Category Story of Nations

Does Nigeria have a history of military dictatorships?

           Nigeria has been home to a number of ancient and indigenous kingdoms and states over the millennia. However, the modern state of Nigeria largely dates back to the British colonial rule that started in the 19th century; its present territory took shape with the merging of the Southern Nigeria Protectorate and Northern Nigeria in 1914.

          Nigeria became independent in 1960 and in 1963; the country adopted a republican constitution. The country also underwent military dictatorships; Nigerians witnessed bloodshed and violence by various groups. This continued until 1999; that was when a stable democracy came to power.   

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Why did the French launch Operation Serval?

          The mystical place Timbuktu is very famous. The famous trading region is situated in modern day Mali. Mali was once part of the three great pre-colonial Sudanic empires: Ghana, Mali, and Songhai.

          France seized control of Mali in the late 19th century and made it a part of French Sudan. In 1959, French Sudan joined with Senegal and became known as the Mali Federation, though later Senegal withdrew from the federation.

          An armed conflict broke out in northern Mali in 2012; Tuareg rebels took control of a territory called Azawad. The issue was worsened by the involvement of the military. The French military launched Operation Serval in this context.

          Within a month after its launch in January 2013, Malian and French forces recaptured most of the north.

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How did Botswana get its name?

           Botswana is named after its dominant ethnic group, the Tswana. Botswana is Africa’s oldest and longest continuous multi-party democracy.

          The country held its first general elections based on the 1965 constitution that granted universal suffrage and it gained independence on 30 September 1966. Till then, Botswana was a British protectorate known as Bechuanaland.

         Seretse Khama, a leader in the independence movement became the first President following the elections. He was re-elected twice. The eleventh election was the most recent which was held on 24 October 2014. Though one of the poorest and least developed countries, Botswana was largely stable.

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Is Morocco the only monarchy in North Africa?

          Africa is the homeland of many empires and kingdoms who practised powerful monarchical rule. Today Morocco is the only monarchy in North Africa; it is a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament. It is also the fifth largest economy in Africa.

         King Idris founded the first Moroccan state in 788 AD. Since then, the country has been ruled by a series of independent dynasties. Morocco reached the heights of glory under the Almoravid and Almohad dynasties. The Alaouite dynasty came to power in 1631 and rules to this day.

          Morocco was under French protection from 1912 to 1956. Sultan Mohammed became the king during this period. In 1961, he was succeeded by his son, Hassan II. He ruled for 38 years and played a prominent role in the search for peace in the Middle East. Ironically, he also ruthlessly suppressed domestic opposition.

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Which was the first sub-Saharan country to break free from colonial rule?

           In 1957, Ghana gained independence from its British rulers and became the first country to break free from colonial rule. Its economy has flourished since then. Ghana has become a major African power due to its economic prosperity and democratic political system.

          The first permanent state in modern day Ghana started in the 11th century. A home to many powerful kingdoms and empires, Ghana enjoyed the perks of stability and peace. The Kingdom of Ashanti was the most powerful among Ghana’s rulers. Gold attracted settlers to Ghana, and many countries colonized this area for the same. It was also a hub of the Atlantic slave trade in which many like the Portuguese, Dutch, English and French participated. In the 1900s, Ghana came to be known as the British Gold Coast.

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What is the story of Libya?

          Before the 1920s, we did not have a country called Libya. In its place, there were three historical regions- Tripolitania, Cyrenaica and Fezzan which were ruled by the Ottomans. The Italians later colonized this region and unified them to form a single colony. Thus Libya was born.

         Libya got independence in 1951 under King Iris al-Sanusi. The king was overthrown in 1969 by a military coup and Colonel Gaddafi took charge of the country. He ruled for 42 long years till he was ousted by an armed rebellion in 2011. Gaddafi’s rule shattered the country and it has been divided into competing military and political factions since 2014.

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Why is it said that Egypt has a unique history?

           Egypt is a land of antiquity. The civilisations and rulers of Egypt were highly regarded around the world.

          The Nile river valley and delta were the home of the world’s earliest urban and literate societies. The Pharaohs ruled Egypt for almost three thousand years through a series of native dynasties. They also had brief periods of foreign rule in between.

         Europeans entered the scene in the later half of the 18th century. The British invaded and occupied Egypt in 1882, as they wanted control over the Suez Canal. The canal linked the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea and was an important part of sea routes. The country gained independence and took back the Canal in the 1950s.

         Hosni Mobarek was Egypt’s long-time president who was overthrown by a popular uprising in 2011. Though the country has had many democratic elections since then, the role of the military in the government remains strong.

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Who dominated Zimbabwe after its independence?

          Zimbabwe gained independence in 1980 and since then, veteran President Robert Mugabe dominated its political landscape for almost four decades.

          Mugabe is a controversial figure. He was praised for his role in the freedom of his country, but his government was accused of dictatorship and economic mismanagement. He was ousted by a coup in 2017 and Emerson Mnangagwa became the new president.

          The British ruled Zimbabwe for almost a hundred years before its independence. It started in the 1880s when Cecil Rhode established the British South Africa Company in Zimbabwe. According to archeological records, human settlements were present in Zimbabwe at least 100,000 years before British rule. The country was ruled by several kingdoms like the Kingdom of Mapungubwe and Kingdom of Mutapa.

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Is Mozambique a wealthy nation?

          Mozambique’s wealth lies in its natural resources. Unfortunately, it is still one of the poorest nations because of underdevelopment.

         Long ago, Mozambique was a Portuguese colony. For five hundred years, Portugal got minerals and agricultural products from the country. After years of exploitation, a guerrilla army called Frelimo fought for independence following which Mozambique was declared as a free country in 1975.

         After independence, Mozambique was torn apart by internal conflicts. Violence, disunity and natural calamities like drought weakened its economy.

         The conflict formally ended in 1992 and it has remained a fairly stable presidential republic after its first multiparty election.

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Why is Ethiopia special?

         Ethiopia was never colonized by anyone. In fact, it is the only African country which was never colonized. Italy occupied it twice, but they couldn’t establish themselves as rulers.

         Ethiopia is the most populous landlocked country and the second most populated nation in Africa. It is one of the world’s oldest countries.

         Legends say that Manelik, the son of King Solomon ruled this place. Different emperors rued the country since then, even when the rest of Africa was controlled by other countries, the last emperor being Haile Selassie. He was overthrown in 1974 by a Soviet-backed military government.

         The 70s was a turbulent time for Ethiopia. The government was corrupt, living conditions miserable and strikes and mutinies regular.

         This was worsened by a severe drought and the inflow of refugees from Sudan. All these slowed down its economy.

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