In the next few weeks we’ll be exploring the history of decolonization in the French empire. Here is a good map from Le Monde Diplomatique that shows the chronology of decolonization in Africa. Below it is a clear map from La Documentation Française showing the borders of colonial empires in Africa in 1945. France’s colonies in West and Central Africa were divided into the A.O.F. (Afrique Occidentale Française) and A.E.F. (Afrique Equatoriale Française). The department of Algeria and the Protectorates of Morocco and Tunisia made up the colonies of North Africa, and France also controlled the island of Madagascar and the French Somaliland, on the Horn of Africa, which became Djibouti in 1977.
In addition to these maps, this Wikipedia entry on “African French” is also interesting, as it points out that Africa has the largest numbers of French speakers — approximately 115 million — in the world.