Niger's Independence Day

Flag of Niger Image source

Wednesday, 3 August 1960

Rationed away to French colonialists at the 1885 Berlin Conference, the French West African colony was controlled strictly as an outpost for the French military. However, some territories in the region fiercely resisted colonialism, especially the Tuareg-controlled desert areas.

Following civil action, a decision was taken by the French government in July 1960 to dissolve the French West African colonial state and grant independence to the four regions that it was made up of – namely the Ivory Coast, Niger, Dahomey (now the Republic of Benin) and Volta (now Burkina Faso). The French Fifth Republic and the Nigerien National Assembly agreed on the 28th of July 1960 that Prime Minister Hamani Diori would govern the newly-independent state until it could hold elections in November of the same year. In the first Nigerien elections, Diori was elected and sworn in as president.

Hamani Diori, a French-speaking Nigerien politician, acting as the first president in independent Niger, proceeded to put in place a single-party system that brutally suppressed his opponents. In 1974, after 14 years in power and with the pressure of the 1970s, Diori was removed from power in a military coup led by his military chief of staff, Lt-Col. Seyni Kountche.

References:
• Blair, W. G. (1960, July 12). 4 African States Attain Freedom: France Gives Independence to Ivory Coast, Niger, Dahomey and Volta. Retrieved from The New York Times: query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9805EEDC133EEF3ABC4A52DFB166838B679EDE
• History World. (n.d.). History of Niger: Independence from 1960. Retrieved from www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?historyid=ad04
• National Geographic World Maps. (n.d.). Niger Independence Day. Retrieved from Maps of World: www.mapsoftheworld.com/niger/independence-day.html

Last updated : 03-Aug-2017

This article was produced by South African History Online on 30-Jan-2017

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