List Of Former British Colonies In Africa

British colonialism in Africa is a dark chapter in the continent’s history, with lasting impacts that are still felt today. The period of British colonial rule began in the late 19th century and lasted until the mid-20th century, during which time several African countries were brought under British control.

The motives behind British colonization in Africa were largely economic and political. Britain sought to expand its empire and gain access to valuable resources such as gold, diamonds, ivory, and rubber. They also wanted to establish strategic military bases and secure trade routes for their goods.

One of the key factors that enabled British colonization was the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885, where European powers divided up Africa among themselves without any consideration for existing cultural or ethnic boundaries. This led to artificial borders being drawn which would later contribute to conflicts and instability within these countries.

The British employed various tactics to colonize African countries, including military force, diplomacy, and deception. Many local leaders were tricked into signing treaties that gave away their land or agreed to be protectorates of the British Crown.

The impact of British colonialism on Africa was deep-seated and far-reaching. One of the most significant effects was the exploitation of natural resources for the benefit of Britain rather than indigenous populations. This led to massive wealth disparities between Africans who lived in poverty while their resources were extracted by foreign powers.

Another major consequence was the introduction of Christianity and Western education systems, which aimed at “civilizing” Africans but often resulted in cultural erasure and loss of traditional values.

Moreover, colonial policies undermined African economies by enforcing cash-crop production instead of subsistence farming methods. This resulted in food shortages and further dependence on foreign powers for basic needs.

The legacy of British colonization can still be seen today through language (English remains widely spoken), political structures (many former colonies still use a parliamentary system), and societal issues such as racism and inequality stemming from the colonial divide and rule tactics.

British colonialism in Africa had a profound impact that continues to shape the continent’s present. Despite gaining independence, many African countries are still struggling to undo the damage caused by colonization and create a more equitable society for all its citizens.

Current Political and Economic Situation in these Former Colonies

Decades after gaining independence, many of these countries are still struggling to establish stable governance systems and achieve economic development.

In terms of politics, several of these former colonies have experienced periods of instability and conflict since their independence. This was often due to the legacy of colonial rule, which left behind divisive borders, unequal distribution of resources, and ethnic tensions. In some cases, this was further exacerbated by interference from outside powers during the Cold War era.

For example, Sudan has faced ongoing civil wars since its independence in 1956, leading to the country’s fragmentation into two separate nations in 2011. Similarly, Nigeria has gone through numerous military coups and violent conflicts between different ethnic groups since gaining independence in 1960. Even relatively stable countries like Ghana and Kenya have seen instances of political turmoil and violence.

On the economic front, these former colonies face various challenges as well. Many were left with economies that were heavily dependent on exporting raw materials during colonial rule, leading to a lack of diversification and vulnerability to fluctuations in global commodity prices. This has resulted in high levels of poverty and inequality within these nations.

Additionally, some former colonies continue to struggle with issues such as corruption, weak infrastructure, inadequate education systems, and limited access to healthcare services. These factors hinder economic growth and prevent these countries from fully utilizing their natural resources.

However, it is not all doom and gloom for these African nations. Many have made significant progress over the years despite facing numerous challenges. Countries like Botswana have successfully diversified their economies beyond natural resources by investing in industries such as tourism.

Moreover, there has been a growing trend towards democratization across many former British colonies in Africa. With more transparent elections being held regularly in many countries such as South Africa and Zambia along with an increase in civil society organizations advocating for human rights and good governance, there is hope for continued political stability and progress in the region.

The current political and economic situation in these former British colonies in Africa is a mix of challenges and opportunities. While many countries continue to face significant hurdles, there are also signs of progress and potential for growth. As these nations continue to navigate their post-colonial journey, it is essential to acknowledge their unique histories and support them in their efforts towards achieving lasting stability and prosperity.

List and Brief History of Former British Colonies in Africa

Here is a list of former British colonies in Africa, along with a brief history of their colonization:

1. Egypt – The British first occupied Egypt in 1882 after intervening to protect their economic interests in the Suez Canal. In 1922, Egypt gained nominal independence but remained under British influence until 1956 when it was fully granted independence.

2. Sudan – Sudan was jointly ruled by Britain and Egypt from 1899 until its independence in 1956.

3. South Sudan – Originally part of Sudan, South Sudan became an independent country in 2011 after years of civil war and struggles for self-determination.

4. Uganda – In the late 1800s, Britain declared Uganda a protectorate and used it as a source for labor during the construction of railways. It gained full independence in October 1962.

5. Kenya – The British East Africa Company established control over Kenya in the late nineteenth century before becoming a formal colony under direct rule from London in July 1920. It achieved independence on December 12th,1963.

6. Tanzania (formerly Tanganyika) – The area now known as Tanzania came under German rule at first but was taken over by Britain during World War I as part of their defeat against Germany and its allies’ territories. After gaining independence on December 9th,1961,it merged with Zanzibar to form Tanzania on April 26th,1964.

7. Malawi (formerly Nyasaland) – Britain declared a protectorate over Malawi in 1891, and it became a British colony in 1907. It gained independence on July 6th,1964.

8. Zambia (formerly Northern Rhodesia) – In the late nineteenth century, Britain annexed Northern Rhodesia as part of their efforts to establish a route from Cape Town to Cairo. It became an independent nation on October 24th,1964.

9. Zimbabwe (formerly Southern Rhodesia) – Initially known as Southern Rhodesia, this territory was colonized by the British South Africa Company in the late 19th century before becoming a self-governing colony under British rule in 1923. It gained independence on April18th ,1980.

10. Botswana (formerly Bechuanaland) – The area that is now Botswana was first under Dutch and then Boer control before being taken over by Britain in the late 19th century. It achieved full independence on September30th ,1966.

11. Namibia ( formerly South West Africa) – Namibia was first colonized by Germany in the late 19th century but came under British rule after World War I. It gained independence from South African rule in 1990.

12. Lesotho (formerly Basutoland) – In 1868, Basutoland became a protectorate of the British Crown and was later annexed as a colony in 1884. It gained independence on October 4th,1966.

13. Swaziland (now Eswatini) – Swaziland came under British protection in 1903 and became a British protectorate in 1907. It gained full independence on September 6th ,1968.

14. Gambia – The Gambia became a British protectorate in 1894 and later a colony in 1902. It gained independence on February 18th,1965.

15. Sierra Leone – Britain established Sierra Leone as a colony for freed slaves and maroons in the late 18th century, making it one of the earliest British colonies in Africa. It gained independence on April 27th,1961.

16. Ghana (formerly Gold Coast) – The area known as Gold Coast was declared a crown colony by Britain in 1874. It gained independence on March 6th,1957 becoming the first African colony to do so.

17. Nigeria – In 1861, Britain annexed the kingdom of Lagos as a colony and protectorate of the British Empire. Nigeria gained independence on October 1st,1960 but remained a member of the Commonwealth until it became a republic in 1963.

18. The Gambia – The Gambia became a British protectorate in 1894 and a full colony in 1902. It gained independence on February18th,1965.

19. Sierra Leone – Britain established Sierra Leone as a colony for freed slaves and maroons in the late 18th century, making it one of the earliest British colonies in Africa. It gained independence on April 27th,1961.

20. Mauritius – The Dutch first occupied Mauritius in the seventeenth century before it came under French rule, then British rule during the Napoleonic Wars. It achieved independence on March 12th,1968.

21. Seychelles – The Seychelles were colonized by France and later became a British colony from 1814 until its independence on June 29th,1976.

22. South Africa (formerly Cape Colony and Natal) – The British established control over the Cape Colony in 1806 and annexed Natal in 1843. It remained under British rule until it gained independence on May 31st,1910.

23. Rhodesia (now Zambia and Zimbabwe) – In the late nineteenth century, Britain annexed Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) as part of their efforts to establish a route from Cape Town to Cairo. It became an independent nation on April 18th,1980.

24. Somaliland – The British established a protectorate over Somaliland in the late nineteenth century, which became fully independent from Britain on June 26th,1960.

25. Zanzibar – Zanzibar was ruled by the Sultan of Oman until it became a British protectorate in 1890. It gained independence from Britain on December 10th,1963.


Today, many of these former British colonies in Africa are members of the Commonwealth, an organization of 54 countries that were formerly part of the British Empire or have historical ties to Britain. While some of these countries have faced challenges and conflicts since gaining independence, they continue to shape and contribute to the rich history and culture of Africa.

Back to top button