Year of independence of North African countries with map

Year of independence of North African countries

During the 1950s and 1960s, and into the 1970s, all of the North African states gained independence from their colonial European rulers, except for a few small Spanish colonies on the far northern tip of Morocco, and parts of the Sahara region, which went from Spanish to Moroccan rule.
According to, these countries were, in chronological order of independence: Cameroon, Togo, Madagascar, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Benin, Niger, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Chad, the Central African Republic, the Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Senegal, Mali, Nigeria, and Mauritania. was one of the first nations in the African to gain independence from colonial rule.
The year 1960 is known as the “Year of Africa,” when 17 countries across the continent celebrated the joy, excitement, and possibilities of independence. But liberation in Africa was more than this one moment in the global process of decolonization. Between March 1957, when Ghana declared independence from , and July 1962, when Algeria wrested independence from after a bloody war, 24 African nations freed themselves from their former colonial masters. In most former English and French colonies, independence came relatively peacefully.
became the world's newest nation when South Africa formally relinquished control shortly after midnight today (5 p.m. EST Tuesday). So ended an era of colonial rule on a continent once carved up and ruled by European powers hungry for imperial glory.

By 1914, the only independent African states were Liberia and Ethiopia. The area of West Africa that is now called the Democratic Republic of Congo is a good example of what happened to many African countries during the Scramble for Africa.

The West African country of Liberia shares special historical ties to the United States, dating back to its founding in 1822 by former slaves and free-born blacks from the United States under the sponsorship of the American Colonization Society (ACS). The Dutch established a colony in Africa before many other European countries. It is also the first colonial country which came to South Africa.

Ethiopia derives from the classical Greek for “burnt-face” (possibly in contrast to the lighter-skinned inhabitants of Libya). It first appears in Homer's Iliad and was used by the historian Herodotus to denote those areas of Africa south of the Sahara part of the “Ecumene” (i.e. the inhabitable world).

Who named Africa? the Romans

All historians agree that it was the Roman use of the term ‘Africa' for parts of Tunisia and Northern Algeria which ultimately, almost 2000 years later, gave the continent its name. There is, however, no consensus amongst scholars as to why the Romans decided to call these provinces ‘Africa'.

Which country was not colonized in Africa?

Battle of Adowa (Ethiopia) As you have already learned, Ethiopia along with Liberia, were the only African countries that were not colonized by Europeans.

By 1900 a significant part of Africa had been colonized by mainly seven European powers—Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, and . After the conquest of African decentralized and centralized states, the European powers set about establishing colonial state systems.

Most nations in Africa were colonized by European states in the early modern era, including a burst of colonization in the Scramble for Africa from 1880 to 1900. But this condition was reversed over the course of the next century by independence movements. Here are the dates of independence for African nations.

CountryIndependence DatePrior ruling country
Liberia, Republic ofJuly 26, 1847
South Africa, Republic ofMay 31, 1910Britain
Egypt, Arab Republic ofFeb. 28, 1922Britain
Ethiopia, People's Democratic Republic ofMay 5, 1941Italy
Libya (Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya)Dec. 24, 1951Britain
Sudan, Democratic Republic ofJan. 1, 1956Britain/Egypt
Morocco, Kingdom ofMarch 2, 1956France
Tunisia, Republic ofMarch 20, 1956France
Morocco (Spanish Northern Zone, Marruecos)April 7, 1956Spain
Morocco (International Zone, Tangiers)Oct. 29, 1956
Ghana, Republic ofMarch 6, 1957Britain
Morocco (Spanish Southern Zone, Marruecos)April 27, 1958Spain
Guinea, Republic ofOct. 2, 1958France
Cameroon, Republic ofJan. 1 1960France
Senegal, Republic ofApril 4, 1960France
Togo, Republic ofApril 27, 1960France
Mali, Republic ofSept. 22, 1960France
Madagascar, Democratic Republic ofJune 26, 1960France
Congo (Kinshasa), Democratic Republic of theJune 30, 1960Belgium
Somalia, Democratic Republic ofJuly 1, 1960Britain
Benin, Republic ofAug. 1, 1960France
Niger, Republic ofAug. 3, 1960France
Burkina Faso, Popular Democratic Republic ofAug. 5, 1960France
Côte d'Ivoire, Republic of (Ivory Coast)Aug. 7, 1960France
Chad, Republic ofAug. 11, 1960France
Central African RepublicAug. 13, 1960France
Congo (Brazzaville), Republic of theAug. 15, 1960France
Gabon, Republic ofAug. 16, 1960France
Nigeria, Federal Republic ofOct. 1, 1960Britain
Mauritania, Islamic Republic ofNov. 28, 1960France
, Republic ofApr. 27, 1961Britain
Nigeria (British Cameroon North)June 1, 1961Britain
Cameroon(British Cameroon South)Oct. 1, 1961Britain
Tanzania, United Republic ofDec. 9, 1961Britain
Burundi, Republic ofJuly 1, 1962Belgium
Rwanda, Republic ofJuly 1, 1962Belgium
Algeria, Democratic and Popular Republic ofJuly 3, 1962France
Uganda, Republic ofOct. 9, 1962Britain
Kenya, Republic ofDec. 12, 1963Britain
Malawi, Republic ofJuly 6, 1964Britain
Zambia, Republic ofOct. 24, 1964Britain
Gambia, Republic of TheFeb. 18, 1965Britain
Botswana, Republic ofSept. 30, 1966Britain
Lesotho, Kingdom ofOct. 4, 1966Britain
Mauritius, State ofMarch 12, 1968Britain
Swaziland, Kingdom ofSept. 6, 1968Britain
Equatorial Guinea, Republic ofOct. 12, 1968Spain
Morocco (Ifni)June 30, 1969Spain
, Republic ofSept. 24, 1973 (alt. Sept. 10, 1974)Portugal
Mozambique, Republic ofJune 25. 1975Portugal
Cape Verde, Republic ofJuly 5, 1975Portugal
Comoros, Federal Islamic Republic of theJuly 6, 1975France
São Tomé and Principe, Democratic Republic ofJuly 12, 1975Portugal
Angola, People's Republic ofNov. 11, 1975Portugal
Western SaharaFeb. 28, 1976Spain
Seychelles, Republic ofJune 29, 1976Britain
Djibouti, Republic ofJune 27, 1977France
Zimbabwe, Republic ofApril 18, 1980Britain
Namibia, Republic ofMarch 21, 1990South Africa
Eritrea, State ofMay 24, 1993Ethiopia
South Sudan, Republic ofJuly 9, 2011Republic of the Sudan


  1. Ethiopia is usually considered to have never been colonized, but following the invasion by Italy in 1935-36 Italian settlers arrived. Emperor Haile Selassie was deposed and went into exile in the UK. He regained his throne on 5 May 1941 when he re-entered Addis Ababa with his troops. Italian resistance was not completely overcome until 27th November 1941.
  2. Guinea-Bissau made a Unilateral Declaration of Independence on Sept. 24, 1973, now considered as Independence Day. However, independence was only recognized by Portugal on 10 September 1974 as a result of the Algiers Accord of Aug. 26, 1974.
  3. Western Sahara was immediately seized by Morocco, a move contested by Polisario (Popular Front for the Liberation of the Saguia el Hamra and Rio del Oro).