July 19, 1959: Ghana, Guinea, and Liberia form the Community of Independent African States

Ghana, Guinea, and Liberia were the first West African countries to achieve independence. Ghana gained independence from Great Britain on March 6, 1957 while Guinea gained independence from France on October 2, 1958. Liberia as a nation-state remained independent from western colonizers since its founding in 1847. The nations were led by Kwame Nkrumah, Ahmed Sekou Toure, and William Tubman, respectively.

 The Union of African States was a short lived alliance formed in 1959 between the newly independent Mali, Ghana, and Guinea. Leaders from left to right: Modibo Keita, Kwame Nkrumah, and Ahmed Sekou Toure.

The Union of African States was a short lived alliance formed in 1959 between the newly independent Mali, Ghana, and Guinea. Leaders from left to right: Modibo Keita, Kwame Nkrumah, and Ahmed Sekou Toure.

The alliance formed by these three nations in 1959 served as a precursor for unity within the Pan-African community on the continent. When Mali gained independence in 1960, the Union of African States was formed as a more formal group of former colonized nations. This was key in developing the Pan-African movement and philosophies of African socialism in the 1960s. These groups which were formed early in the development of independent African nations were precursors to future alliances and treaties such as the Organisation of African Unity, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union.

 Flag of the Union of African States (1961-62)

Flag of the Union of African States (1961-62)