In the late nineteenth century, Europe's great powers claimed the African continent for themselves. In the guise of a humanitarian mission, European leaders and businesses exploited African natural resources and people to fuel European economic growth. Africans did not submit to outside control willingly. In fact, African resistance continued throughout the colonial period, culminating in the independence movements of the mid-twentieth century.
Africa is a vast continent—more than three times the size of the United States—with more than 50 countries and thousands of ethnic groups and societies. African experiences of colonialism were diverse. Nevertheless, there are common themes within the continent's colonial history and its legacies. Colonization and Independence in Africa explores these themes generally, as well as specifically through four country case studies: Ghana, Algeria, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The readings and activities help students consider the perspectives of Africans and the ways in which they responded to European colonialism.