Have there been any forcible annexations/conquests lately?

Have there been any forcible international annexations or conquests since World War II ended? Like how Iraq tried to make Kuwait part of Iraq?

Nothing like “Well, the CIA installed some puppet government at X”, but troops marching in, taking over a country (or even part of one) and absorbing it?

The last war resulting in conquest I can think about is the bloody, WWI-style war between Eritrea and Ethiopia around 2000, resulting from a border dispute. Ethiopia won the war, and still hold the disputed (and worthless) territory.

Morocco over Western Sahara?

The modern state of Israel, which was founded after WWII, annexed the eastern half of Jerusalem in 1967. Tibet had declared independence in 1913, but China either annexed it or reasserted control over it (depending on who you ask) in 1950.

Israel has taken over a bunch of areas that were adjacent to its original borders.

China took over Tibet in 1950. The People’s Republic of China also took over the island of Hainan from the Republic of China in 1950.

Both Koreas took territory that had belonged to the other Korea during the Korean War.

The Democratic Republic of Vietnam took over the Republic of Vietnam in 1975.

China took the Aksai Chin region from India in 1962.

Indonesia took over East Timor in 1975 and held the entire country as the 76th province of Indonesia until they withdrew in 1999.


Indonesia also “annexed” West Papua in 1969 and still maintains it as a province of Indonesia to this day.

list on wikipedia here:

not mentioned so far:

Invasion of Goa by India (1962)

Hala’ib triangle, Part of Sudan Annexed by Egypt mid 1990’s

Agentina seized the Falklands in 1982. Temporarily, until forcibly ejected.

Also some other islands in the South Atlantic, if memory serves. South Georgia…?
Also from memory:

India annexed Hyderabad in 1950, and also forced a change of sovereignty for the remaining Portuguese (and French?) enclaves within its boundaries in the course of the following ten years or so.

Ethiopia annexed Eritrea in 1962 (subsequent to federation ten years earlier). Not a change of territory as the OP perhaps meant it, but it was the forcible loss of an existing separate government.

Japan claims that in the aftermath of WW2 the USSR forcibly annexed some of the islands to its north (the Russian viewpoint is that this was in compliance with the peace treaty).

India annexed Sikkim in the 1970s.

Kashmir probably belongs somehow in this thread as well.
Tangentially related to the theme of this thread are also the creation of the Malayan Union (1946) and the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (1953); in both cases the British forced various territories under the UK’s protection to surrender a large part of their separate powers of government, and subordinated them to a new and unpopular central government.

Thanks all! Especially that Wiki link. A friend and I were having an argument. I had said that smaller countries didn’t really need military forces, since any conquests would be stopped by the UN. Like Kuwait.

They could go all Costa Rica and spend that money for other purposes, like investment or infrastructure. More meaningful than, say, Nigeria having 15 expensive fighter jets.

He had said the only reason that worked for Kuwait was that the world needed their (and Saudi’s) oil. That Gambia needed a standing army because the UN wouldn’t liberate them if Senegal decided they wanted a round country.

Amazingly enough apart from the Ethiopia / Eritrea clash I can’t see any cases in Africa where territory has permanently changed hands since 1945.

Considering the amount of wars in Africa is this really true?

While I wouldn’t have said it was the “only” reason, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to argue that oil was the major factor in what happened with Kuwait. Of course the complicating factor with just about all the earlier incidents was the Cold War.

(As for the Gambia: I can’t see Senegal having a go at them anyway, but if they did I suspect that various other West African states and quite possibly even the British would have something to say about it.)

Western Sahara, Ogaden & Hala’ib Triangle.

However, Governments and nations come & go a lot in Africa.

Africa 1945:



This can’t be true, since there is no treaty that gave the USSR control of the South Sakhalin and Kuril Islands. The USSR did not sign the Treaty of San Francisco in any event. In point of fact, the USSR reneged on the eventual treaty it did sign with Japan, inasmuch as they failed to hand over Habomai and the Shikotan Islands as the Soviet-Japnese Joint Declaration of 1956 required. The latter agreement left the question of the remaining contested territories open for further negotiation, which the Soviets also refused to do.

Essentially: Yes.

It’s always been a principle of the post-colonial African states as a whole that the existing boundaries should be respected. Presumably this is because Africa’s boundaries were pretty much all established by the various European colonial powers, and that any argument of the legitimacy of a given boundary throws up the legitimacy of all the others.

The post-1945 non-technical changes in boundaries that I can think of are:
[li]The federation of Eritrea with Ethiopia (1952).[/li][li]The incorporation of Somaliland into Somalia (1960).[/li][li]The union of Zanzibar with Tanganyika to form what is now called Tanzania (1964).[/li][li]What’s generally referred to as “Western Sahara” being divided between Morocco and Mauritania.[/li][li]The “independence” of four “Bantu homelands” from the apartheid-era Republic of South Africa.[/li][li]Various federations that were either short-lived, or never amounted to more than stuff written on paper.[/li][/ol]

Wars in Africa have usually been about changes of government.

Dammit, you’re right! :smack:

It was a strange situation. The Treaty of San Francisco did specify that Japan was giving up its claims to Sakhalin and most of the Kuril Islands in favor of the Soviet Union. Japan signed the treaty (along with the United States, the United Kingdom, and various other powers). The Soviet Union disagreed with some of the provisions and ended up refusing to sign.

So there was a bizarre diplomatic situation where the Soviets occupied these islands and a bunch of other countries recognized Soviet ownership of them - but the Soviet Union itself had not agreed to the treaty that recognized its ownership.

The re-establishment of Eritrea as an independent country.(1993)

Somaliland has been claiming to be independent since 1991. They haven’t gotten much recognition yet.

South Sudan is in the process of becoming independent. They haven’t chosen a real name yet.

Here’s three or four more:
[li]The incorporation of British Togoland into what’s now called Ghana (1956).[/li][li]The incorporation of the Northern Cameroons into Nigeria (1961).[/li][li]The federation of the Southern Cameroons with Cameroon (1961).[/li][li]The transfer of sovereignty over the “Coastal Strip” from Zanzibar to Kenya, upon the latter’s independence from the UK (1963).[/li][/ol]

As pointed out by dtilque, Somaliland has a government that claims to be independent. There have been a number of other attempted post-colonial secessions, I don’t think any of which have achieved any degree of international recognition (with the partial exception of “Western Sahara”).