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Francophone Africa at fifty$
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Tony Chafer and Alexander Keese

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780719089305

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719089305.001.0001

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A fragmented and forgotten decolonisation: the end of European empires in the Sahara and their legacy

A fragmented and forgotten decolonisation: the end of European empires in the Sahara and their legacy

Chapter:
(p.204) 13 A fragmented and forgotten decolonisation: the end of European empires in the Sahara and their legacy
Source:
Francophone Africa at fifty
Author(s):

Berny Sèbe

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719089305.003.0014

As postcolonial historical processes in the Sahara have tended to be absorbed more or less artificially in the national narratives to which they came to belong (with or without the consent of the populations in question), decolonization processes at work in the Sahara and their consequences have long remained neglected territory. Berny Sèbe closes this gap by looking at the fragmented and forgotten decolonization of the Sahara as a whole. This author discusses the genesis and consequences of the division of the region between more than ten new independent countries, inverting the traditional frameworks through which decolonization is interpreted and considering alternative paths. Favouring a geographical and socio-economic perspective over the typical concentration on geopolitical outcomes, Sèbe analyses the reasons for the failure of several projects of unification, from the French-led OCRS to Colonel Kaddafi’s goal of a United States of the Sahara. The author considers the extent to which the multiple conflicts the Sahara has witnessed since the 1960s can be understood as a legacy of colonial times that post-colonial governments have been unable to address satisfactorily.

Keywords:   Postcolonial, decolonization, Sahara, geographical, socio-economic, unification

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