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To What Extent Were Colonial Pressures Primarily Responsible for British Withdrawal from West Africa in the Years (1957-65)?

  • Date Submitted: 04/15/2014 03:51 PM
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To what extent were colonial pressures primarily responsible for British withdrawal from West Africa in the years (1957-65)?
Colonial pressure was a significant reason accounting for British withdrawal but other factors including a domestic attitudinal and cold war dynamics also played a role; however economic considerations were the likely primary cause for British withdrawal from West Africa. If anything, it was the Suez Canal crisis of 1956 which acted as a catalyst for the whole process.
The apparent increase in nationalism in West Africa became more and more of an issue during the Gold coast riots of 1948 in Accra. This was a clear and obvious sign that the Africans were seeking independence and weren’t content with the British being in what they now referred to as “their” territory. Similar accounts of this type of colonial pressure on British rule in Africa can be observed in Nigeria, and more precisely, in a Nigerian newspaper called “the West African pilot”, which supported very nationalistic views, spoke on behalf of the people and carried out surveys asking people if they would prefer it if Nigeria was independent. This meant that the British were being confronted with cold, hard facts, which simply, couldn’t be ignored. In Nigeria, it was clear that colonial pressures were very significant, this was due to numerous accounts of public outcry for independence and criticism to British rule as a whole. This was especially true for the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (or NCNC), a nationalist party founded in 1944 by Herbert Macaulay which heavily opposed British rule in Nigeria and Cameroon. Following the Gold Coast riots of 1948, a new party was created by Kwame Nkrumah in 1949 to campaign for the independence of the Gold Coast with the motto “self-government now!”. This was again, evidence that the British were becoming less and less welcome in the Gold Coast and, more generally, West Africa as a whole. Following a political trend on the...

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