Decolonization started from 1945 and is the disintegration of the old colonial empires and the independence of the colonies.


The main causes were:

  • Second World War. Colonies suffered the damages of the war as well as they collaborated with troops and resources for the metropolis. They realized how important they were so they claimed to have better status.

  • The nationalist movements and Marxist ideas spread through colonies which defended their right to self-govern.

  • The emergence of charismatic leaders who had studied abroad. After receiving their degrees, they returned to their countries creating political parties like those in their metropole. These political parties lead the independence process. This was the case of Mahatma Gandhi in India, Ho Chi Minh in Indochina, Sukarno in Indonesia and Lumumba in Congo. 

  • International support from intellectuals, Christian churches and NGOs as well as the United Nations favored the right to self-determination. United States and USSR used these ideas to spread their areas of influence once the colonies became independent.


The process could be divided into 3 stages:

  • The first stage took place in Asia from 1945 to 1955 when the Bandung conference took place. British, Dutch and French colonies in Asia and the Middle East became independent.

Resultado de imagen de decolonization

  • The Second stage began in 1956 to 1975 and it affected North African Countries and Sub-Saharan Africa.

  • The last stage started in 1975 and onwards. It took place in the Arabian Peninsula, the islands in the West Indies as well as archipelagos in Oceania.

In many cases the process was peaceful mainly in the British colonies which associated later with the metropolis forming the British Commonwealth of Nations. Angola, Algeria or Mozambique had colonial wars to gain their independence. Other countries had a mixed independence process combining negotiations and war like in India.

DecolonizationofAfricaReadingComprehensionWorksheetMapAnalysis (1)

CWW2 – Decolonization with Cuba

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