The enduring legacy of German colonial rule and the League of Nations mandate in the borderlands of contemporary Africa

Pouring libation at the graves of those who died at Bimbila. © Jan-Bart Gewald (ASC Leiden)No serious academic would deny the importance of World War One, the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and the League of Nations Mandate when trying to understand the current situation in the Middle East. Yet the long-lasting legacy of boundary demarcations, World War One, German colonial rule and the League of Nations Mandates in the former colonies of Imperial Germany in Africa are generally dismissed – or at best overlooked – as being irrelevant when considering contemporary socio-political developments in these countries, particularly in their borderlands.

It is our contention that in former German Africa, as in the Middle East, the long-term effects of World War One, the dissolution of Empire, renewed boundary demarcations and the League of Nations Mandates continue to be felt today.

Tamale 2010. © Jan-Bart Gewald (ASC Leiden)In a three-day specialist workshop when commissioned pre-circulated papers will be presented, we plan to bring together twelve academics working on the borderlands of former German colonies and League of Nations mandated territories in Africa. The aim of the workshop is to discuss and compare the long-term effects of the shared history of these borderlands across Africa, with the explicit objective of developing the papers presented into an edited volume to be published in the ABORNE series.

Research project
2012 to 2022

Senior researchers

External affiliates

Dr Samuel Ntewusu


German colonialism ; League of Nations mandate ; contemporary Africa

Funding and cooperation


European Science Foundation