I have been reading The Scramble for Africa: White Man's Conquest of the Dark Continent from 1876 to 1912 by Thomas Pakenham. (See my previous post.) I am struck by how recent it was that the imperial powers divided Africa among themselves -- basically a 40 year period (ending with the transfer of the German colonies to the victors of World War I). The following maps show a great deal about the process in which the imperial powers moved out from their footholds on the coast of Sub-Saharan Africa to control the interior, and as the European imperial powers took over control of North Africa from the dying Ottoman Empire.
Africa Before the Scramble, 1876
Modern Political Map of Africa
|Source: The Long-Run Effects of the Scramble for Africa|
Since the European imperial powers didn't consider the tribal origins of the people living in the areas that they grabbed in the scramble for Africa, today many ethnic homelands are divided by national borders left over from the days of imperial colonization.