Islands The UK established a protectorate over the Solomon Islands in
the 1890s. Some of the most bitter fighting of World War II occurred on
this archipelago. Self-government was achieved in 1976 and independence
two years later. Ethnic violence, government malfeasance, and endemic
crime have undermined stability and civil society. In June 2003,...
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Britain withdrew from British Somaliland in 1960 to allow its
protectorate to join with Italian Somaliland and form the new nation of
Somalia. In 1969, a coup headed by Mohamed SIAD Barre ushered in an
authoritarian socialist rule characterized by the persecution, jailing
and torture of political opponents and dissidents. After the regime’s...
Africa Dutch traders landed at the southern tip of modern day South
Africa in 1652 and established a stopover point on the spice route
between the Netherlands and the Far East, founding the city of Cape
Town. After the British seized the Cape of Good Hope area in 1806, many
of the Dutch...
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Georgia and South Sandwich Islands The islands, which have large bird
and seal populations, lie approximately 1,000 km east of the Falkland
Islands and have been under British administration since 1908 – except
for a brief period in 1982 when Argentina occupied them. Grytviken, on
South Georgia, was a 19th and early 20th...
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Sudan Egypt attempted to colonize the region of southern Sudan by
establishing the province of Equatoria in the 1870s. Islamic Mahdist
revolutionaries overran the region in 1885, but in 1898 a British force
was able to overthrow the Mahdist regime. An Anglo-Egyptian Sudan was
established the following year with Equatoria being the southernmost...
Spain’s powerful world empire of the 16th and 17th centuries ultimately
yielded command of the seas to England. Subsequent failure to embrace
the mercantile and industrial revolutions caused the country to fall
behind Britain, France, and Germany in economic and political power.
Spain remained neutral in World Wars I and II but suffered...
Islands The Spratly Islands consist of more than 100 small islands or
reefs. They are surrounded by rich fishing grounds and potentially by
gas and oil deposits. They are claimed in their entirety by China,
Taiwan, and Vietnam, while portions are claimed by Malaysia and the
Philippines. About 45 islands are occupied by...
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Lanka The first Sinhalese arrived in Sri Lanka late in the 6th century
B.C., probably from northern India. Buddhism was introduced in about
the mid-third century B.C., and a great civilization developed at the
cities of Anuradhapura (kingdom from circa 200 B.C. to circa A.D. 1000)
and Polonnaruwa (from about 1070 to 1200)....
Military regimes favoring Islamic-oriented governments have dominated
national politics since independence from the UK in 1956. Sudan was
embroiled in two prolonged civil wars during most of the remainder of
the 20th century. These conflicts were rooted in northern economic,
political, and social domination of largely non-Muslim, non-Arab
southern Sudanese. The first civil...
First explored by the Spaniards in the 16th century and then settled by
the English in the mid-17th century, Suriname became a Dutch colony in
1667. With the abolition of slavery in 1863, workers were brought in
from India and Java. Independence from the Netherlands was granted in
1975. Five years later the...
First discovered by the Norwegians in the 12th century, the islands
served as an international whaling base during the 17th and 18th
centuries. Norway’s sovereignty was recognized in 1920; five years
later it officially took over the territory. Location – Map Northern
Europe, islands between the Arctic Ocean, Barents Sea, Greenland Sea,
Autonomy for the Swazis of southern Africa was guaranteed by the
British in the late 19th century; independence was granted in 1968.
Student and labor unrest during the 1990s pressured King MSWATI III,
Africa’s last absolute monarch, to grudgingly allow political reform
and greater democracy, although he has backslid on these promises in...
A military power during the 17th century, Sweden has not participated
in any war for almost two centuries. An armed neutrality was preserved
in both world wars. Sweden’s long-successful economic formula of a
capitalist system interlarded with substantial welfare elements was
challenged in the 1990s by high unemployment and in 2000-02 and 2009...
The Swiss Confederation was founded in 1291 as a defensive alliance
among three cantons. In succeeding years, other localities joined the
original three. The Swiss Confederation secured its independence from
the Holy Roman Empire in 1499. A constitution of 1848, subsequently
modified in 1874, replaced the confederation with a centralized federal
(Arab Republic) Following World War I, France acquired a mandate over
the northern portion of the former Ottoman Empire province of Syria.
The French administered the area as Syria until granting it
independence in 1946. The new country lacked political stability,
however, and experienced a series of military coups during its first