, Volume 56, Issue 3, pp 213–224 | Cite as

Decolonisation without independence

  • A.J. Christopher


The massive decolonisation of the post World War II era resulted in a new political map of the world. The great majority of the new independent states were essentially coincident with the former administrative colonies. However, in a quarter of cases the ending of colonial status did not result in the emergence of a sovereign state. The colonial powers sought to reduce the number of small and potentially weak states by various mechanisms. Thus colonial mergers took place between administrative units within the same empire, and only occasionally between units in different empires. Some dependencies were absorbed by more powerful neighbours and others incorporated into the political structure of the metropolitan power. Prior to 1960, in terms of population and size, the colonies which failed to achieve statehood at independence were substantially smaller than those which did. Thereafter there was little to distinguish them. The legacy of the merged colonies has ranged from successful secessionist movements to integrated states.

colonies decolonisation independence micro-states states 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • A.J. Christopher
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of Port ElizabethPort ElizabethSouth Africa

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