Whereas the Spanish and Portuguese colonies in Latin America had achieved political independence by 1830, the contemporary state system in Africa, East and Southeast Asia and the Middle East (with exceptions such as Ethiopia, Thailand and Egypt) is of relatively recent creation. In the post-Second World War period new state governments in these regions tackled the problem of welding together a variety of people who were at different stages of educational development, and divided along ethnic, regional and other cultural lines. In Latin America, relatively long-established states faced the challenge of responding to new demands arising out of the collapse of export-led development after 1930, and the political emergence of the middle and working classes. Spanish was the lingua franca of Latin America (outside Portuguese-speaking Brazil) and Roman Catholicism was the main religion. Most people in the Middle East were Arabic-speaking and predominantly Muslim. In East and Southeast Asia ethnically and linguistically homogenous societies such as Korea contrasted with plural societies such as Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, which had been brought under a single state only as a consequence of colonial rule.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.