Losing the Empire

Losing India

Indian independence started in 1885 when the National Congress was formed. Although Britain had made slight changes to the way that India was ruled, but they controlled education, taxation, and the army. In the 1920s, Gandhi led non-violent protests against the British Government and wanted complete independence. The Muslims in India were also calling for independence and their own country. After WW2, Britain was not strong enough to hold on to India and offered them independence in 1946. However violence broke out between the Hindus and Muslims, and the British leaders agreed on the partition of India and Pakistan, although peace between the two nations never existed.

Losing Africa

The Gold Coast, so called because of the riches that Britain gained from the West Coast of Africa started to call for independence in the 1920s. Some well educated West Africans created the National Congress and requested more control from the British which was rejected. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was the key leader in the fight for independence, and although he was imprisoned for many of his views, he was let out and allowed to become Prime Minister in 1951 when he won the election. When he was re-elected in 1956, the British saw it as their sign that they should leave and it became Ghana in 1957.

Losing Kenya

In Kenya, there was a general air of wanting independence from the 1940s. The Kenyan African Union and its leader Jomo Kenyatta campaigned for independence and for white owned land. In the 1950s, the British fought another group, called the ‘Mau Mau’ in the Mau Mau Rebellion which lasted over 8 years. At the end in 1963, the British were persuaded that reforms were necessary and Kenya gained its independence.

Suez Canal

The Suez Crisis in 1956 was when Egypt’s President Nasser took control of the Suez Canal which was owned by the French and British as their major trade route to the Middle East. They attempted peace talks but they failed, and British and French troops landed in the canal zone and Israel (France and Britain’s ally) attacked Egypt, but the invasion was condemned worldwide, particularly by the USA and the UN. This crisis showed Britain that they could no longer go to war over their own interests and realised that if they could grant independence, they could maintain good relationships.

Who was the leader of the Indian Independence movement?
Who was the leader of the West African Independence?
Kwame Nkrumah
Who was the leader of the Kenyan Independence?
Jomo Kenyatta