Study Guide

Postcolonial Literature Timeline

How It All Went Down

1947: Independence of India

India was the "jewel in the crown" of the British Empire. It was the beginning of the end for the British Empire when the Indians finally managed to wrest their independence in 1947.

1952-1960: Mau Mau Uprising in Kenya

The Mau Mau Uprising in Kenya makes the British sweat. The Mau Mau movement wants the British out, and they fight the British tooth and nail.

1954-1962: Algerian War of Independence

It came to be known as "the war of a million martyrs" because of the number of Algerians who died in it. It was a bloody struggle between the French and the Algerians, and the Algerians won.

1955: Bandung Conference, Indonesia

Representatives from twenty-nine newly independent African and Asian countries get together in a big conference to say, officially, "colonialism stinks."

1957: Independence of Ghana

Ghana was one of the first African countries to gain independence (from the British). Once Ghana pulled it off, loads of other African countries followed suit.

1958: Publication of Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

When Things Fall Apart was published, Things Changed Forever in literature. The Africans had burst onto the literary scene.

1966: Publication of Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea

Jean Rhys was a very obscure writer when Wide Sargasso Sea was published. But with this book, that all changed. She became a postcolonial-feminist-writer-superstar overnight.

1967: Publication of Gabriel García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude

Márquez's novel took everyone by storm. Who thought you could write a novel like that? With all this crazy beautiful magical stuff in it?

1980: Publication of Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children

The whole of Indian colonial and postcolonial history told through the perspective of a big-nosed protagonist? Of course the novel rocks. (And the nose is very important. You have to read the book to find out why.)

1990: Publication of Derek Walcott's Omeros

A beautiful epic poem dealing with the colonial history of the teeny-tiny Caribbean island nation of Saint Lucia. It's so good, it helped Walcott win the Nobel Prize for Literature a couple of years later.