From the start of the 20th century, the region of Africa was the site of conflict and conflict was an important part of the colonial story.
But now, in recent years, a number of countries in the region have come to the fore in the international arena.
The conflict in Nigeria has taken a global turn, with the deaths of hundreds of people and the emergence of an insurgency.
But while some of these developments have affected the regional balance of power in the world, many others have brought about the changes that the BBC’s Andrew Marr has been describing.
In the past century, a few countries have developed as important actors in global politics, but most of the time, the balance of international power has been tilted in favour of the continent.
The BBC’s Richard Parnell reports.
Richard PAGEN, producer: Today, the international community’s attention is focused on the conflicts in Nigeria and neighbouring countries in Africa, but in the last few years, there has been a remarkable change in regional influence.
The region has been moving away from the traditional model of the imperial West, towards regionalism.
It has meant that countries in East Africa have gained a greater degree of regional control.
And a few years ago, a small country in South-East Asia, Taiwan, became the most powerful country in the Pacific.
This is happening at the same time that the region is getting closer to becoming a world power.
But there is another side to regionalism which has been overlooked.
It is also a change that is taking place within the country that is the focus of the BBC documentary, “Regionalism”.
It is a small island nation in the South Pacific, called Palau.
The island has only one language, Palauan.
Its name is derived from a term for a small fishing village.
Richard: Palauans say they speak a mixture of Palawan, which means island, and Lanayo, which comes from the island’s name.
And Lanayos language has a long history.
So we wanted to find out how different people of different countries spoke Palau and Lanaya.
And we discovered that they spoke different dialects.
We found that Palau was very different from Lanayolan.
In Palau, you can use the Palawan language in everyday life.
You can use Palawan as a noun or a verb.
But the Lanayols use of Palawa means different things, and they use it for everyday speech, such as using a pen and paper.
The Palawoans use it as an adjective.
And they use the word Palawan a lot.
Richard is at a small beach on Palau’s northern coast.
It’s a small town with only a few people.
It seems peaceful and quiet.
Richard, welcome to this week’s Planet Earth, a production of the Radio 4 World Service.
The name of this island nation is Palau – the little island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, about 600 miles south of New Zealand.
But Palau has an extraordinary history.
In 1837, British Commodore William Wallace arrived on Palawan to find the British East Indies Empire was a joke.
He was sent back to Australia, where he was imprisoned.
But on arrival, Wallace was sent to a tiny fishing village called Palawan.
There he was welcomed by his father, the Commodore, who gave him a place to live.
The Commodore’s son and namesake, William Wallace, was an avid fisherman and a great supporter of the British.
But William Wallace also wanted to create an independent country, to protect his country from the domination of Britain.
So he set out to build his country, and to carve out a new identity for himself.
In 1830, the year he left Australia, William became the first man to visit the island nation of Palau in the Caribbean.
This was in 1834.
William Wallace was a man who lived in the moment.
He came to Palau to make an empire of his own, to make his mark on the world.
But when he returned to Britain, he faced an even more complicated and difficult challenge.
He faced a British government that saw him as an enemy of the state, and he also faced a strong nationalist movement in his own country.
It was during this period that William Wallace had a second epiphany, and it was when he began to realise that he had a problem.
He realised that Palawos language, his language, had an enormous power in Palau because it had survived the colonisation process.
So this language was an enormous force in Palawan society, but it was not used as a tool to create a new state, as he had hoped.
And so, he realised that he could create a separate, independent country for himself, and this country would be the same language as the one he had spoken.
Richard says the word “language” in Palawocan is not a synonym for the