The first African territories to be colonized by European countries

The European countries colonized almost all the countries in Africa. We listed, according to the current date, the first territories colonized in Africa. Below is the overviews of the first 20 territories to be colonized in Africa

The colonization of Africa was among the process of a global European movement that affected every continent in the world. Some people believed that European colonialism and domination radically changed the world.

Some Historians claim that the hasty imperial conquest of the African continent by the European power-empires began with King Leopold II of Belgium. The king engaged the European power to gain recognition in Belgium. He brutally exploited the population and resources of Congo.

Colonization of Africa

The reasons for African colonization were mainly economic, political, and religious. In the time of the conquest, Europe experienced an economic depression, and powerful countries such as Germany, France, and Great Britain lost money.

Africa seemed to be out of danger and had an abundance of resources from which Europe could earn money. Because of cheap labor from Africans, Europeans could easily buy products such as oil, ivory, rubber, palm oil, wood, cotton, and chewing gum. These products became more critical with the rise of the Industrial Revolution.

The colonization of Africa was also the result of European rivalry, where Britain and France had conflicted with the Hundred Years’ War.

The below list of the dates on which African regions became colonies or protectorates of European countries and lost their independence. It is only about modern times, so the expansion of the ancient Greeks, the Roman Empire, and the barbarian tribes to Africa is ignored.

List of first territories colonized in Africa

1. Zanzibar – by Portugal in 1503

The European influence began by the visitation of Vasco da Gama in 1498. In 1503 Portuguese Empire took Zanzibar’s territory after Captain Ruy Lourenço Ravasco Marques received tribute from the sultan.

When he landed, Captain Ruy demanded – in exchange for peace with Sultan – take the possession, and it became Portugal colony for almost two centuries. It was the first part of the Portuguese province of Arabia and Ethiopia and was governed by a governor-general.

2. Algeria – by France in 1830

According to historian Ben Kiernan, who writes about the French conquest of Algeria: ‘In 1875, the French conquest was complete. The war had killed about 825,000 native Algerians since 1830’ and French losses from 1831 to 1851 in the combat.

The piracy and slave trade in Algeria ceased after the French conquest. The colonization of Algeria took time and resulted in considerable bloodshed. A combination of violence and epidemics led to a decrease of almost one-third of the indigenous Algerian population between 1830 and 1872, during that time, a small but influential indigenous French-speaking elite was formed, composed of Berbers, mainly Kabyle.

3. Comoros – by France in 1841

The third territory is Comoros, officially The Union of Comoros. It is an island country in the Indian Ocean located at the end of northern Mozambique, east coast of Africa between northeastern Mozambique

It was estimated in 1865 that up to 40% of the population of Comoros was made up of slaves. France established colonial rule in Comoros in 1841. The first French settlers landed in Mayotte and Andriantsoly. They signed a Treaty on April 1841, which ceded the island to the French authorities.

4. Rwanda – by Germany in 1884

Germany first colonized Rwanda’s territory in 1884. The region became part of German East Africa, followed by Belgium, which invaded during World War I in 1916.

Both European nations – German and Belgium – were ruled through the nomination of the kings and perpetuated a pro-Tutsi policy.

5. Basutoland – by the United Kingdom in 1868

Basutoland was a British colony founded in 1884 due to the Cape colony’s inability to control the area. The municipality consists of seven districts: Berea, Leribe, Maseru, Mohale’s Hoek, Mafeteng, Qacha’s Nek, and Quthing.

The colony was brought under the direct authority of Queen Victoria, through the High Commissioner, and headed by an Executive Council chaired by a series of British Commissioners. On 4 October 1966, Basutoland has renamed the Kingdom of Lesotho.

6. Fante Confederacy – by the United Kingdom in 1874

The Fante Confederacy can be referred to as loose Alliance of the Fante States that has existed at least since the 16th century. The short-lived Confederacy was founded in 1868 and dissolved in 1874 and seen as one of the first self-governing movements in Africa.

De Fante has long been in the region both inland and on the coast of what is now Ghana. It began expanding in the 16th century along the coast to defend themselves against foreign invaders. The creation of the region was a proclamation of the various small independent kingdoms that formed the Fante tribes.

7. Zululand – by the United Kingdom in 1879

The Zulu Kingdom was a monarchy in Southern Africa, stretching along the coast of the Indian Ocean from the Tugela River in the south to the north part of Pongola. The Zulu Kingdom has grown and dominated much of what is today known as KwaZulu-Natal and Southern Africa.

In 1879 the British Empire invaded, and the Anglo-Zulu War began. Zulu won the victory at the Battle of Isandlwana in January, but the British army regrouped and defeated the kingdom in the Battle of Ulundi. The area was incorporated into the Natal colony and later became part of the Union of South Africa.

8. Egypt – by the United Kingdom in 1882

As from 16th and early 20th century, Egypt territory was governed by foreign imperial powers, which include the British Empire and the Ottoman Empire. Modern Egypt dates back to 1922 when it became officially independent of the British Empire as a monarchy.

Egyptian territories remained semi-autonomous within the Mamluks until Napoleon Bonaparte’s French troops invaded it in 1798. When the British defeated French, a power vacuum was created in Egypt, and a three-way power struggle arose between the Ottoman Turks, Egyptian Mamluks who had ruled Egypt for centuries.

Local dissatisfaction with the Khedive and European interference led to the formation of the first nationalist groups in 1879, with Ahmad Urabi a prominent figure. After increasing tensions and nationalist uprisings, the United Kingdom invaded Egypt in 1882, crushing the Egyptian army in the battle of Tel el Kebir and took over the territories.

9. Merina – by France in 1885

The people of Merina are mostly found in the center of the island – former province of Antananarivo. From the end of the 18th century, Merina sovereigns extended the administrative region under their control from their capital, to the island, with their king Radama I. He eventually helped to unify the island under his rule.

French invade the people of Merina and fought two wars with them: in 1883-1885 and colonized the territory of Madagascar in 1895-96 and abolished the Merina monarchy in 1897.

10. Bechuanaland – by the United Kingdom in 1885

The Bechuanaland Protectorate was founded on 31 March 1885 by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The Republic of Botswana was founded on 30 September 1966.

11. Ijebu – by the United Kingdom in 1892

Ijebu was the Yoruba Kingdom in pre-colonial Nigeria. It was formed around the fifteenth century. According to legend, the ruling dynasty was established by Oba of Ile-Ife.

In response to trade barriers of 1892, the British attacked Ijebu territory. The British defeated the small kingdom and occupied the capital, and burning the Osugbo’s meeting room. According to the adventurer Frederick Lugard, the British army used Maxim weapons.

Many years, the capital was occupied by British troops when the kingdom was annexed to the colony of Southern Nigeria. Today it is one of the traditional states of Nigeria.

12. Oubangui-Chari – by France in 1894

Oubangui-Chari was a colony of French in Central Africa. It is named after the Ubangi and the Chari along which it was colonized. It was established on 29 December 1903, from the Upper Oubangui and the Upper Chari territories of French Congo; renamed Central African Republic (CAR) on 1 December 1958; and gained independence on 13 August 1960.

13. Dahomey – by France in 1894

The Dahomey Kingdom was an African kingdom that existed from 1600 to 1904, when Béhanzin, the last king, was defeated by the French troops. The territory was annexed to the French colonial empire.

Dahomey was formed at the beginning of the 17th century on the Abomey Plateau under the Fon population and became a regional power in the 18th century by conquering essential cities on the Atlantic coast.

14. Bunyoro – by the United Kingdom in 1897

The Kingdom of Bunyoro is located in the western part of present-day Uganda. The then Bunyoro was among the most powerful kingdoms in the east and central Africa between the 13th to the 19th century. The king of Bunyoro-Kitara ruled the territory. The capital was moved out of Masindi to another less trouble area: Amparo.

The relocation of the capital was result of armed struggle initiated between the people of the Baganda and Banyoro due to the unstable nature of the ivory trade. After the death of Omakuma Kyebambe III, the region experienced a period of political instability in which two kings ruled in a volatile political environment.

An agreement was signed whereby the entire territories of the north of Lake Victoria was given to Great Britain, in July 1890. In 1894, Great Britain declared the region a protectorate.

15. The Kingdom of Benin – by the United Kingdom 1897

The first 15th territory to be colonized in Africa was the Benin kingdom, also known as the Kingdom of Benin. The region was a pre-colonial kingdom located in the southern part of Nigeria.

The Benin Kingdom is different from Benin and not to be confused with the Republic of Benin, the post-colonial nation-state. The Benin kingdom is not the capital was Edo state, and is now called the Benin City of Edo, Nigeria. This kingdom was among the oldest and most developed regions in the coastal hinterland of West Africa. Benin was established during the 11th century CE until the British Empire annexed it in 1897.

16. Burundi – by Germany in 1899

Burundi, officially now the Republic of Burundi, is a country in the Great Slenk, where the African Great Lakes region and East Africa meet. It borders Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and southeast, and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west.

German colonized the territory, which includes the people of Twa, Hutu, and Tutsi and lived together for over 500 years. Burundi was an independent kingdom for 200 years within the 500 years they live as on territory.

 After the defeat of Germany in the First World War, the territory was transferred to Belgium. Both Belgians and Germans ruled the then – Rwanda-Urundi – Burundi and Rwanda as a European colony. Despite general misconceptions, Burundi and Rwanda had never been under common rule until the time of European colonization.

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