French Colonies in Sub-Saharan Africa, 1945-1963

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By the close of the Second World War, the colonized peoples of French West Africa were making their dissatisfaction with the colonial system heard. West Africans had participated in both World Wars to varying degrees and their experiences in them, along with a growing opposition to direct rule and its exploitative nature, resulted in a movement that would ultimately lead to independence for the territories. The new nations of West Africa were born in 1960 included Senegal, Mali Federation, Côte d'Ivoire, Niger, Upper Volta, and Dahomey.

French Equatorial Africa was a former federation of four French territories in west central Africa--Gabon, Middle Congo, and Ubangi-Shari-Chad. Chad was separated from Ubangi-Shari in 1920 to form a fourth colony. The federation ended in 1959 after the territories had chosen, in 1958, to become self-governing republics of the French Community. The colonies attained their independence in 1960.

These files are the definitive source of American diplomatic reporting on political, military, social, and economic developments in French Africa, and contain various materials from U.S. diplomats, including: special reports on political and military affairs; studies and statistics on socioeconomic matters; interviews and minutes of meetings with foreign government officials; full texts of letters, instructions, and cables sent and received; reports and translations from foreign newspapers; and high-level foreign government documents.

Features and Benefits

  • This collection consists of several thousand of pages arranged topically and chronologically on crucial subjects, such as: political parties and elections, unrest and revolution, human rights, government, fiscal and monetary issues, labor, housing, police and crime, public health, wars and alliances, education, religion, culture, trade, industry, and natural resources.
  • On these subjects and many more, the Central Classified Files offer authoritative, in-depth, and timely documentation and analysis that cannot be matched.