The Two Countries In Africa Which Are Considered To Never Have Been Colonized

There are two countries in Africa which are considered to never have been colonized. The truth, however, is much more complex and open to debate.


Liberia was a colony for just over 17 years before partial independence was achieved through the declaration of a commonwealth (4 April 1839). True independence was declared eight years later on 26 July 1847.

The American Society for Colonization of Free People of Color of the United States (known simply as the American Colonization Society, ACS) created the Cape Mesurado Colony on the Grain Coast on 15 December 1821. This was further expanded into the Colony of Liberia on 15 August 1824. The ACS was a society initially run by white Americans who believed there was no place for Free Blacks in the US. Its administration was later taken over by Free Blacks.

Liberia, where the American Colonization Society established the first settlement, Monrovia, in 1822 on land ‘granted’ by local rulers, becomes an independent republic with a constitution based on that of the US. Unfortunately the ex-slave colonists applied the US template too well, and set about enslaving Africans from the interior, and neighboring countries.


In the 1880s Italy failed to take Abyssinia (as Ethiopia was then known) as a colony. On 3 October 1935 Mussolini ordered a new invasion and on 9 May the following year Abyssinia was annexed by Italy. On 1 June the country was merged with Eritrea and Italian Somalia to form Africa Orientale Italiana (AOI – Italian East Africa).

Emperor Haile Selassie made an impassioned appeal to the League of Nations on 30 June 1936, gaining support from the US and Russia. But many League of Nations members, including Britain and France, recognized Italian colonization.

It was not until 5 May 1941, when Selassie was restored to the Ethiopian throne, that independence was regained.

Africa’s oldest independent country which, except for a four-year occupation by Mussolini’s Italy at the end of the 1930s, has never been colonised. Famous for the notable defeat of the invading Italian army at Adowa in 1896, Ethiopia inspired the rest of Africa in its path to independence.

Written by PH

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