VII. The Contemporary Period, 1945–2000 > I. Africa, 1941–2000 > 2. Regions
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
(See 1941)
2. Regions
The following entries are organized by broad region until around 1960. After 1960, entries are organized country by country for each region.  1
a. West Africa
Toward the end of World War II, the Free French administration under Charles de Gaulle agreed to implement a series of major reforms in its West African colonies. These reforms, announced at the 1944 conference at Brazzaville, were largely designed to recognize African support for the Free French during World War II. The accords granted Africans representation in the French National Assembly and outlined a program of economic, social, and legal reforms. The French never intended the Brazzaville Accords to lead to colonial self-government; rather, the reforms were designed to strengthen the relationship between France and its West African colonies and to reward Africans for siding with the Free French.  2
The Richards Constitution for Nigeria led to the development of political parties. Named after the current governor, the new constitution brought northern Nigeria into the central government, extended Nigerian representation in the legislative and executive councils, and established three subregions with their own representative bodies. African nationalists criticized the constitution because it had been imposed without their consultation and provided for only indirect elections. New African political groups began to coalesce in the late 1940s, including the National Council of Nigeria and Cameroon, and the Northern People's Congress.  3
Election of African representation at the French constituent assembly resulted from the Brazzaville Accords. The most important political reform resulting from the Brazzaville conference was the agreement that the colonies should be represented in the constituent assembly charged with drawing up the constitution of the French Fourth Republic. The first constituent assembly was held in April 1946, but the liberal reforms it proposed for the colonies went down to defeat. The second constituent assembly framed a new French constitution and placed the colonies within the framework of a unitary republic. Africans participated in both constituent assemblies.  4
The enactment of the première loi Lamine Gueye, named after the first Senegalese deputy to the French National Assembly, offered French citizenship to all African subjects within the context of the Fourth Republic. In 1946, forced labor and the hated indigénat, a summary code of administrative justice exercised arbitrarily by colonial officials, were abolished.  5
New constitution for the Gold Coast, which became the first British colony to have an African majority in its legislature.  6
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.