3rd Year: Option 3: African and Asian Nationalism

Patrice Lumumba, a Congolese independence leader.
Main Page: International Relations in the 20th Century

Over the last three years, your study of History has been centrered around three particular places:
  • Ireland, because that's where you live; 
  • Europe, because Ireland is a part of it; and
  • America, which has become one of the most powerful nations in the world.
Mahatma Gandhi, an Indian independence leader.
Two huge parts of the world which tend to get left out are Africa and Asia. If you go on to study History in Leaving Cert, you'll learn more about African and Asian history (e.g. decolonisation, the Vietnam war) but for now, the third and final option you can study at the end of the Junior Cert course is African and Asian nationalism.

Whether you do Africa or Asia depends on your textbook - most feature only Asia - and there are different countries and figures you can focus on, again depending on the textbooks.

If you're interested in learning more, visit the European Retreat from the Empire and the Aftermath, 1945-1990 page from the Leaving Cert part of the site.

This is one of three option topics you can study. The other two options are The Rise of the Superpowers and Moves Toward European Unity.

Click to go back to Third Year.

  • Background: who had colonised the country?
  • Origin of the independence movement.
  • The independence movement's aims and actions.
  • Negotiations between the colonising power and the movement.
  • Problems and difficulties encountered.
  • Independence declared: When? Where? How?
  • Results.

People celebrating Congolese independence in 1960.

Click here for exam questions you can be asked about this topic. (Higher and Ordinary)


A named leader in the struggle for African or Asian independence after 1945. (2010 HL)  


BBC: From Empire to Independence
The front page of the Times of India, 15 August 1947
The BBC takes a look at Indian history as a British colony, right up to Indian independence and beyond. 

India's Independence Day, 1947 (YouTube)
This British newsreel film shows the celebrations in India and in Pakistan (which became independent at the same time) as independence became a reality.

Independence Day in India
Learn more about how India celebrates its independence here.

BBC: Mahatma Gandhi
Biography of the Indian independence leader.

Mahatma Gandhi
A slightly easier to read biography from HLS.

The End of the Belgian Congo
Learn the background to the Congolese independence movement here.

Patrice Lumumba
A short biography of the Congolese independence leader.