Which African countries were never colonized?

Get the top colonization of Africa facts and learn your history. Find out which countries were never colonized on the contitent.

There were only two African countries not overtaken and colonized by the Europeans during the second colonization era. Those were Liberia and Ethiopia. Find out more how these states managed to escape the imperial colonization and preserve their independence.

Which African countries were never colonized?

Colonization of Africa

colonization of AfricaThroughout the ages there have been many attempts to colonize this continent. However, the most overwhelming and successful one was taken at the end of the 19th century.

In 1880 only 10 % of African lands and African tribes were colonized. 30 years later in the beginning of the 20th century that ratio has changed to 90 % of the colonized and 10 percent of independent territories.

At this, colonizers did not worry about ethnical aspects or African culture. They have gone through a process called Scramble for Africa. Every European empire, including England, France, Spain, Portugal, etc. tried to get their share of that pie.

In 1884 a conference took place in Berlin, where all these big political players divided Africa between themselves to avoid the war. Some countries established direct rule on their African territories. For instance, France directly ruled those lands and set its white representatives, enforced its laws and evicted many locals from their farms and lands.

England founded an indirect rule. It mostly worked through local rulers and political forces to install its laws and order. The decolonization process has begun after the WWII (World War II). It all has started with the Atlantic Charter, initiated by Roosevelt (the president of United States). He called countries to free their colonies and even put pressure on Great Brittan to follow the rules.

colonication of africaHowever, path to independence for many countries was paved through multiple local riots and strikes. Lots of African countries started developing their economies and industry. They have finally established education institutions for locals.

Of course, this process was not easy. Many countries like Nigeria had to cope with a wide range of difficulties.

Nigeria has over 370 tribes living on its territory and formerly all these people and African cultures were not united as one nation.

So, many West African countries and tribes had to become one to shape a new identity – Nigeria. Many countries had military coups and revolutions in them. However, most of them end up with electing their presidents and establishing democratic form of rule.

READ ALSO: Who Built Nigerian Refineries.

Which African countries were never colonized?

History of Liberia

history of LiberiaThe reason why this country has never been colonized is because it was created artificially. The mystery is hidden in its very name. The state was formed in 1839 by white people of America. These abolitionists did not think Afro-Americans had any place to live in USA. They thought the liberated slaves had to go back to the land of their origin – to Africa.

That is why they founded Liberia. The first freed slaves arrived to this land in 1821 even before the state was formed. Actually Liberia was a colony, but a different kind of it. It was colonized by black people. Although, for a while it belonged to USA and only in 1847 the country gained its complete independence. Up until that time it was ruled by white minority, who transferred the authority to the blacks.

Formerly this land was known as Gain or Pepper Coast. It was inhabited with natives, who moved here from the northern Africa regions. Over the last 100 years Liberia has survived several wars and military coups. It has elected its presidents and endured severe Ebola outbreak in 2014.

History of Ethiopia

history of ethiopiaThis is the second African state that escaped total colonization of this continent. Ethiopia has a long history and many great kingdoms existed on its territory. It is one of the African countries that have become Christian at the crack of dawn of Christianity.

Italy was the state that has made several attempts to colonize Ethiopia or Abyssinia (as it was called back then). The first shot was taken in 1880s, but it failed. The second one was carrying out by Mussolini in 1935 with the same outcome.

For few years until 1941 this land was in war and under partial Italian rule, but later on it got back its independence. For almost two decades (1974-1991) Ethiopia, as many other African countries, was a part of Communist camp. Presently it is a Federal Democratic Republic.

List of countries of the world that have never been colonized:

  1. global role of colonizationLiberia
  2. Ethiopia
  3. Japan
  4. Thailand
  5. Iran

Their history is remarkable, because they have escaped the total colonization that took place in their regions. And two of these winners are located in Africa. Although, there are more countries that could qualify for this list, their history is not that clear.

As you may see, the answer to the Which African countries were never colonized question is not complicated, as there were only two countries uncolonized in 19-20 centuries by Europeans. We also learn a great lesson from the history. It is a lesson of pendulum or the lesson of the third law of thermodynamics: every action leads to equal and adequate counteraction.

It is hard to evaluate the pros and cons of colonization. On one hand it has brought Africa new technologies, education, medicine, religion, etc. On the other, it has taken away many lives and local traditions and ways of life. Still, we can take the best or eat the meat and throw away the bones, so to say and make the most of our lives in the post colonization era of modern Africa. 


Ethiopia is the oldest Christian country in Africa and one of the oldest in the world . Unlike other African countries, was never colonized (although experienced military occupation of fascist Italy in 1936-1941). On July 26, 1847, the American settlers declared independence of the Republic of Liberia. The settlers regarded the continent from which their ancestors were taken into slavery, as "the promised land" , but did not seek to join the African community. Arriving in Africa, they called themselves Americans and as native inhabitants and the British colonial authorities in neighbouring Sierra Leone, were recognized as Americans.

In the second half of the nineteenth century, especially after 1885, colonization of Africa has become so widespread that is called "race for Africa" ; virtually the entire continent (except ostavshihsja independent Ethiopia and Liberia) to 1900 was divided between a number of European powers: Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, their old colonies retained and enhanced Spain and Portugal.

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