Decolonization:The after-effects (the legacies of colonialism)


ist (in chronological order) fifteen (15) significant decolonization events , that you choose, since 1945.  In a few sentences, identify and explain the importance of each event. A good timeline should have an exact (or approximate) year date for each event on the timeline. There should be a description of the event and a short assessment of the importance of that event in simple English.

You can also get help from the Raymond F. Betts, Decolonization book


(So, what was the Decolonization? The Second World War then marked a final watershed as it set in motion  the process of “decolonization,” i.e., the undoing of the world’s empires and the setting free of the colonies and the creation of independent countries.  After 1945, as a result of this process, there appeared the so-called Third World, aka the “south” or those countries south of the Equator that were considered under-developed, or less-developed.  The process of decolonization was far from being a stable and rational undertaking, and it resulted in much tension, conflict and disunity. By the time the dismantling of the colonies was over in the 1970s, Britain wound up “losing” it all (India, Burma, Ceylon, Malaysia, etc.), as did also the Dutch, French and Portuguese (and US).

Even as the colonial empires disappeared, the after-effects (the legacies of colonialism) remained.  Here are some general points to consider:

  • Many democratic constitutions did not last long
  • most of the new countries also faced difficult modernization issues (both economic and cultural), i.e., how to catch up with the more advanced economies of the world
  • a wide range of complex array of socio-economic situations prevailed in the new countries with each situation being unique
  • nationalists who fought to achieve independence against the colonial regimes were now firmly militant, and once in power, it was usually difficult to rein in those militaristic tendencies
  • the widespread appeal of radical political alternatives to the peoples who were struggling after the colonial period
  • internal divisions in the new countries were often artificial yet they ended up causing significant problems.  One major source of problems was borders.
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