The 'Wind of Change': British Decolonisation in Africa, 1957-65

Carl Peter Watts estimates the importance of the different reasons for British withdrawal.

President Julius Nyerere's portrait on the Tanzanian 1000 shilling noteUnlike other empires in history – such as the Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, or Habsburg – the collapse of the British Empire was remarkably rapid. This was especially true of the British Empire in Africa, which was largely dismantled in the years 1957-1965. Historians continue to disagree on the importance of metropolitan, colonial and international causes of this withdrawal. This article will argue that colonial nationalism and an increasingly hostile international environment contributed to the timing of independence in British Africa, but these influences must also be understood against a background of changing metropolitan circumstances and the deliberate calculations of British policy-makers. This causal interlock will be demonstrated in relation to several episodes of decolonisation between 1957 and 1965, including the Gold Coast in West Africa, the East African territories of Tanganyika, Uganda, and Kenya, and the collapse of the Central African Federation.

To continue reading this article you will need to purchase access to the online archive.

Buy Online Access  Buy Print & Archive Subscription

If you have already purchased access, or are a print & archive subscriber, please ensure you are logged in.

Please email digital@historytoday.com if you have any problems.

 

X

Get Miscellanies, our free weekly long read, in your inbox every week