The Century That Ended Colonial Rule

In 1900, Europe's major colonial powers had expanded their empires into every corner of the world. By the middle of the century, the Europeans were on the retreat, and as the century closes, hardly any overseas territories remain under their control.

The world in 1900:

Britain, the largest colonial power, held its colonies, as well as dominion over Canada and Australia. Southern Asia was colonized too, and the coasts of China and India were dotted with small European enclaves. The Americas had all been colonized as well. But nearly all of those possessions had become independent by 1900.

Africa in 1900:

Many borders were fluid and ill-defined, and Europeans often imposed lines of control that ignored traditional tribal lands. Colonial rule shown here was still tentative in many areas. French and British colonies in Africa each made up areas larger than the United States.

* British secured control of Egypt, Sudan and East Africa in late 1800s.

* In 1900, France was securing the Saharan region of French West Africa.

* Germany, late to the colonial race, lost its colonies to the allies after World War I.

* Ottoman rule in Africa ended by the early 1900s. World War I ended the empire.

* Portugal held Guinea, Angola and Mozambique. Later in the century, Italy took Ethiopia and Libya.