Visual History of the World

(CONTENTS)
 

 


HISTORY OF CIVILIZATION & CULTURE

From Prehistoric to Romanesque  Art
Gothic Art
Renaissance  Art
Baroque and Rococo Art
The Art of Asia
Neoclassicism, Romanticism  Art
Art Styles in 19th century
Art of the 20th century
Artists that Changed the World
Design and Posters
Photography
Classical Music
Literature and Philosophy

Visual History of the World
Prehistory
First Empires
The Ancient World
The Middle Ages
The Early Modern Period
The Modern Era
The World Wars and Interwar Period
The Contemporary World

Dictionary of Art and Artists

 




The Contemporary World

1945 to the present



After World War II, a new world order came into being in which two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, played the leading roles. Their ideological differences led to the arms race of the Cold War and fears of a global nuclear conflict. The rest of the world was also drawn into the bipolar bloc system, and very few nations were able to remain truly non-aligned. The East-West conflict came to an end in 1990 with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the consequent downfall of the Eastern Bloc. Since that time, the world has been driven by the globalization of worldwide economic and political systems. The world has, however, remained divided: The rich nations of Europe, North America, and East Asia stand in contrast to the developing nations of the Third World.



The first moon landing made science-fiction dreams reality in the year 1969.
Space technology has made considerable progress as the search for new
possibilities of using space continues.

 

 


Africa since the Independence of its Nations
 


SINCE 1945
 

 

see also: United Nations member states -

Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad,
Comoros, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea,
Ethiopia,
Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali,
Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal,
Seychelles,
Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

 

The nations of Sub-Saharan Africa that became independent after 1957 have continued to suffer the consequences of their continent's experience of colonialism. The optimism of the early years of independence soon gave way to repeated military coups, violent conflicts, and popular disillusionment with promises to end poverty and improve living conditions. Other problems faced in parts of the region include drought and famines, limited access to drinking water, and the alarming growth of HIV/AIDS since the 1980s. These problems are compounded by authoritarian and frequently corrupt regimes.

 


West Africa
 

Of the West African countries, Nigeria has had the most turbulent postcolonial history. Ghana, Senegal, and the Ivory Coast have slowly consolidated since their independence.

 

On March 6,1957, 1 Ghana became the first independent nation in sub-Saharan Africa.

Kwame Nkrumah, one of the intellectual leaders of Africa's liberation and Ghana's prime minister since 1952, became president and installed an increasingly autocratic regime. In February 1966 he was deposed by a military coup d'etat and emigrated to Guinea. After a short democratic period lasting until 1972, the military repeatedly took power in sequence of coups. At the end of 1981, Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings took power in a coup, introduced democratic structures, and liberalized the economy.

He then won two successive presidential elections before peacefully handing over governmental power to the victorious opposition leader 2 John Kufuorin 2001.

After Nigeria's independence in i960, intense clan wars took place, leading to the separation of national regions and parallel governments. From 1966 to 1999, several military coups and regimes followed one another, interrupted by short phases of democratization.

A civil war broke out from 1967 to 1970 over the 3 Biafra region, which declared itself provisionally independent.


1 Shrine of an Asafo company of the Fanti at the coast of Ghana, painted cement, 1952


2 John Kufour at his swearing-in ceremony as the new president of Ghana, January 7, 2001


3 The name of the Biafra
region became synonymous
with misery, hunger, despair,
and suffering

Since 1999, under the leadership of President 6 Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria has begun to stabilize and seek relations with the international community. However, corruption and religious conflicts continue to afflict the country.

In Senegal, 4 Leopold Sedar Senghor ruled from 1960.

He was a socialist and acclaimed poet who was greatly respected as a spokesperson for the continent and as an international mediator. Senghor ruled as president until 1980 in a surprisingly liberal presidential system. His successors, Abdou Diouf (1980-2000) and Abdoulaye Wade maintained the internal political stability of the Senegalese state.

Ahmed Sekou Toure, who was president of Guinea from 1958 to 1984, established a socialist presidential government. His regime survived several coup attempts and was characterized by brutal suppression of the civilian population.

His successor 5 Lansana Conte continued this dictatorial rule.

Corruption and human rights abuses have discouraged international donors and foreign investment, and in January 2005 Conte narrowly escaped an assassination attempt.

The Ivory Coast (Cote d'lvoirc) was led by President Felix Houphouet-Boigny until 1993. During this period, the country was one of the most economically prosperous and politically stable in Africa, although it fell short of a democratic system.

Both his successor Henri Bedie, who ruled for seven years before being ousted in 2000, and the socialist 7 Laurent Gbagbo used rigged elections to bolster the legitimacy of their rule.

In 2002 a civil war broke out as the north and the south of the country split along political and sectarian lines. After the intervention of France, South Africa, and the United Nations, a peace deal was achieved in April 2005.


6 Olusegun Obasanjo


4 Leopold Sedar Senghor, 1986


5 Guinea's president Lansana Conte


7 Laurent Gbagbo, October 2000

 

 


Central Africa
 

Since 1960, authoritarian governments have predominated among Central African states.

 

In Niger, President Hamani Diori established single-party rule in i960 and tied the country firmly to France, as did his successor Seyni Kountche. Disturbances led to a military coup in 1996.

In 1999 the military handed back power to President 8 Mamadou Tandja, who introduced a multiparty system and democratized the nation.

Chad suffered from religious tensions that emerged between its Islamic north and Christian south.

The conflict escalated, following revolts by the Muslim population over taxes, into a 9 civil war in which France and Libya intervened between 1984 and 1988.

In 1993 Idriss Deby was elected, and his government slowly stabilized the country and wrote a national constitution. In 1994 Libya withdrew its troops from the country after the International Court of Justice t'cjcctcd its claim to a disputed strip of territory between the countries.

The Central African Republic was initially ruled by President David Dacko as an authoritarian state. In January 1966 he was toppled by army chief Jean-Bedel Bokassa, who established one of the cruelest regimes in Africa.

Bokassa made himself president for life in 1973 and then in a 10 megalomaniacal ceremony in December 1977 crowned himself Emperor Bokassa I.


8 The democratic president of Niger, Mamadou Tandja, 1999


9 Libyan tanks bomb a street in the Aouzou border area in the northern part of Chad, April 7, 1987


10 Jean-Bedel Bokassa during
his coronation ceremony in Bangui,
December 4, 1977

He was deposed in September 1979 with international approval, and Dacko returned to power, but the country remained unsettled. Even President 11 Ange Felix Patasse, emerging from a controversial election in 1993, was unable to ensure stability in the country. Various rebel groups launched a series of destabilizing insurrections during the 1990s.

In Cameroon between 1960 and 1982, the Francophile president Ahmadou Ahidjo presided over a one-party system. His successor. Paul Biya, initially followed the same policies but was forced to introduce a multiparty system in 1990 following popular protests. The democratic validity of following elections is disputed.

Violent clashes had occurred in Rwanda since 1959 as the ethnic Hutu 12 majority rebelled against the Tutsi minority that had served as the ruling elite and been privileged during the colonial era.

Around 150,000 Tutsis fled from Rwanda to Burundi and other neighboring states. After independence in 1962, military leaders of the Hutu ruled for the most part. However, conflicts repeatedly broke out with Tutsi rebels and led to appalling massacres in 1994.


11 Ange Felix Patasse brandishes a gun at a press conference, Sept. 26, 1979


12 A group of young soldiers of the Hutu militia
at a military exercise, 1994

 

 

Genocide in Rwanda

After 1990, the tension between the Tutsi rebels and Hutu holders of power increased in Rwanda. When President Habyarimana was killed in an airplane crash under suspicious circumstances in April 1994, Hutu extremists began—with propagandist support from the government—systematically to massacre Tutsis and moderate Hutus throughout the country.

Within only a few weeks, 800,000 people fell victim to a genocide in which virtually all layers of society took part. At the beginning of July, Tutsi troops were able to establish order and take control of the country.


A girl searches for her parents among the bodies
of Rwandans who have been trampled to death,
July 18, 1994

 
 

see also: United Nations member states -

Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad,
Comoros, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea,
Ethiopia,
Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali,
Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal,
Seychelles,
Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

 

 

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