They stretched in a continuous strip from Cape Town in the south to – Cairo in the north.

They stretched in a continuous strip from Cape Town in the south to – Cairo in the north.

heroes, thinkers and naturalists, politicians and entrepreneurs, inventors and travelers, writers, composers and artists of all times and peoples / RK Balandin. – M .: Sovremennik, 1998 .– 315.


World History: African countries in the 20-30s. Abstract

The international position of the African continent. Strengthening colonialism. Liberation struggle of peoples. Italian aggression against Ethiopia

The international position of the African continent

At the beginning of the XX century. the vast majority of the territory of the African continent was part of the colonial empires of Great Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. As a result of the First World War, Germany lost its colonies, the area of ​​which in Africa was 2.5 million square meters. km, and the population – up to 13 million people.

The division of German colonial possessions was legalized by the mandate system established by the Paris Peace Conference. Article 22 of the League of Nations Covenant provided that, in order to ensure the development of individual peoples who were unable to govern themselves, some great powers could take care of them as League of Nations mandators.

Germany’s largest and most valuable German East Africa was divided between Great Britain, Belgium and Portugal. The main part of this territory called Tanganyika became part of the British Empire. Belgium was given two districts in the northwest – Rwanda and Urunda. Portugal received a small East African territory with the city of Gyeonggi. The mandate for South West Africa, most of which is occupied by the Kalahari Desert, was given to the dominion of the British Empire – the Union of South Africa. Great Britain and France divided the territory of Cameroon and Togo.

Thus, the Entente countries, after winning the war with the Allies, expanded their colonial possessions in Africa. The largest and richest were the possessions of the British Empire. They stretched in a continuous strip from Cape Town in the south to – Cairo in the north. In colonial Africa, only two states were sovereign: Liberia and Ethiopia.

Strengthening colonialism

After the end of the First World War, the countries – metropolises of the West began to intensively develop colonial territories. Colonial intervention in the interwar period played a crucial role in the development of African countries.

In the economic sphere, the main consequence of colonialism was the transformation of the colonies into agricultural and raw materials appendages of the metropolises. A characteristic feature of the interwar period is the rapid growth of production of export crops. In the late 1930’s in many African colonies more than 2 /, the value of all exports accounted for one crop. Such monocultures were, for example, pineapples and bananas in French Guinea, cloves in Zanzibar, and cocoa in the Gold Coast.

A similar situation has developed in the industry: the mining industry, designed mainly for export, has been developing intensively. Thus, in the Belgian Congo, copper production from 1913 to 1937 increased 20 times. In 1937, sub-Saharan Africa provided 97% of all diamonds mined in the capitalist countries, more than 40% of gold, and more than a third of platinum production.

Effective colonial exploitation was carried out through the involvement of indigenous peoples in governance. Colonial authorities used mainly two forms of government: direct and indirect. In the first case, the colonizers appointed African leaders to a particular area, despite the local institutions of power and the origin of the applicant. These leaders were often transferred from one administrative district to another. Under indirect management, the colonial administration formally maintained traditional local institutions of power. The leader could only be a local influential person, provided that he arranged the colonizers. Direct control was more often used in the French colonies, indirect – in the English.

In the interwar years, there were more and more colonial schools that trained staff from local tribes for the needs of the administration. The colonial rule of Western countries on the African continent was accompanied by brutal force.

However, by exploiting Africa’s human and natural resources, colonial capital contributed to its economic development, formed the necessary administrative and political environment for the functioning of capital, and a cultural and educational system capable of training qualified personnel. The forced introduction of the European-capitalist version of civilization contributed to the fact that at the time of decolonization, many African countries were ready for independent government.

Liberation struggle of peoples

Despite colonial pressure from Western powers, the peoples of Africa resisted foreign domination. During the interwar period, the national liberation movement gained its greatest scope in North Africa. The peoples of Algeria, Morocco and especially Egypt have achieved the most significant successes.

The participation of tens of thousands of Arab-Algerians in the First World War together with the French Algerians-French contributed to the development of their national self-consciousness in the postwar years. Many Arab-Algerian intellectuals opposed the so-called "native code" which restricted the rights of Algerians and forbade their participation in political life. In 1920, the influential Young Algerian organization was formed in 1926, the famous North African Star, which in 1933 called for the struggle for Algerian independence. Algerians’ demands for equal rights with the French were not in vain.

The victory of the Popular Front of France (1936) led to reforms that gave Algeria new democratic freedoms and political rights, created conditions for the activities of various parties and movements.

The people of Morocco did not stop fighting for liberation from the Franco-Spanish occupation. In 1921, the Reef tribes revolted, and the so-called Reef Republic was established in the liberated territory, led by Abd al-Karim (El-Karim). The National Assembly of the Republic adopted the "National Vow" which provided for the liberation of the country from the occupiers, gaining national independence and more. For five years, the Moroccans successfully fought the French and Spanish colonizers. However, the forces were unequal, and in 1926 the combined Franco-Spanish army overthrew the Reef Republic. However, the national liberation movement in Morocco did not stop. In the 1930s, Morocco’s first political parties, the National Action Committee (1934) and the National Party (1937), were formed.

The greatest successes in the interwar years were achieved by Egypt, which was under the protectorate of Great Britain. In 1918, the Wafd party was formed in the country and organized a mass movement for national independence. In 1919-1921 there were armed uprisings against British rule. In 1922, the British government abolished the protectorate, but with some reservations that prevented the establishment of true independence in Egypt. In particular, the United Kingdom reserved the right to provide communications, retain a military contingent and a commissioner.

After the adoption of the constitution (1923), Egypt became a constitutional monarchy headed by King Fouad I. A parliament and a cabinet of ministers were elected, headed by the leaders of the Wafd party. The Wafdists continued to defend national interests, demanding the withdrawal of British troops. In December 1935, the main Egyptian parties formed the National Front, which forced King Fouad I to resume negotiations with Britain. The result of the negotiations was the Anglo-Egyptian treaty (1936); which confirmed the independence of Egypt and proclaimed the end of the British occupation. In May 1937, Egypt was admitted to the League of Nations.

Among the various forms of anti-colonialism, the most common were religious and political, primarily Afro-Christian, movements. Although Christianity was the religion of the conquerors, it was the most suitable for the ideological justification of anti-colonialism, as it preached the equality of all before God. The most popular African-Christian movements became in Central Africa. Thus, in 1921 in the Belgian Congo there was a movement called kimbangti. Its founder, the former Protestant priest Simon Kimbang, was first considered a messiah and later a god. He had "apostles" and "prophets" who led the movement in many parts of the country. Kimbangu put forward the slogan "Congo – Congolese" calling for protests against the administration, for non-payment of taxes imposed by the Belgian government.

In the interwar years, the first political parties were established in tropical and southern Africa. Thus, in 1920, the National Congress of West Africa was established on the territory of the British Gold Coast, which opposed the most odious manifestations of colonial oppression, demanded the softening of strict colonial orders. The African National Congress (ANC), established in 1912, continued to operate in South Africa to unite Africans in the fight against racial discrimination.

Pan-Africanism had a significant influence on the formation of anti-colonialism. During the Paris Peace Conference, one of the leaders of the Negro movement in the United States, William Dubois, proposed to reconsider the legal status of the Negro-African peoples. As the victorious states refused to consider the issue, Dubois and his supporters decided to convene a congress. The first Pan-African Congress was held in Paris in February 1919. It was attended by representatives of 15 countries, including nine African countries. The main goal of this forum is to gain understanding and support from the world community. Congressional resolutions called for the abolition of slavery, the prohibition of forced labor and corporal punishment, and so on.

In 1921, 1923, and 1927, three more Pan-African Congresses took place, but their demands differed little from the program put forward at the first Congress. The program of pan-Africanism itself was declarative and not realistic enough for its time. Pan-Africanism became most influential in the British colonies of West Africa and in the Union of South Africa.

Italian aggression against Ethiopia

Simultaneously with the strengthening of fascism in Italy, Rome’s desire to avenge Ethiopia (Abyssinia) for its defeat at Adua (1896) and to establish a large colonial empire in East Africa became increasingly apparent.