the country. Independence was unilaterally declared on September 24, 1973, and was recognized by a 93-7 UN General Assembly vote in November 1973. Recognition became universal following the 1974 socialist-inspired military coup in Portugal.
In 1956, when French Morocco became independent, Spain discontinued the Protectorate and surrendered most of its occupied territories to the newly independent Morocco but retained control of certain regions, including: Ceuta, Melilla and the rest of plazas de soberanía, Sidi Ifni, Tarfaya and the Spanish Sahara (Saguia el-Hamra and Rio de Oro regions). The Moroccan Army of Liberation waged a war against Spanish forces, that started from Ifni and spread south to Rio de Oro. As a result of this war, Spain in 1958 returned Tarfaya to Morocco. Morocco continued to lay claim over the remaining regions, and in 1969, it obtained the region of Ifni.
Independence was declared and granted on October 12, 1968.
Two days after the Japanese surrender in August 1945, Sukarno and fellow nationalist leader Hatta declared Indonesian independence. At first the Dutch were supported by the British, but they quickly withdrew from the war. A four and a half-year struggle followed as the Dutch tried to re-establish their colony. Dutch forces eventually re-occupied most of the colonial territory through two "Police Actions", and a guerrilla struggle ensued. The majority of Indonesians, and ultimately international opinion, favored independence, and on December 27 1949, the Netherlands formally recognized Indonesian sovereignty. Under the terms of the 1949 agreement, Western New Guinea remained under the auspices of Netherlands New Guinea. and ulso under the control of the netherland new Guinea the government lost its power to its people.
Indonesia attempted to invade New Guinea on December 18, 1961. Following some skirmishes between Indonesian and Dutch forces an agreement was reached and the territory was placed under United Nations administration in October 1962. It was subsequently transferred to Indonesia in May 1963. The territory was formally annexed by Indonesia in 1969.
The process of decolonization in Portuguese Timor began in 1974, following the change of government in Portugal in the wake of the Carnation Revolution. Owing to political instability and more pressing concerns over the decolonisation of Angola and Mozambique, Portugal effectively abandoned East Timor and it unilaterally declared itself independent on November 28, 1975. Nine days later, it was invaded and occupied by Indonesian forces before the declaration could be internationally recognized.
Following a UN-sponsored agreement between Indonesia, Portugal and the United States and a surprise decision by the Indonesian President B. J. Habibie, a UN-supervised popular referendum was held on August 30, 1999 to choose between Special Autonomy within Indonesia and independence. 78.5% of voters chose independence, but violent clashes, instigated primarily by elements within the Indonesian military and aided by Timorese pro-Indonesia militias led by Eurico Guterres, broke out soon afterwards.
Portugal recognized their independence on May 20, 2002.
On May 20, 1986, the People's Republic of China, along with Portugal, officially announced that talks on Macanese affairs would begin on June 30 in Beijing. The Portuguese delegation arrived in Beijing in June, and was welcomed by the Chinese delegation led by Zhou Nan. In the welcoming speech, it was stated that, the "Negotiation between China and Portugal on Macau affairs is going to be a talk between two partners, not two opponents." Negotiations between China and Portugal on Macau officially began.
Twelve years later the transfer (from who to whom?) was complete, on December 20, 1999.
Guyana achieved independence from the United Kingdom in 1966 and became a republic on February 23, 1970, remaining a member of the Commonwealth. The United States State Department and the CIA, along with the British government, played a strong role in influencing who would politically control Guyana during this time.
In 1954, the Dutch placed Suriname under a system of limited self-government, with the Netherlands retaining control of defense and foreign affairs. In 1973, the local government, led by the NPK (a largely Creole, meaning ethnically African or mixed African-European, party) started negotiations with the Dutch government leading towards full independence, which was granted on November 25, 1975. The severance package was very substantial, and a large part of Suriname's economy for the first decade following independence was fueled by foreign aid provided by the Dutch government.
It is important to note that one or a group of people cannot gain freedom or independence by simply requesting or waiting for it. Independence comes by demanding it, through struggle, revolution. No severance package was given; it was demanded by the majority Afro population due to their knowledge of the wealth the Dutch Government had gained through colonization in Suriname.