Resistance Movement in Africa

Resistance Movements


  • French occupied Algeria in 1830, it took her about 40 years to suppress the Algerian resistance.
  • It was the most profitable of France’s colonial possessions, providing her a vast market for French goods.


Both France and England wanted to control Tunisia. But they don’t go for war, they make an agreement.

  • British got Cyprus, French got Tunisia.


  • Morocco is situated on the north coast of Africa, just south of Gibraltar.
  • Hence very important to the western entrance of the Mediterranean.
  • Both France and Italy wanted Morocco. But they don’t go for war, they also make an agreement.

France got Morocco. Italy got Tripoli and Cyrenaica (east of Tunisia).This region was already under Turkish Empire. So Italy sent troops, occupied two provinces and called it “Libya”.

  • While France, Italy and England were busy dividing North Africa among themselves, they had ignored Germany.
  • German Minister said, “You(French) have bought your liberty in Morocco from Spain, England, and even from Italy, and you have left us out.
  • There were many international crises and it appeared as if war would break out.
  • But France appeased Germans by transferring 250,000 square kilometers of French Congo to Germany.
  • Similarly France also appeased Spain by giving her a small part of Morocco.
  • In 1912 France established her protectorate over Morocco. However, it took the French many years after the First World War to suppress the rebellions there. Pasha’s game over.]

Egypt – British Occupation

  • In 1880s, Egyptians started revolt against this Anglo-French control.
  • Britain sent her army in pretext of rest orating law and order and protection of the Suez Canal
  • The British assured that they will withdraw our troops from Egypt as soon as peace is established.
  • After the revolt was suppressed, Egypt came under British control.
  • When the First World War started, England announced that Egypt was no longer a Turkish province but a British protectorate!
  • Then Britain fully exploited the natural resources, manpower and economy of Egypt during WW1. The army seized crops. The British Treasury took over the gold reserves of the National Bank of Egypt.
  • After the First World War, Egyptian leaders started for the Paris Peace Conference to plead the case of Egypt, but they were arrested.
  • In the 1920s, Britain was forced to recognize Egypt as an independent sovereign state (but still, Britain retained her rights over the Suez and many other concessions)

British and French Colonies

British territoriesFrench
2.Gold Coast2.Morocco
4.Sierra Leone4.French-Congo
10.South Africa.  


The first country in southern Africa to gain independence was Ghana. There was a powerful kingdom of Ghana in West Africa during the eighth to the twelfth centuries.

The British had conquered a part of this region to which they gave the name Gold Coast. The most prominent leader of the people of the Gold Coast colony was Kwame Nkrumah, who in 1949 had organized the Convention People’s Party. A strong trade union movement had also emerged in Gold Coast.

The Convention People’s Party and the trade unions joined together to demand independence from Britain. However, most of their leaders were arrested and attempts were made to suppress the demand for freedom. After 1950, the British government started introducing certain constitutional reforms.

Under pressure from the People’s Party, which had won a resounding victory in elections, the British government agreed to the independence of Gold Coast.

The new independent state, which came into being on 6 March 1957, called itself Ghana, after the name of the old West African kingdom. The part of Togoland, which had been under British control, also joined Ghana.


The next country to achieve her independence was the French colony of Guinea in West Africa. In 1958, while embroiled in the war in Algeria, France held a referendum in her colonies, which had been grouped together as French West Africa and French Equatorial Africa.

The people of Guinea voted for complete independence and Guinea was proclaimed are public on 2 October 1958.

The achievement of independence by Ghana and Guinea gave additional confidence to the freedom movements in other parts of Africa and accelerated the pace of achievement of independence by other nations. The promotion of the cause of African freedom was a major objective of India’s foreign policy from the time India won her independence.

India’s struggle for freedom had also been a source of inspiration to African nationalists.

  • The year 1960 is generally regarded as the Africa Year. In that year, seventeen countries in Africa gained their independence. These included all the French colonies in French West Africa and Equatorial Africa, Nigeria and Congo (formerly Belgian Congo, now called Zaire).
  • Between 1961 and 1964, a number of countries in East and Central Africa also became independent. These were Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika, Zanzibar, Nyasaland, Northern Rhodesia, Rwanda and Burundi. Sierra Leone, Gambia, Lesotho (formerly Basutoland) and Botswana (formerly Bechuanaland) also gained their independence.

Kenya: Mau Mau rebellion

Jomo Kenyatta, leader of the Kenya African Union, led the freedom movement in Kenya. In 1952, a revolt by peasants had broken out. This is known as the Mau Mau rebellion.

It was directed against the seizure of land by the British colonial authorities. To suppress there bellion, 15,000 Kenyans were killed and about 80,000 sent to concentration camps. Jomo Kenyatta was imprisoned in 1953 on the charge of supporting the Mau Mau rebellion. Having failed to suppress the freedom movement, Britain had to give in and Kenya became independent in 1963.

Many of the newly independent countries of Africa faced serious problems during the years following their independence. The imperialist powers tried their best hi maintain their hold over their former colonies by direct intervention and by creating dissensions.

South Africa: Apartheid

South Africa — Union of South Africa since 1910 and Republic of South Africa since

1961 —has been an independent country in the sense that she was not ruled from another country. The government of South Africa was, however, among the most oppressive regimes in the world in the twentieth century.

  • It was under the exclusive control of the white minority practicing the worst form of racism. Under the system of apartheid established in South Africa, all people were classified and separated on the basis of race. Each group had to live in a separate area. There were separate schools and universities, separate theatres, separate shopping centres, separate coaches in trains for whites and blacks and others. The teams for sports also were formed on the basis of race. Marriage between persons belonging to different races was a criminal offence. There were restrictions on movement from one, place to another. The best lands in the country were under the control of the whites who had all the economic and
  • Political power. The non-whites had no vote and no say in the governance of the country.

The system of apartheid was used to maintain the rule of the white minority over about 80 percent of the population, which comprised black and coloured people as well as people of Indian origin.

  • This system, in the name of separation of the races, denied human rights to the majority of the population.
  • It may be recalled that Mahatma Gandhi had started the fight against racial discrimination in South Africa long before he became a leader of the freedom movement in India.
  • Demonstrators protesting against apartheid laws were massacred at Sharpeville in South Africa, 22 March 1960. The main organization of the South African people, which led the movement for ending the rule of the white minority and establishing a nonracist democratic South Africa, was the African National Congress (ANC). It was set up in 1910. The movement against the obnoxious system of apartheid was intensified in the 1950s.
  • The government depended on the use of terror to maintain its rule. There were incidents of massacres of peaceful protestors. In 1960, the African National Congress was banned and most of its leaders were arrested.
  • The ANC then organized its own army to fight against the racist regime. South Africa was increasingly isolated from the rest of the world.
  • India had been from the beginning in the forefront in support of the struggle to dismantle the apartheid regime. She was the first country in the world to sever relations with South Africa and to extend her full support to the people of South Africa. Many other countries followed the suit.

The United Nations also condemned the policies of South Africa. In the 1980s some Western countries, which had maintained military and economic relations with South Africa, also imposed sanctions against her. By the end of the 1980s, the international isolation of the South African regime was complete.

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