Anticolonial Nationalism in French West Africa: What Made Guinea Unique?

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Seminar Date
August 13, 2008
In a 1958 constitutional referendum, Guinea was the only French territory to reject continued subordination in favor of immediate independence. Why did Guinea alone reject the constitutional project? What factors stimulated political parties in other French territories to accept continued tutelage, even as activists elsewhere on the continent were agitating for independence? Focusing on the eight territories of French West Africa, I argue that the Guinean branch of the Rassemblement Démocratique Africain, which led the campaign for the “no” vote, differed from other dominant parties in French West Africa in four important ways. It was these differences that resulted in Guinea’s unique stance in the 1958 referendum.
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