Monday March 10, 2014
The final death knell of the Bambara Empire sounded with the invasion of the city of Ségou by the forces of al-Hajj 'Umar on 10 March 1861. The process had been long winded - the collapse began in 1818 with an assault by the forces of the Fulani Muslim leader, Shehu Ahmadu Lobbo. Following the 1818 invasion Bambara Empire fractured, but it still managed to dominate the region for the next 40 years from its center at Kaarta.
The Tukulor Empire, created by Al-Hajj 'Umar eventually spanned from Senegal to Timbuktu. But came up against the colonial aspirations of France - by 1890 French troops had swept across the region and in 1893 was incorporated into the territory of French Sudan (Soudan).
Sunday March 9, 2014
Following the July Revolution in 1830, foreigners were no longer permitted to join the French Army. In 1831, in order to soak up troublemakers and foreign mercenaries who could otherwise cause disruption to the fragile French establishment King Louis Philippe formed the Légion Étrangère.
The new French Foreign Legion was based in Algeria, at Sidi Bel-Abbès, and the country remained its base for 130 years. Life for the Legionnaires was tough, with brutal conditions and the toughest of assignments. They were in the front line throughout the French colonial expansion, but were also involved in the Franco-Prussian War and the two World Wars. It is known today as one of the world's most elite military units.
Thursday March 6, 2014
War between the British and the Ashanti was brought to an end in 1874 when the defeated King, Asantehene, signed a treaty with the British. The Gold Coast colony was created, incorporating the Ahanti and a Protectorate in the north. Following the re-disposition of German colonies after World War I, British Togoland was joined as a fourth territorial element. Independence was achieved by Ghana on 6 March 1957, and the country named after an Islamic empire that existed a thousand years ago in the Sahel region south-west of the Sahara.
Since independence Ghana has seen multiple military coups and four attempts at a republic.
Image: ©2006 Alistair Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc
Friday February 28, 2014
From 1958 to 1975 this region was a Spanish Overseas Province. In 1975 an International Court of Justice granted self-determination to Western Sahara
. Spain responded by granting the region independence on 28 February 1976. Unfortunately this prompted Morocco's King Hassan to order 350,000 people on the Green March
, and the Saharan capital, Laayoune, was captured by Morocco's forces. Initially partitioned by Morocco and Mauritania, it came fully under Moroccan control in 1979. Morocco has yet to comply with UN demands for the territory's complete release.
Find out more about the history of Western Sahara
See also Colonization and Independence of Western Sahara
Image: Where in Africa is Western Sahara © Alistair Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc.