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).
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.
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
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.
Find out more about the history of Egypt.
See also Colonization and Independence of Egypt
Image: Where in Africa is Egypt © Alistair Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc.
New Resources for Libya
The Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Libya's official name, achieved independence from Italy on 24 December 1951, although it had been held under British (for Tripolitania and Cyrenaica) and French (Fezzan) administration since 1943. Initially ruled as a monarchy under King Idris, the country became a republic when Gadaffi took power in 1969.
Find out more in the last four parts of a timeline of Libya, taking us from Independence on 24 December 1951 to the present day.
Timeline of Libya
• Part 1: From Pre-history to the Declaration of an Ibad State (782)
• Part 2: From the Declaration of an Ibad State (758 CE) to the Tripolitan War of 1801-05
• Part 3: From the Tripolitan War of 1801-05 to the Beginning of World War II in North Africa (13 September 1940)
• Part 4: From Beginning of World War II in North Africa (13 September 1940) Independence as a Constitutional Monarchy (24 December 1951)
• Part 5: From Independence as a Constitutional Monarchy (24 December 1951) to Name Change to 'Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriyah' (2 March 1977)
• Part 6: From Name Change to 'Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriyah' (2 March 1977) to Libya and Chad agree to a OAU brokered cease-fire (11 September 1987)
• Part 7: From Libya and Chad agree to a OAU brokered cease-fire (11 September 1987) to Mohamed al-Megrahi is convicted of Lockerbie bombing (31 January 2001)
• Part 8: From Mohamed al-Megrahi is convicted of Lockerbie bombing (31 January 2001) to Present Day
Dr Jonas Malheiro Savimbi had survived several assassination attempts, but on 22 February 2002 he was caught in machine-gun fire and suffered at least 15 bullet wounds to his entire body. They were fatal. The battle between his União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola (UNITA - National Union for the Total Independence of Angola) forces and Angolan government troops (supported by mercenaries form South Africa and Israeli special forces advisors) took place in Moxico, the province of his birth.
International groups refused to believe reports of his death until photographs were aired on Angolan state television. Savimbi's named successor, Antonio Demba, was also wounded in the firefight, and died three days later. Six weeks after Savimbi's death, UNITA and the Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA - Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola) signed a ceasefire.
"Our struggle has reached a decisive moment. Our march to freedom is irreversible ... Now is the time to intensify the struggle on all fronts. To relax now would be a mistake which future generations would not forgive."