Their Stories was inspired by the stories of my own grandparents, who had their lives changed forever in 1947 as a result of the Independence of India & Pakistan, causing all four of them to move across the border to a new country, carved out within months. Each of them had separate journeys and experienced the end of British rule differently. You can read my grandfather’s story here.There are millions of people with memories of the colonial world. Each of these stories are important. They depict a life lived through change, hardship, and success. However, if we don’t tell these stories, we will lose them – and with them, a unique perspective into the rich heritage of so many around the world today. These stories deserve to be shared and remembered.

Their Stories is a platform for people across the world to share their stories, and the stories of their parents and grandparents. Together, we are creating a platform that allows anyone, anywhere in the world to listen, read, and learn from the stories of those who lived through colonialism and independence and the impact it had on their country and their lives.

Use this link to share your stories in the form of writing, photos, videos or an audio file. Their Stories aims to share the stories in as respectful a way as possible, please make sure you read the guidelines for contributors before submission. Use the map on the front page to explore stories already submitted, and share this to help educate more people. Please contact us if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.


Brief History of Colonial Rule

In the early 15th Century, Spain & Portugal began to explore the world, with their advanced technology, they were able to conquer territories across the globe, thus beginning over 500 years of colonialism. The lasting influence of the Spanish, Portuguese, French, Dutch, German, Italian, Danish, Japanese, Russian, Ottoman & British Empires has shaped the world as we know it today. At its peak, the largest of the empires – the British Empire – covered almost a quarter of the total landmass of Earth in 1922. In 1947 the British Empire lost the jewel in its crown, with Indian & Pakistani independence. This was followed with a quick procession of decolonialisation, with the last of Portugal’s colonies, Macau, gaining autonomy in 1999.

Outside of the hard facts, there is very little knowledge of colonialism outside of the colonies. Many history books skim over the topic. The millions of people that lived through colonialism, and its subsequent dismantling, can provide a great insight into this major portion of world history. Their stories can help us paint a better picture of the state of the world today, and help build tolerance for the people we interact with daily, with a different past and history. The legacy of colonialism continues to be felt today, in the economic, social and political development of ex-colonies, and the rhetoric we hear today.