CBR 15 Bingo – Africa: This book is about the Chagos Archipelago, which is a part of Mauritius, as well as the aftereffects of colonial legacy in Africa more generally.
In the 1960s, Britain created its last colony when it detached the Chagos Islands from the fledgling nation of Mauritius, forcibly deporting the residents whose families have lived there for centuries. Philippe Sands, who was one of the lawyers representing Mauritius at the World Court, tells the story of how this came to be, and the story of what happened afterward.
I had never heard of the story of Chagossians before, but I quickly became sucked into their fight for justice and demands to be allowed to return to the home from which they had been displaced by the lingering forces of colonialism. Sands discusses the story from both the political and personal angle, linking the life of Liseby Elysé, who had been forced from her birthplace as a young woman, with the history of how the case came to be tried in the Hague fifty years afterward, going into depth on the legal issues at hand.
The author notes that the book was shaped from a series of lectures he gave on the topic at the Hague Academy of International Law. As such, The Last Colony was much more dry and academic in tone than I had expected from the description. Though Sands does his best to explain the thorny issues of international law that surrounded the case, it was hard at times to fully understand how everything being discussed linked together and with the case.
Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley. This is my honest and voluntary review.