Colonialism • Types of Colonialism • History of Colonialism


1. Colonialism is the establishment, exploitation, maintenance, acquisition, and expansion of colonies in one territory by people from another territory.

2. It is a set of unequal relationships between the colonial power and the colony and between the colonists and the indigenous population.

3. The European colonial period was the era from the 1500s to the mid-1900s when several European powers established colonies in Asia, Africa, and the Americas.


Types of Colonialism

Settler colonialism

1. involves large-scale immigration, often motivated by religious, political, or economic reasons.

Exploitation colonialism

1. involves fewer colonists and focuses on access to resources for export, typically to the

2. This category includes trading as well as larger colonies where colonists would
constitute much of the political and economic administration, but would rely on
indigenous resources for labor and material.

Plantation colonies

1. would be considered exploitation colonialism, but colonizing powers would utilize either type for different territories depending on various social and economic factors as well as climate and geographic conditions.

Surrogate colonialism

1. involves a settlement project supported by the colonial power, in which most of the settlers do not come from the mainstream of the ruling power.

Internal colonialism

1. is a notion of uneven structural power between areas of a nation-state. The source of exploitation comes from within the state.


History of Colonialism

1. Activity that could be called colonialism has a long history, starting with the precolonial African empires which led to the Egyptians, Phoenicians, Greeks, and  Romans all building colonies in antiquity.

2. The word “colony” comes from the Latin Colonia—”a place for agriculture”.

3. Between the 11th and 18th centuries, the Vietnamese established military colonies south of their original territory and absorbed the territory, in a process known as name tien (south marching).

4. Modern colonialism started with the Age of Discovery. Portugal and Spain discovered new lands across the oceans and built trading posts or conquered large extensions of land.

5. For some people, it is this building of colonies across oceans that differentiate colonialism from other types of expansionism.

6. These new lands were divided between the Portuguese Empire and Spanish Empire, first by the papal bull Inter caetera and then by the Treaty of Tordesillas and the Treaty of Zaragoza (1529).

7. This period is also associated with the Commercial Revolution. The late middle ages saw reforms in accountancy and banking in Italy and the eastern Mediterranean.

8. These ideas were adopted and adapted in Western Europe to the high risks and rewards associated with colonial ventures.

9. The 17th century saw the creation of the French colonial empire and the Dutch Empire, as well as the English overseas possessions, which later became the British Empire.

10. It also saw the establishment of a Danish colonial empire and some Swedish overseas colonies.

11. The spread of colonial empires was reduced in the late 18th and early 19th centuries by the American Revolutionary War and the Latin American wars of independence.

12. However, many new colonies were established after this time, including the German colonial empire and Belgian.

13. In the late 19th century, many European powers were involved in the Scramble for Africa.

14. The Russian Empire, Ottoman Empire, and the Austrian Empire existed at the same time as the above empires but did not expand over oceans. Rather, these empires expanded through the more traditional route of the conquest of neighboring territories.

15. There was, though, some Russian colonization of the Americas across the Bering Strait.

16. The Empire of Japan modeled itself on European colonial empires.

17. The United States of America gained overseas territories after the Spanish-American War for which the term “American Empire” was coined.

18. After the First World War, the victorious allies divided up the German colonial empire and much of the Ottoman Empire between them as League of Nations mandates.

19. These territories were divided into three classes according to how quickly it was deemed that they would be ready for independence.

20. However, decolonization outside the Americas lagged until after the Second World War. In 1962 the United Nations set up a Special Committee on Decolonization, often called the Committee of 24, to encourage this process.

21. Further, dozens of independence movements and global politics solidarity projects such as the Non-Aligned Movement were instrumental in the decolonization efforts of former colonies.

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