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African Anti-Colonialism


Subject Imperial, Colonial, and Postcolonial History » Postcolonial History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781444334982.2016.x


African anti-colonialism, the struggle by Africans and people of African descent against imposed colonial rule by European powers since the middle of the nineteenth century, was one of the defining political experiences of the twentieth century. The struggle had political, cultural, and economic dimensions, and was waged through a combination of ideologies that included cultural nationalism, liberal humanism, socialism, and Marxist-Leninism. Although these ideologies were often in conflict, from the perspectives of those who prosecuted the struggle and of the global sociopolitical climate under which it unfolded, the various aspects were hardly separable. The political aspect manifested itself through the activities of Caribbean, American, and African intellectuals based in Europe and America in the period between the two world wars who subscribed to varieties of the ideologies, reverberating throughout the colonies. Final political resolution took a variety of forms. There were constitutional reforms in most British and French protectorates, wars of liberation in the Portuguese colonies, and a combination of both in the settler colonies of southern and southwestern Africa. The cultural aspect was more complex. It most effectively expressed itself in literary and artistic terms through the writings of some of those same intellectuals as well as of a subsequent generation, either ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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