Africa, known as the cradle of civilization, boasts a rich tapestry of history and ancient civilizations that date back thousands of years. Let’s delve into the top 12 oldest countries in Africa, each with its unique historical legacy and cultural heritage.
Brief History of Africa
Africa has a really long history, but notably Africa was originally known as Alkebulan ‘The Mother of Mankind” as adopted by the Moors, Ethiopians, Nubians, amongst others, before the Europeans permeated Africa and this influenced the change of name from Alkebulan to Africa.
The name Africa originated in late 16th Century. It was said to have been given birth to by Romans who conquered Tunisia and some part of North Africa, before other Europeans in their quest for exploration and exploitation of the continent in the 17th Century gave life to the name Africa which has been in force till date.
Africa were remarkably a continent with a few countries, before the exploration of the European Countries led to the emergence of a good number of countries. Currently, the number of African countries rank up to 54, and most of these countries are sovereign states free from control and guidance of the Europeans who colonialized them.
These African countries just like the continent has a long history. While a good number of these countries have a traceable foundation, some have been in existence for so many centuries now. Thus, constituting the quota for the oldest countries in the continent.
I’m sure you are wondering which are these African countries are really old? Well your curiosity won’t last for long, let’s briefly discuss about the oldest African countries.
Oldest Countries In Africa with the Age and Year of Independence
In no particular order, the oldest countries in Africa are as follows:
1. Egypt: Egypt by a mile is one of the oldest country in Africa. Biblically and historically, Egypt has been recognized from time immemorial.
Ancient Egypt has been in existence from around 3100 BC, and has been well known for its historical writing, River Nile, Sculptures, Deserts, Mineral deposits, Pyramid, and historical structure.
Modern Egypt historically dates from 1805, and notably through the Unilateral Declaration of Egyptian Independence issued by the British Government on the 28th of February, 1922; attained it’s Independence and became an independent sovereign state, and one of the oldest country to attain Independence in Africa.
2. Liberia: Liberia is Africa’s oldest Republican State. It can be historically traced to 1822 after some Americans founded the American Colonialization Society; targeted to deal with the problem of the numerous free blacks in America and resettle them back in Africa. The Land now known as Liberia was therefore acquired by this American Colonialization Society founded in 1821.
In 1824, the Capital of Liberia was renamed Monrovia, after the then President of America ‘James Monroe’ who was also a supporter of the American Colonialization Society.
In 1847, Liberia declared Independence from the American Colonialization Society, with the Liberian Declaration of Independence adopted and signed on the 26th of July 1847. Thus, making it one of the foremost independent African countries.
3. Ethiopia: Ethiopia historically called Abyssinia is one of the oldest independent African Countries and doubles as one of the oldest African countries. It served as a symbol of African Independence during the period of African Colonialization.
Ethiopia dates back to 1270, and modern day Ethiopia could be traced under the leadership of Emperor Menelik ii who sought t establish the Independence of the Country by plotting an Italian evasion in 1896.
4. South Africa: South Africa is a southern African country well known for its Cultural diversity, beautiful structure, and natural beauty. Sadly it’s not known for Its longevity. South Africa has been in existence since 1652.
Subsequently, in 1806 Britain reoccupied the Land from the Dutch whom originally colonialized South Africa in 1652. In 1931, South Africa eventually attained it’s Independence from the British rule and fully became a Sovereign State in 1934, following the enactment of the Status of Union Act.
5. Morocco: Morocco just like Egypt has a long history. It’s history dates since 1,000 BC, before the introduction of Islam by the Arabs in the 7th Century and Colonialization by France and Spain in the 20th Century.
France eventually took control of Morocco, until they agreed to grant Morocco it’s Independence in 1955, and Morocco officially attained it’s Independence on the 2nd of March, 1956.
6. Sudan: Sudan is nearly as old as Egypt. It’s history dates back to 2,500 – 1,400 BC. Little wonder it is one of the oldest Country in Africa.
Sudan was previously known as the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, particularly from the era of 1893-1955 as it was under the Egyptian rule and colonialized by Egypt since 1874, before British occupied Egypt in 1882, and as such took over it’s subjects ‘Sudan’.
Sudan eventually attained Independence from Egypt and British rule on the 1st of January, 1956.
7. Nigeria: Nigeria popularly known as the giant of Africa due to its overwhelming population, still doubles as one of the oldest countries in the region.
Nigeria could historically be traced to the early 1,100 BC wherein ancient African civilization settled in the Kano, Oyo, Benin empire region known as states in Nigeria today.
Nigeria eventually became a center of trade, particularly for enslaved people before the British explored the country and took control in 1861, and subsequently established Nigeria as a British colony in 1914.
Nigeria attained it’s prolonged Independence from the British rule in 1960, and became a republic in 1963.
8. Tunisia: Tunisia is one of the North African countries which is seen as the first set of countries in the continent Africa. This can be exemplified by the fact that the Romans who explored Africa and gave it it’s name, also gave Tunisia it’s name as one of the first African colony since 246-146 BCE.
By 1230, the Arabs unified North Africa, Tunisia Inclusive and by 1881, Tunisia became a protectorate of France by treaty. Thus, it remained a colony of France until it gained it’s Independence on the 20th of March, 1956.
9. Ghana: The Gold Coast now known as Ghana is amongst the list of Top 10 Countries in Africa to attain it’s Independence. M9reso, Ghana has a historical genesis which dates back to the nomadic migration from Nubia to Gold Coast around the 10th Century AD -16th Century AD. Thus, Ghana is undisputedly one of the oldest African countries.
10. Libya: Finally on the list is Libya. Libya as we all know is derived from the Egyptian term ‘Libus’ meaning one of the tribes Berber people living west of the Nile’.
Libya has been a semi-Independent Country since 1711, and it eventually became a colony of Italy in 1912, before it attained it’s Independence in 1952.
11. Guinea: On October 2, 1958, Guinea, a republic in West Africa, became independent. Before becoming a “protectorate” in August 1849, the nation was a part of the former French Colonial Empire for more than a century. It was still under the control and protection of another state because it was a “protectorate.”
The territory of Guinea did not become a member of French West Africa until 1904. It went on to be ruled by a foreign state until 1958 when the collapse of the French Fourth Republic led to its independence. Guinea observes Independence Day as a national holiday on the second of every October and celebrates it with great pride. Guinea has faced numerous difficulties and political battles, yet it has managed to remain an independent nation full of opportunity and promise.
12. Cameroon: Every year on May 20, Cameroon celebrates its National Day, also known as Unitary State Day. On May 20, 1972, Cameroonians cast ballots for either a unitary state as opposed to the current federal state in a nationwide referendum. On January 1, 1960, French Cameroun, a United Nations Trust Territory, declared its independence from France.
On October 1, 1961, British Southern Cameroons underwent a change of status from a Trusteeship under British administration to a federated state within Cameroon. The 20th of May has been designated as Cameroon’s National Day by the government to mark the year 1972 when President Ahmadou Ahidjo abolished the federal system of administration in favor of a unitary state.
Conclusively, the history of African countries are not far-fetched and the differences in their dates of attainace of Independence are closely matched, save a few exceptions.
Thus, in determining the oldest countries in the continent, this article took into consideration the History of such Country and the year such country became an independent country. The hybrid of these gave us a list of 10 Countries with old origins and early liberation from the shackles of Colonialization.
I trust this Article is much appreciated and has given you the necessary insight which you were looking for while reading? For more informative Articles, stay glued to this blog.