Belgian troops in the Congo, probably 1916. CC Wikipedia.

Few historians mention that both the first and last campaigns of World War One took place, not in Europe but in Africa. In 1914, all of sub-Saharan Africa, except Ethiopia and Liberia, was in the hands of European powers. Colonial subjects contributed people, money and resources to their imperial rulers to wage war not only in Africa but also in Europe. In both its costs and its consequences, WW1 had a major social, economic and political impact on Africa. Besides the huge human cost, the social fabric of many communities was shattered and economies wrecked. Politically, no African country gained ‘self-determination’ but rather remained pawns in the European ‘Scramble for Africa.’

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