A fragmented and forgotten decolonisation
The end of European empires in the Sahara and their legacy
in Francophone Africa at fifty
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This chapter reviews the historiographical imbalance and to offer an alternative interpretation of the end of Empire in the Sahara. It discusses the role and impact of post-colonial African states on ethnic groups which straddle several countries born as a result of the end of empire, a situation not uncommon in many regions of the continent. The chapter focuses on the case study of the Saharan region; it raises questions that could be usefully extended to other regions of Africa where decolonisation did not prove to be a factor of stability or emancipation of minorities. In a striking irony, the fragmentation of the Sahara has led to the formulation of demands which, if successful, would lead to a further partition of the region, given that a unification of all Saharan regions has become a clearly unattainable goal.

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