Map Of Africa In 1939

Map Of Africa In 1939

Map Of Africa In 1939

Key Takeaways

  • The map of Africa in 1939 depicts the political boundaries and colonial possessions of various European powers.
  • This period marks a significant time in the history of Africa, as it was deeply impacted by both World War II and the decolonization movement.
  • The map showcases the diversity and complexity of Africa’s colonial past, with different regions under the control of various European nations.
  • Understanding the geopolitical landscape of Africa in 1939 helps in comprehending the historical context of the continent’s present-day challenges and relationships.


The map of Africa in 1939 represents a crucial period in the continent’s history. In this year, Europe was on the brink of entering World War II, and many African nations were under the control of European colonial powers.

During this time, Africa was primarily divided into colonies and territories controlled by France, Britain, Italy, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, and other European nations. These colonial powers exploited Africa’s resources and exerted their influence over various regions.

However, the outbreak of World War II brought significant changes to the African continent. Some African territories served as important strategic locations during the war, leading to military operations and shifting alliances. Additionally, the war prompted movements for independence and decolonization, as Africans became more determined to rid themselves of foreign domination.

Unique Insights

  • The map highlights the diverse colonial possessions in Africa, showcasing the extensive territorial reach of European powers.
  • Africa’s borders in 1939 were primarily drawn by colonial powers with little regard for indigenous ethnic or cultural boundaries, which continues to have implications on the continent today.
  • The presence of European powers led to the extraction of Africa’s resources and the imposition of their own political and economic systems, which shaped the continent’s subsequent development and challenges.
  • The strategic importance of certain African regions during World War II played a significant role in the outcome of the war and the subsequent global power dynamics.
  • The decolonization movements that gained momentum after World War II were influenced by the experiences and aspirations of Africans living under colonial rule in 1939.
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Table of Relevant Facts

Colonial Power Colonies and Territories Relevant Facts
France Algeria, French Equatorial Africa, French West Africa, French Somaliland, Madagascar, and more French colonies played significant roles in World War II and witnessed anti-colonial movements.
Britain South Africa, Northern Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, and more British colonies provided support to the Allied forces during the war and faced nationalist movements demanding self-rule.
Italy Italian East Africa (Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia), Italian Libya Italy’s East African colonies were invaded by British forces during the war and later turned into United Nations Trust Territories.
Belgium Belgian Congo, Ruanda-Urundi Belgian Congo became an important source of resources during World War II, and later became independent as the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Spain Spanish Morocco, Spanish Sahara The Spanish territories were under pressure due to international conflicts and eventually faced decolonization in subsequent years.
Portugal Angola, Mozambique, Portuguese Guinea, Portuguese East Africa Portuguese colonies experienced prolonged resistance movements and gained independence in the following decades.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. What were the major political powers in Africa in 1939?

    Major political powers in Africa in 1939 included France, Britain, Italy, Belgium, Spain, and Portugal, which held colonial possessions across the continent.

  2. How did World War II impact Africa?

    World War II resulted in military operations and shifting alliances in Africa. The war also intensified movements for independence and decolonization.

  3. What were the implications of the territorial divisions drawn by colonial powers?

    The territorial divisions in Africa were largely driven by the interests of colonial powers and often ignored local ethnic or cultural boundaries. This continues to have implications for African nations, as it sometimes leads to internal conflicts and challenges in governance.

  4. Which African regions were strategically important during World War II?

    Strategically important regions during World War II included North Africa, where battles between Allied and Axis forces took place, and areas with significant natural resources. For example, the Belgian Congo provided resources critical to the war effort.

  5. What role did decolonization play after World War II?

    After World War II, decolonization movements gained momentum as African nations became more determined to achieve independence. The experiences and aspirations of Africans living under colonial rule in 1939 influenced post-war liberation struggles.

  6. Which European power had the largest colonial presence in Africa in 1939?

    France had the largest colonial presence in Africa in 1939, with colonies spread across the continent.

  7. How did the map of Africa change after 1939?

    The map of Africa underwent significant changes after 1939 due to World War II and subsequent decolonization movements. Many African nations gained independence, leading to the establishment of new political boundaries.

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External Links

For further exploration, here are some external resources related to the map of Africa in 1939:

LSI Keywords

  • Map of Africa 1939
  • African colonial possessions
  • World War II impact on Africa
  • Decolonization in Africa
  • Geopolitical landscape of Africa
  • European powers in Africa
  • Political boundaries of Africa

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