In the mid-to-late 19th century, the French and other European powers colonised much of Africa and Southeast Asia.
During the decades of imperialism, these industrialising powers viewed the African and Asian continents as reservoirs of raw materials, labour and territory for future settlement. In most cases, however, significant development and European settlement in these colonies was sporadic.
After the second world war, the French and European colonial empires started falling apart. By 1966, most French-controlled territories and colonies gained independence, and new nation states were established.
This three-part series charts the history of that period of decolonisation, and explores the debates about assimilation, race, identity and citizenship that have troubled France from then until now.
Featuring interviews with war veterans and descendants of those who experienced the “blood and tears” of colonialism and decolonisation directly – in Africa, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific – it also looks at the indelible mark this has left on the hearts and souls of close to half a billion people across five continents and some 45 countries.