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What is decolonization?

The process of undoing colonialism

What is the core requirement for decolonization according to the United Nations?

The fundamental right to self-determination

Which of the following was not a solution to decolonization?

Peaceful negotiations

Which empire emerged as the largest and most powerful empire in the world, leading to decolonization after World War II?

The British Empire

What was the Indian Rebellion of 1857?

A revolt of a portion of the Indian Army

What was the Algerian War of Independence?

A violent conflict between France and Algeria

Why did the loss of their empires turn France and Britain into second-rate powers?

They lost their status as imperial powers

What is the Non-Aligned Movement?

A movement opposing continued economic colonialism

What is the International Court of Justice's ruling on the sovereignty of the Chagos Archipelago?

The UK must transfer the islands to Mauritius

Study Notes

Decolonization refers to the process of undoing colonialism, which is the establishment and domination of foreign territories by imperial nations. It includes economic, cultural, and psychological aspects of the colonial experience. The United Nations states that the fundamental right to self-determination is the core requirement for decolonization. There have been several periods of decolonization, including the breakup of empires following World War I and II. The ideological origins of national independence movements are attributed to the Age of Enlightenment. Violence, civil warfare, and partition were frequent solutions to decolonization, and significant violence was involved in several prominent cases of decolonization of the British Empire. The Indian Rebellion of 1857 was not a movement for independence, but a revolt of a portion of the Indian Army. The British Empire emerged as the largest and most powerful empire in the world, and decolonization began after World War II. The emergence of Indigenous political parties was especially characteristic of the British Empire. In response to a growing Indian independence movement, the UK made successive reforms to the British Raj, culminating in the Government of India Act (1935). After World War I, France administered the former Ottoman territories of Syria and Lebanon, and the former German colonies of Togoland and Cameroon, as League of Nations mandates. Although France was ultimately a victor of World War II, Nazi Germany's occupation of France and its North African colonies during the war had disrupted colonial rule.Overview of the Decolonization Process

  • The process of decolonization began after World War II and continued through the 1960s, resulting in the independence of former colonies from European powers.

  • French Indochina withdrew from the French Union and the Indochina War began, leading to Cambodia and Laos becoming independent in 1953.

  • In 1956, Morocco and Tunisia gained their independence from France, and in 1960, eight independent countries emerged from French West Africa and five from French Equatorial Africa.

  • The Algerian War of Independence raged from 1954 to 1962, remaining a trauma for both France and Algeria.

  • The United States approached imperialism differently from other powers, with the Monroe Doctrine reserving the Americas as its sphere of interest, prohibiting other states from recolonizing newly independent polities of Latin America.

  • Following the Spanish–American War in 1898, the U.S. added most of Spain's remaining colonies, including Puerto Rico, Philippines, and Guam.

  • Japan had gained several substantial colonial possessions in East Asia before World War I, and after the war, it acquired the South Seas Mandate, the former German colony in Micronesia, as a League of Nations Mandate.

  • Portugal was an authoritarian state from 1933 to 1974, fiercely determined to maintain its colonial possessions and suppress any insurgencies.

  • Belgium's empire began with the annexation of the Congo in 1908, adding Rwanda and Burundi as League of Nations mandates from the former German Empire in 1919.

  • The Netherlands had spent centuries building up its empire, consisting mostly of the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), and by 1940, it was overrun and almost starved to death by the Nazis during the war.

  • When the United Nations was formed in 1945, it established trust territories, including the League of Nations mandate territories which had not achieved independence by 1945.

  • The Non-Aligned Movement emerged to oppose continued economic colonialism by former imperial powers, and the UN General Assembly voted the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples.

  • The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) was created in 1964 to promote a New International Economic Order (NIEO) that was opposed to the 1944 Bretton Woods system, benefiting leading states that had created it.Decolonization: A Brief Overview

  • Decolonization occurred after World War II when nations achieved independence by transitioning from European colonial rule to full independence.

  • The decolonization of Africa took place in the mid-to-late 1950s, with widespread unrest and organized revolts in French Algeria, Portuguese Angola, the Belgian Congo, and British Kenya.

  • By 1977, European colonial rule in mainland Africa had ended, with most African countries existing within prior colonial borders. Some African countries merged with others before becoming independent, such as Morocco and Somalia.

  • The decolonization of Asia saw the Japanese colonial empire dissolved, and national independence movements resisting the re-imposition of colonial control by European countries and the United States.

  • The decolonization of Oceania occurred after World War II, with nations achieving independence by transitioning from European colonial rule to full independence.

  • Challenges of decolonization included state-building, nation-building, economic development, and language policy.

  • Nation-building projects sought to replace loyalty to the old colonial power and/or tribal or regional loyalties with loyalty to the new state.

  • Settler populations posed challenges to decolonization, and in some cases, settlers were repatriated.

  • Decolonization allowed the goals of colonization to be largely achieved, but without its burdens.

  • The United Nations defines Non-Self Governing Nations (NSGSs) as territories whose people have not yet attained a full measure of self-government.

  • As of 2020, 17 territories remain under Chapter XI distinction, including Western Sahara.

  • The United Nations declared its renewal of the call to States Members of the United Nations to speed up the process of decolonization towards the complete elimination of colonialism.Decolonization: Theory, Consequences, and Decolonizing Global Health

  • The sovereignty of the Chagos Archipelago is disputed between the United Kingdom and Mauritius.

  • The International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled in February 2019 that the UK must transfer the islands to Mauritius.

  • The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution in May 2019 affirming that the Chagos Archipelago "forms an integral part of the territory of Mauritius".

  • The UK does not recognize Mauritius' sovereignty claim over the Chagos Archipelago.

  • Indigenous decolonization theory views Western Eurocentric historical accounts and political discourse as an ongoing political construct that attempts to negate Indigenous peoples and their experiences around the world.

  • According to this theory, the independence of former Western-European colonies is conceptualized as ongoing neo-colonization projects of settler colonialism and not as decolonization.

  • A 2019 study found that democracy levels increased sharply as colonies gained internal autonomy in the period immediately before their independence.

  • However, conflict, revenue growth, and economic growth did not systematically differ before and after independence.

  • Decolonization may have been the century's greatest act of disenfranchisement, as anti-colonial activists primarily pursued universal suffrage within empires rather than independence.

  • The loss of their empires turned France and Britain into second-rate powers.

  • Global health, as a discipline, is widely acknowledged to be of imperial origin and the need for its decolonization has been widely recognized.

  • Dismantling the feudal structure of global health has been mentioned to be a key decolonization agenda.

Test your knowledge of the complex and multifaceted process of decolonization in this quiz. From the origins of national independence movements to the challenges of state-building and nation-building, this quiz covers a range of topics related to decolonization. Explore the different approaches taken by various imperial powers, the impact of violence and civil warfare, and the ongoing struggles for sovereignty and self-determination. Whether you are a history buff or simply interested in global politics, this quiz will challenge and educate you on this

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