African presidents of the sixties

Many Africa countries that had been colonised by European countries got independence in the fifties and sixties.


Who were the founding presidents by country?

By 1963 the emerging Africa leaders were inspired enough by the new gained freedom to start talking  Pan-Africanism. The states of Africa sought through a political collective a means of preserving and consolidating their independence and pursuing the ideals of African unity. Unfortunately, two rival camps emerged with opposing views about how these goals could best be achieved. The Casablanca Group, led by President Kwame Nkrumah (1909–1972) of Ghana, backed radical calls for political integration and the creation of a supranational body. The moderate Monrovia Group, led by Emperor Haile Selassie (1892–1975) of Ethiopia, advocated a loose association of sovereign states that allowed for political cooperation at the intergovernmental level. The latter view prevailed. The OAU was therefore based on the “sovereign equality of all Member States,” as stated in its charter.

Country Independence Date Prior ruling country
Liberia, Republic of July 26, 1847
South Africa, Republic of May 31, 1910 Britain
Egypt, Arab Republic of Feb. 28, 1922 Britain
Ethiopia, People’s Democratic Republic of May 5, 1941 Italy
Libya (Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) Dec. 24, 1951 Britain
Sudan, Democratic Republic of Jan. 1, 1956 Britain/Egypt
Morocco, Kingdom of March 2, 1956 France
Tunisia, Republic of March 20, 1956 France
Morocco (Spanish Northern Zone, Marruecos) April 7, 1956 Spain
Morocco (International Zone, Tangiers) Oct. 29, 1956
Ghana, Republic of March 6, 1957 Britain
Morocco (Spanish Southern Zone, Marruecos) April 27, 1958 Spain
Guinea, Republic of Oct. 2, 1958 France
Cameroon, Republic of Jan. 1 1960 France
Senegal, Republic of April 4, 1960 France
Togo, Republic of April 27, 1960 France
Mali, Republic of Sept. 22, 1960 France
Madagascar, Democratic Republic of June 26, 1960 France
Congo (Kinshasa), Democratic Republic of the June 30, 1960 Belgium
Somalia, Democratic Republic of July 1, 1960 Britain
Benin, Republic of Aug. 1, 1960 France
Niger, Republic of Aug. 3, 1960 France
Burkina Faso, Popular Democratic Republic of Aug. 5, 1960 France
Côte d’Ivoire, Republic of (Ivory Coast) Aug. 7, 1960 France
Chad, Republic of Aug. 11, 1960 France
Central African Republic Aug. 13, 1960 France
Congo (Brazzaville), Republic of the Aug. 15, 1960 France
Gabon, Republic of Aug. 16, 1960 France
Nigeria, Federal Republic of Oct. 1, 1960 Britain
Mauritania, Islamic Republic of Nov. 28, 1960 France
Sierra Leone, Republic of Apr. 27, 1961 Britain
Nigeria (British Cameroon North) June 1, 1961 Britain
Cameroon(British Cameroon South) Oct. 1, 1961 Britain
Tanzania, United Republic of Dec. 9, 1961 Britain
Burundi, Republic of July 1, 1962 Belgium
Rwanda, Republic of July 1, 1962 Belgium
Algeria, Democratic and Popular Republic of July 3, 1962 France
Uganda, Republic of Oct. 9, 1962 Britain
Kenya, Republic of Dec. 12, 1963 Britain
Malawi, Republic of July 6, 1964 Britain
Zambia, Republic of Oct. 24, 1964 Britain
Gambia, Republic of The Feb. 18, 1965 Britain
Botswana, Republic of Sept. 30, 1966 Britain
Lesotho, Kingdom of Oct. 4, 1966 Britain
Mauritius, State of March 12, 1968 Britain
Swaziland, Kingdom of Sept. 6, 1968 Britain
Equatorial Guinea, Republic of Oct. 12, 1968 Spain
Morocco (Ifni) June 30, 1969 Spain
Guinea-Bissau, Republic of Sept. 24, 1973 (alt. Sept. 10, 1974) Portugal
Mozambique, Republic of June 25. 1975 Portugal
Cape Verde, Republic of July 5, 1975 Portugal
Comoros, Federal Islamic Republic of the July 6, 1975 France
São Tomé and Principe, Democratic Republic of July 12, 1975 Portugal
Angola, People’s Republic of Nov. 11, 1975 Portugal
Western Sahara Feb. 28, 1976 Spain
Seychelles, Republic of June 29, 1976 Britain
Djibouti, Republic of June 27, 1977 France
Zimbabwe, Republic of April 18, 1980 Britain
Namibia, Republic of March 21, 1990 South Africa
Eritrea, State of May 24, 1993 Ethiopia
South Sudan, Republic of July 9, 2011 Republic of the Sudan


  1. Ethiopia is usually considered to have never been colonized, but following the invasion by Italy in 1935-36 Italian settlers arrived. Emperor Haile Selassie was deposed and went into exile in the UK. He regained his throne on 5 May 1941 when he re-entered Addis Ababa with his troops. Italian resistance was not completely overcome until 27th November 1941.
  2. Guinea-Bissau made a Unilateral Declaration of Independence on Sept. 24, 1973, now considered as Independence Day. However, independence was only recognized by Portugal on 10 September 1974 as a result of the Algiers Accord of Aug. 26, 1974.
  3. Western Sahara was immediately seized by Morocco, a move contested by Polisario (Popular Front for the Liberation of the Saguia el Hamra and Rio del Oro).


African Countries and their Independence Days.

Brief History of colonization: In the 17th century AD, European countries scrambled for and partitioned Africa. This continued until around 1905, by which time all the lands and resources of the continent of Africa had been completely divided and colonized by European countries. The only country that couldn’t be colonized due to strong resistance by the indegines was Ethiopia, and Liberia which was a place for freed slaves from the Americas.

Independence: The struggle for independence started after world war II. This led to the independence of the Union of South Africa in 1931 through negatiations with the British empire and Libya in 1951 from Italy; followed by others in the late 1950s. The road to African independence was very hard and tortuous often through bloody fights, revolts and assasinations. For example; Britain unilatearlly granted “The Kingdom of Egypt” independence on Feb. 22nd 1922 after a series of revolts, but continued to interfere in government. More violent revolts led to the signing of the Anglo-Egyptian treaty in 1936 and a coupe detat tagged Egyptian Revolution in 1952 finally culminated in the Egyptian Republic declaration of June 18th; 1953. The peak year for independence came in 1960 when about 17 countries gained independence. These independence days are now celebrated as national day holidays in most countries of Africa.

List of all African countries and their Independence Days, colonial names and former colonizers.

Algeria July 5th, 1962 France
Angola November 11th; 1975 Portugal
Benin August 1st; 1960 French
Botswana September 30th, 1966 Britain
Burkina Faso August 5; 1960 France
Burundi July 1st; 1962 Belgium
Cameroon January 1st; 1960 French-administered UN trusteeship
Cape Verde July 5th; 1975 Portugal
C.A.R August 13th; 1960 France
Chad August 11th, 1960 France
Comoros July 6th; 1975 France
Congo August 15th; 1960 France
Congo DR June 30th; 1960 Belgium
Cote d’Ivoire August 7th; 1960 France
Djibouti June 27th; 1977 France
Egypt February 28th, 1922 Britain
Eq Guinea October 12; 1968 Spain
Eritrea May 24th; 1993 Ethiopia
Ethiopia over 2000 years,
Never colonized
Kingdom of Aksum
Gabon August 17th; 1960 France
Gambia February 18th; 1965 Britain
Ghana 6 March 1957 Gold Coast Britain
Guinea October 2nd; 1958 France
Guinea Bissau 10 September 1974
24 September 1973
Kenya December 12th, 1963 Britain
Lesotho October 4th; 1966 Britain
Liberia July 26th; 1847 American colonization Society
Libya December 24; 1951 Italy
Madagascar June 26th; 1960 France
Malawi July 6th; 1964 Britain
Mali September 22nd; 1960 France
Mauritania November 28th; 1960 France
Mauritius March 12th, 1968 Britain
Morocco March 2nd; 1956 France
Mozambique June 25th; 1975 Portugal
Namibia March 21st; 1990 South African mandate
Niger August 3rd; 1960 France
Nigeria October 1st, 1960 Britain
Rwanda July 1st; 1962 Belgium administered UN trusteeship
SaoTomePrincipe July 12th; 1975 Portugal
Senegal April 4th; 1960 France
Seychelles June 29th; 1976 Britain
Sierra Leone April 27th; 1961 Britain
Somalia July 1st; 1960 British Somaliland
Italian Somaliland
South Africa 11 December 1931,
April 1994(end of apatheid)
Union of South Africa Britain
Sudan January 1st; 1956 Egypt, Britain
Swaziland September 6th; 1968 Britain
Tanzania April 26th, 1964 Britain
Togo April 27th; 1960 French administered UN trusteeship
Tunisia March 20th; 1956 France
Uganda October 9th; 1962 Britain
Zambia October 24th; 1964 Britain
Zimbabwe April 18th; 1980 Britain

1960 in Africa

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Known as the Year of Africa, 1960 saw 17 African countries declare independence among other events.










  • 5 September – Congo president Joseph Kasavubu fires Patrice Lumumba‘s government and places him under house arrest.
  • 14 September – Colonel Joseph Mobutu takes power in Congo (Leopoldville) in a military coup.
  • 20 September – Dahomey, Upper Volta, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo (Leopoldville), Republic of the Congo (Brazzaville), Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Madagascar, Niger, Somalia, Togo, Mali and Senegal obtain membership in the United Nations.
  • 22 September – Mali declares independence from the Mali federation.


  • 1 October – Nigeria declares independence, with Nnamdi Azikiwe as President.
  • 5 October – White South Africans vote to make the country a republic.
  • 7 October – Nigeria obtains membership in the United Nations.



  • 9 December – French President Charles de Gaulle’s visit to Algeria is marked by bloody riots by European and Muslim mobs in Algeria’s largest cities, killing 127 people.
  • 13 December – While Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia visits Brazil, his Imperial Bodyguard revolts unsuccessfully against his rule. The rebels proclaim the emperor’s son, Crown Prince Asfa Wossen, as Emperor.
  • 14 December – Antoine Gizenga proclaims in Stanleyville, Congo, that he has assumed the premiership.
  • 17 December – Troops loyal to Haile Selassie I in Ethiopia suppress the revolt that began 13 December, giving power back to their leader upon his return from Brazil. Haile Selassie absolves his son of any guilt.

Continental population in 1960[edit]

  • Africa: 277,398,000


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