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West Africa is a large nation located in Africa. West Africa was originally a colony under France, until France was defeated by Germany and the Germans took it over. Upon the splitting of Germany following World War II, West Africa was given independence. Originally a loose federation of states, a coup in 1956 resulted in the military taking over the government. With various nationalist movements fighting for independence, the military clamped down and nearly eradicated them. Since then, the authoritarian, centralized military government has made the nation undergo rapid industrialization and modernization. Since there are still various guerrilla groups fighting, West Africa's military is one of the largest in the world, which has been used to settle disputes and conflicts across Africa. West Africa is a regional power and possesses the strongest army in Africa.