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List of national border changes since World War I refers to changes in borders between nations during or since 1914. For information on border changes from the end of the Napoleonic Wars to 1914, see List of national border changes from 1815 to 1914. This is a list of significant boundary changes with countries. This refers to where there have been changes in borders only, not necessarily including changes in ownership of a territory. For instance many European colonies in Africa became independent without any adjustment to their borders, although some did have many changes.



  • 1919 — The Treaty of Versailles divides Germany's African colonies into mandates of the victors (which largely become new colonies of the victors). Most of Cameroon becomes a French mandate with a small portion taken by the British and some territory incorporated into France's previously existing colonies; Togo is mostly taken by the British, though the French gain a slim portion; German East Africa was separated between Belgium (Rwanda and Burundi), Portugal (the Kionga triangle) and the United Kingdom (Tanganyika, later merging with Zanzibar to form Tanzania); and German South-West Africa (Namibia) becomes a mandate of South Africa. In September, France settles its African colonial borders with Italian Libya. On September 8, following the signing of the Anglo-French Convention of September 8, 1919, the borders of Italian Libya and French Chad are settled to the present-day boundaries.[1] A few days later, the borders of western and southwestern Libya are extended to their current boundaries after French concessions with the Franco-Italian Arrangement of 12 September 1919.[2]
  • 1923 — the city of Tangier becomes an International Free Zone after France and Spain end their control over parts of the city.
  • 1925 — The eastern borders of Libya and British Egypt are changed to their present boundaries, with the exception of parts of present-day southern Libya still remaining part of British Sudan.[1]
  • 1931 — France moves the control of the area of the present day Borkou-Ennedi-Tibesti Prefecture from the territory of Niger in French West Africa to Chad in French Equatorial Africa.[3] Prior to this the territory of the modern-day state of Chad was split in half between the two federations.[4]
  • 1934 — The borders of Libya are changed to their present-day boundaries after the Italo-British-Egyptian Agreement, British Sudan cedes northern territory to Libya.[1]
  • 1936 — After the success of Italy during the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, Ethiopia is annexed by Italy. Ethiopia joins with Eritrea and Italian Somaliland to form Italian East Africa. The international community does not accept Italy's occupation of Ethiopia and maintains relations with exiled Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie.
  • World War II — With the outbreak of World War II, war arrives in Africa in 1940, with Italy joining the war, initially British forces in British Somaliland are defeated by the Italians coming from Italian East Africa and the territory is taken. However by 1941, the British retake lost territory and take over Italian East Africa. In North Africa, after a period of retreat into Libya, Italian forces receive vital aide from the German army and the Germans move deep into Egypt by 1942, before beginning to lose ground. By 1943, The German and Italian forces retreat from Libya and capture Tunisia from France prior to fleeing to Sicily. After the war, Ethiopia was granted Eritrea.
  • 1953 August 1 — Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland established from the former British protectorates of Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia, and Nyasaland.
  • 1956 March 2 — French Morocco, the International Zone of Tangier, and most of Spanish Morocco join to become the independent nation of Morocco; December 13 — British Togoland joins with the Gold Coast before becoming the independent nation of Ghana in 1957.
  • 1958 — French West Africa splits into Mauritania, Senegal, French Sudan (now Mali), French Guinea (now Guinea), Côte d'Ivoire, Niger, Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso) and Dahomey (now Benin)
  • 1960 July 1 — State of Somaliland (formerly British Somaliland) joins with Italian Somaliland to form Somalia. French Equatorial Africa's interim successor, the Union of Central African Republics dissolves in August with independence of Chad (August 11), Oubangui-Chari (now Central African Republic) (August 13), Congo-Brazzaville (now the Republic of the Congo) (August 15), and Gabon (August 17).
  • 1961 May 31 — the northern two-thirds of British Cameroons joins Nigeria; October 1 — the southern third of British Cameroons joins with the Republic of Cameroon to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon. This year also the tiny Portuguese outpost of São João Baptista de Ajudá was annexed by Dahomey (now Benin)
  • 1962 July 1 — The Belgian colony of Ruanda-Urundi separated into Rwanda and Burundi.
  • 1963 December 31 — Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland split into Rhodesia, Zambia and Malawi
  • 1964 — Tanganyika unites with the island of Zanzibar to form Tanzania.
  • 1967 May 30 — The break-away state of Biafra is formed from southern Nigeria. Officially Biafra receives de jure acknowledgement of existence by only a few nations, but has the de facto support of France, Israel, Portugal, and South Africa which provide arms to the state in its war of independence against Nigeria.
  • 1969 January 4 — Spain returns Ifni to Morocco.
  • 1970 January 15 — Biafra is occupied and annexed by Nigeria.
  • 1975 December — Spanish Sahara divided between Morocco and Mauritania (although Spain's formal mandate did not end until February 26, 1976)
  • 1977 — South African Government reimposed direct rule on Walvis Bay
  • 1979 — Mauritania withdraws from southern Western Sahara, which is taken over by Morocco
  • 1991 May 18 — Somaliland declares independence from Somalia but is not recognized by any other country.
  • 1993 May 24 — Eritrea breaks off from Ethiopia.
  • 1994 February 28 — Walvis Bay formally transferred by South Africa to Namibia.



Changes in national boundaries after the end of the Cold War.

North America

South America


World maps showing borders

See also: blank historical world maps

(Click to enlarge)




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