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Political History of Guinea since World War Two


Mohamed Saliou Camara

Political History of Guinea since World War Two provides an in-depth study of the political evolution of Guinea from World War Two to the present. Based on primary-source information, it examines with rare depth and breadth the eventful history of this nation-state, whose trajectory has impacted in no small ways Francophone Africa and the rest of the continent. Interviews with some of the most knowledgeable and most credible actors and/or witnesses of Guinea’s political history and archival research, including the papers of key individuals never opened to the public before, constitute the foundation of this work. The author’s personal and professional experience further strengthens the work. As a native Guinean, a historian, and a journalist imbued with the political ideology of the PDG regime, the author was also a close and alert witness of the political transformation of this country. Hence, the book offers an incisive analysis of domestic politics and policy making under the five successive regimes that have governed Guinea since independence in 1958. It also offers an equally incisive analysis of the country’s foreign relations within international frameworks such as the Organization of African Unity, the United Nations, the Nonalignment Movement, the Economic Community of West African States, the Mano River Union, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and so on. This ground-breaking work is perfectly suited for courses in areas such as history, political science, African studies, decolonization studies, Third World studies, and nationalism studies.
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Part I. The Multi-Stratum Context of Decolonization


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The Multi-Stratum Context of Decolonization

At the end of World War II, Africa, the world’s second largest continent, counted only four sovereign nation-states: Ethiopia, Liberia, South Africa and Egypt. Though invaded and occupied from 1936 to 1941 by Mussolini’s forces chiefly bent on securing Italy’s colonial presence in Eritrea, the federal empire of Ethiopia was never the colonial possession of any foreign power. Likewise, the present-day Republic of Liberia was never formally occupied by a foreign power, although in 1847 a group numbering about 3,000 freed slaves, free-born blacks and mulattoes from North America proclaimed an independent nation-state named Liberia, incorporating the much larger native communities of that West African coastal area.

Regardless of the attachment of the territory’s “Americano-Liberian” elite to the United States of America and the latter’s occasional self-serving patrimonial mentorship to that elite, Liberia is not, like the Philippines, a former American colony, nor has it ever been, like Puerto Rico, Guam or the U.S. Virgin Island, a territory of the United States of America. On the contrary, the initiative to create this outpost in 1822 was chiefly based on the urge to solve the “Negro problem” in America, as many saw it in the United States. Therefore, what became Liberia has never been to America what Algeria was to France or the Rhodesias to Britain, that is, settlement colonies for metropolitan citizens.

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