Although some parts of West Africa were subject to colonial rule before 1884, it was at the Berlin Conference of 1884–85 that Britain, France, Germany and Portugal divided West Africa among themselves. The only territory to remain independent was Liberia, which had been established by the American Colonization Society and declared its independence in 1847. This map shows the areas ruled by Britain, France and Portugal after Germany had lost its colonies in the First World War.
- Article by:
- Professor Stephanie Newell, Dr Marion Wallace
West Africans made powerful use of writing and publishing to oppose colonialism and fight for independence. Since then, authors have not been reluctant to comment on the state of their nations and the world. Stephanie Newell (Yale University) and Marion Wallace (British Library) reflect on these developments.