In 1945, when the main powers of the planet were concentrating on repairing the inhuman attitudes of World War II, the greatest warlike conflict in history, almost a third of the population – 750 million people – had lived under foreign domination for centuries.
More than 80 communities located in different regions did not have their own government – they depended on “the metropolis” -, they were subject to the legislation and customs of their “conquerors” and, for one reason or another, they could not choose their future as society.
75 years have passed since then and although most of the colonies of the world achieved its independence, the decolonization process It did not conclude: more than a million and a half inhabitants live in territories that “belong” to other countries. But, How many colonies are there in the world, what are they and on which states do they depend?
It is known that the postwar period caused a great change in the political distribution of the world map. While the U.S of America and Russia fought in the Cold War their ideological battle between capitalism and communism, European powers like Britain and France they began to detach themselves from the territories they had once conquered and which demanded their independence more than ever.
First came Asian countries like India, Pakistan, North and South Korea in the late 1940s and 1950s; then most Africans in the ’60s – and some in the late’ 70s and ’80s – and; Finally, the great decolonization process of the Pacific took place in the 1990s, when small island countries such as the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands, in Oceania, were born.
The incredible landscapes of Bora Bora, French Polynesia, colony of France.
According to data from the United Nations (UN), however, they still exist in the world 17 colonies. The “Non-autonomous Territories” -as that international organization calls the peoples that did not reach the fullness of their own government-, are islands that are under the rule of the United Kingdom, the United States of America, France and New Zealand.
Of the UK depend on Anguilla, Bermuda, Gibraltar, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, Virgin Islands (British), Montserrat, Pitcairn and Saint Helena.
U.S it owns Guam, the United States Virgin Islands and American Samoa.
AND France dominates French Polynesia and New Caledonia.
In its list, the UN also includes the “Transferred Territories” of Tokelau, whose sovereignty was handed over in 1948 by the United Kingdom to New Zealand and Western Sahara, which in 1976 was ceded by Spain to Morocco and Mauritania.
In 1976 Spain transferred Western Sahara to Morocco and Mauritania.
All these colonies are under the supervision of the “Special Committee for Decolonization” of the UN, made up of members from 29 nations and to which the “administering Powers” must report each year.
Also known as “C-24”, the function of this body is to monitor the situation of the colonies and, ultimately, to mediate between administrators and non-autonomous peoples to finally reach a decolonization agreement as provided in the Declaration on the Concession of the Independence of Colonial Countries and Peoples, signed by the General Assembly in 1960.
Since then, the international organization has issued hundreds of resolutions to modify the status of these territories through one of these three options: to become an independent and sovereign State, to establish free association with an Independent State or to join an independent State.
In all cases, the decision must be the result of the free and voluntary choice of the “colonized” peoples, with knowledge of the facts and through democratic procedures.