Writers Celebrate African Culture

A literary movement further awakened nationalism and self-confidence among Africans. French-speaking writers from West Africa and the Caribbean who were living in Paris founded the négritude movement. Writers of the négritude movement expressed pride in their African roots and culture and protested colonial rule. Their work often transcended their time and place to convey universal themes, such as the human desire for freedom and dignity.

The best known writer of the négritude movement was the Senegalese poet Léopold Senghor. Senghor celebrated Africa's rich cultural heritage. He fostered African pride by rejecting the negative views of Africa spread by colonial rulers. Later, Senghor would take an active role in Senegal's drive to independence, and he would serve as its first president in 1960.

Photo of a black man in a suit wearing glasses, seated in front of a wall in which the word “apostrophe” is printed over and over.

Léopold Senghor inspired many writers of the négritude movement, including Birago Diop and Mongo Beti. He was admired throughout the world as a writer and statesman.

Independence for Egypt

African nationalism brought little political change, except to Egypt. During World War I, Egyptians had been forced to provided food and workers to help Britain. Simmering resistance to British rule flared as the war ended. Western-educated officials, peasants, landowners, Christians, and Muslims united behind the Wafd (WAHFT) party, which launched strikes and protests.

In 1922 Britain finally agreed to Egyptian independence. In fact, British troops stayed in Egypt to guard the Suez Canal and to back up the Egyptian monarch, King Faud. Displeased with this state of affairs, during the 1930s many young Egyptians joined an organization called the Muslim Brotherhood. This group fostered a broad Islamic nationalism that rejected Western culture and denounced corruption in the Egyptian government.

Modernization of Turkey and Persia

Nationalist movements greatly affected the Middle East in the aftermath of World War I. The defeated Ottoman empire was near collapse in 1918. Its Arab lands were divided between Britain and France. However, in Asia Minor, a peninsula in western Asia between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, ethnic Turks resisted Western control and fought to build a modern nation.

Photo of a tall man in a fez and suit followed by a man and a woman, walking through a street with purpose.

Atatürk (center) sought to modernize, Westernize, and secularize Turkey. He is still honored throughout the nation. His portrait appears on postage stamps and all currency.


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Table of Contents

World History Topic 1 Origins of Civilization (Prehistory–300 B.C.) Topic 2 The Ancient Middle East and Egypt (3200 B.C.–500 B.C.) Topic 3 Ancient India and China (2600 B.C.–A.D. 550) Topic 4 The Americas (Prehistory–A.D. 1570) Topic 5 Ancient Greece (1750 B.C.–133 B.C.) Topic 6 Ancient Rome and the Origins of Christianity (509 B.C.-A.D. 476) Topic 7 Medieval Christian Europe (330–1450) Topic 8 The Muslim World and Africa (730 B.C.-A.D. 1500) Topic 9 Civilizations of Asia (500–1650) Topic 10 The Renaissance and Reformation (1300–1650) Topic 11 New Global Connections (1415–1796) Topic 12 Absolutism and Revolution Topic 13 The Industrial Revolution Topic 14 Nationalism and the Spread of Democracy (1790–1914) Topic 15 The Age of Imperialism (1800–1914) Topic 16 World War I and the Russian Revolution (1914–1924) Topic 17 The World Between the Wars (1910–1939) Topic 18 World War II (1930–1945) Topic 19 The Cold War Era (1945–1991) Topic 20 New Nations Emerge (1945–Present) Topic 21 The World Today (1980-Present) United States Constitution Primary Sources 21st Century Skills Atlas Glossary Index Acknowledgments