Northern Africa 1910: French Equatorial Africa
By 1910 the French had consolidated their hold in the Congo and Chad basins, but this largely land-locked territory remained heavily dependent on trade down the Congo River and thus dominated by the French Congo. Acknowledging this, France federated these colonies as French Equatorial Africa.
5 Oct 1908 Bulgarian independence▲
Despite having a great deal of autonomy since 1878, the principality of Bulgaria remained technically under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire and was therefore unable to assume full control of its foreign policy or join alliances. Chaffing at these restrictions, Ferdinand of Bulgaria took advantage of the chaos caused by the Young Turks Revolution of 1908 to throw off the last vestiges of Ottoman rule. On 5 October [21 September old style], at the Holy Forty Martyrs Church in Tarnovo, Ferdinand formally proclaimed the independence of the Kingdom of Bulgaria, simultaneously changing his title from knyaz (prince) to tsar (king).
15 Nov 1908 Belgian Congo▲
From around 1900 news of atrocities in the Congo Free State led to a growing public outcry against King Leopold of Belgium’s exploitative rule of that country. Bowing to international pressure, the parliament of Belgium annexed the Congo Free State, assuming sovereignty over the territory as the Belgian Congo in November 1908. Nonetheless, much of the colonial administration remained in place and Théophile Wahis, Governor-General of the Congo Free State since 1900 and a staunch advocate of Leopold’s methods, would continue as Governor-General of the Belgian Congo until 1912.
Dec 1908–Sep 1909 Adrar Campaign▲
In late 1908 a French expedition under the command of Colonel Henri Gouraud advanced from St Louis, Senegal, north into Mauritania to suppress the restive Emirate of Adrar. After capturing the key town of Atar in January, Gouraud was unable to compel the Adrar to meet him in open battle until he occupied the palm groves of the region and thereby threatened their food supply. Provoked, the Adrar launched a full-scale attack on the French in July, only to be defeated and chased north into the desert.
1909 Idrisid Emirate of Asir▲
In late 1909 Muhammad ibn Ali al-Idrisi declared the independence of the Idrisid Emirate of Asir from the Ottoman Empire. Following the Ottoman entry into World War I in October 1914, al-Idrisi would declare for the Allies, marking the first sparks of the Arab Revolt.
15 Jan 1910 French Equatorial Africa▲
In 1910 the French colonies of Gabon, Middle Congo, and Ubangi-Shari-Chad were united to form the colonial federation of French Equatorial Africa, replacing the French Congo. Brazzaville, Middle Congo, was designated as the capital of the federation and Martial Henri Merlin was made Governor-General. From the start the federation was much more centralized than French West Africa, and for a brief period (1934–37) the federal structure would even be abolished altogether.