British Colonies in Africa and their Dates of Independence

The British colonies in Africa were a group of territories in Africa that were under the control of the British Empire. These colonies were established during the 19th and early 20th centuries, as the British sought to expand their global empire and exploit the resources of Africa. The British colonies in Africa included countries such as Egypt, Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Malawi, and Nigeria, among others.

Throughout the 20th century, these colonies underwent a process of decolonization, as they sought to gain independence from British rule. This process was marked by various independence movements and struggles, as well as negotiations between the British government and the leaders of these movements. In the end, many of the British colonies in Africa were successful in achieving independence, and they became sovereign nations in their own right.

The years of independence for the British colonies in Africa varied, with some countries gaining independence in the 1950s and others not achieving independence until the 1980s. However, the majority of the British colonies in Africa gained independence in the 1960s, as the tide of decolonization swept across the continent. Today, the countries that were once British colonies in Africa are diverse and thriving, with their own unique histories and cultures.

List of African Countries Colonized by Britain

Country Independence
Ghana 1957
Sierra Leone 1961
Nigeria 1960
The Gambia 1965
Kenya 1963
Uganda 1962
Tanzania (United Kingdom and Germany) 1961
Zambia 1964
Malawi 1964
Zimbabwe 1980
Sudan 1956
Somalia 1960
Mauritius 1968
Seychelles 1976
Botswana 1966
Lesotho 1966
Swaziland 1968
Egypt 1922

1. Ghana (1957)

Ghana is located on the west coast of Africa and is known for its rich natural resources, including gold, cocoa, and timber. After the arrival of European colonial powers, Ghana became an important trading center and was eventually colonized by the British in the late 19th century. The struggle for independence in Ghana was led by Kwame Nkrumah, who became the country’s first President after independence on March 6 1957.

2. Sierra Leone (1961)

Sierra Leone was a British colony until it gained independence on 27th of April 1961. The country is located on the west coast of Africa and is known for its rich natural resources, including diamonds, gold, and iron ore. The Sierra Leone Company, a British trading company, established a settlement in Sierra Leone in the late 18th century, and the area eventually became a British colony in the 19th century. The struggle for independence in Sierra Leone was led by various political parties and activists, and the country became an independent sovereign nation in 1961.

3. Nigeria (1960)

Nigeria was a British colony until it gained independence on the 1st of October 1960. The country is located on the west coast of Africa and is the most populous country on the continent. The area which was colonized by the British in the late 19th century became an independent sovereign nation in 1960 and has since become a major player in African politics and economics.

4. The Gambia (1965)

The Gambia is located on the west coast of Africa and is known for its rich cultural heritage and natural beauty. The country has a long and complex history, and has been inhabited by various ethnic groups for thousands of years. The area was colonized by the British in the late 19th century, and the struggle for independence in The Gambia was led by various political parties and activists. The country became an independent sovereign nation on February 18, 1965 and has since become a major player in African politics and economics.

5. Kenya (1963)

Kenya was a British colony until it gained independence on the 12th of December 1963. It is located in east Africa and is known for its rich natural resources and diverse landscape, including savannas, mountains, and forests.

6. Uganda (1962)

Uganda is located in east Africa and is known for its rich natural resources, including oil, gold, and coffee. From 1894, the area was ruled as a protectorate by the United Kingdom, which established administrative law across the territory. Uganda gained independence from the UK on 9 October 1962. The period since then has been marked by violent conflicts, including an eight-year-long military dictatorship led by Idi Amin.

7. Tanzania (1961)

Tanganyika and Zanzibar was a British and German colony until it gained independence from Britain in 1961 and 1963 respectively.

On 9 December 1961, Tanganyika became independent, though retaining the British monarch as Queen of Tanganyika, while Zanzibar received its independence from the United Kingdom on 10 December 1963, as a constitutional monarchy under its Sultan.

On 26 April 1964, Tanganyika united with Zanzibar to form the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar. The country was renamed the United Republic of Tanzania on 29 October of that year.

8. Zambia (1964)

Zambia is a landlocked country at the crossroads of Central, Southern and East Africa. The area was colonized by the British in the late 19th century. The country became an independent sovereign nation 24 October 1964 and has since become a major player in African politics and economics.

9. Malawi (1964)

In colonial times, the territory was ruled by the British, under whose control it was known first as British Central Africa and later Nyasaland. The country achieved full independence, as Malawi, in 1964. After independence, Malawi was ruled as a one-party state under Hastings Banda until 1994.

10. Zimbabwe (1980)

Zimbabwe is located in southern Africa and is known for its rich natural resources, including gold, diamonds, and tobacco. Known formerly as Rhodesia, the southern African country gained independence as Zimbabwe on April 18, 1980 from Britain.

11. Sudan (1956)

Sudan was a British colony until it gained independence on January 1 1956. It is located in north Africa and is known for its rich natural resources, including oil, gold, and copper. The country has a long and complex history, and has been inhabited by various ethnic groups for thousands of years. The area was colonized by the British in the late 19th century, and the struggle for independence in Sudan was led by various political parties and activists. The country became an independent sovereign nation in 1956 and has since become a major player in African politics and economics.

12. Somalia (1960)

Somalia was a British colony until it gained independence on July 1 1960. The date celebrates the unification of the Trust Territory of Italian Somaliland and the British Somaliland which formed the Somali Republic.

13. Mauritius (1968)

Mauritius was a British colony until it gained independence on March 12, 1968. It is located in the Indian Ocean and is known for its rich natural resources, including sugarcane, fish, and minerals. The area was colonized by the Dutch, French, and British in the late 19th century, and the struggle for independence in Mauritius was led by various political parties and activists. The country became an independent sovereign nation in 1968 and has since become a major player in African politics and economics.

14. Seychelles (1976)

Seychelles is located in the Indian Ocean and is known for its rich natural resources, including fish, coconuts, and timber. The country gained independence from the British on June 29 1976 and has now evolved into a presidential republic. Seychelles’ economy heavily depends on tourism and the fishing/tuna exportation, and boasts the highest nominal per capita GDP in Africa. It is one of only a handful of countries in Africa with a high Human Development Index.

15. Botswana (1966)

Botswana is a landlocked country located in southern Africa. It gained independence from Britain on September 30, 1966 after being a protectorate since 1885. The country has a stable democratic government and has achieved strong economic growth, particularly in the areas of diamonds and tourism.

16. Egypt (1922)

Egypt is a country in North Africa with a long and rich history. It gained independence from Britain 28th February 1922, although British influence persisted in the country until the mid-1950s. Egypt is home to many ancient landmarks and is a major cultural and economic hub in the Middle East and North Africa region.

17. Lesotho (1966)

Lesotho is a small, landlocked country located within South Africa. It gained independence from Britain on October 4, 1966 and has a parliamentary democracy. The country is known for its mountainous terrain and is home to the highest low point of any country in the world, at 1,400 meters above sea level.

18. Swaziland (1968)

Swaziland is a small, landlocked country located in southern Africa. It gained independence from Britain on September 6th 1968 and is a monarchy, with the current king being the country’s head of state. Swaziland is known for its cultural traditions and natural beauty, including the Hlane Royal National Park, which is home to a variety of wildlife.


It is worth noting that many of these countries gained independence after a long and often violent struggle against British colonial rule. The process of decolonization in Africa was complex and varied from country to country, but ultimately it led to the creation of independent sovereign nations that were able to determine their own political and economic systems. The process of decolonization also involved the transfer of power from colonial administrators to local leaders, which often led to conflicts and struggles over the distribution of resources and political power. Despite these challenges, many of the countries that gained independence in Africa have made significant progress in the years since, and continue to work towards building strong and prosperous societies.

Talk Africana
Talk Africana
Fascinating Cultures and history of peoples of African origin in both Africa and the African diaspora

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