Activity that could be called colonialism has a long history starting with the Egyptians , Phoenicians , Greeks and Romans who all built colonies in antiquity. Phoenicia was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from BC to BC and later the Greeks and Persians continued on this line of setting up colonies. In the 9th century a new wave of Mediterranean colonisation had begun between competing states such as the Venetians , Genovese and Amalfians , invading the wealthy previously Byzantine or Eastern Roman islands and lands. Venice began with the conquest of Dalmatia and reached its greatest nominal extent at the conclusion of the Fourth Crusade in , with the declaration of the acquisition of three octaves of the Byzantine Empire.
Spain initially the Crown of Castile and soon later Portugal encountered the Americas through sea travel and built trading posts or conquered large extensions of land. For some people, it is this building of colonies across oceans that differentiates colonialism from other types of expansionism. These new lands were divided between the Spanish Empire and Portuguese Empire. 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. It also saw the establishment of a Danish colonial empire and some Swedish overseas colonies.
A first wave of independence was started by the American Revolutionary War , initiating a new phase for the British Empire. However, many new colonies were established after this time, including the German colonial empire and Belgian colonial empire. In the late 19th century, many European powers were involved in the Scramble for Africa.
The Russian Empire , Ottoman Empire and 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 neighbouring territories. There was, though, some Russian colonisation of the Americas across the Bering Strait. The Empire of Japan modelled itself on European colonial empires. After the First World War , the victorious allies divided up the German colonial empire and much of the Ottoman Empire between themselves as League of Nations mandates.
These territories were divided into three classes according to how quickly it was deemed that they would be ready for independence. The empires of Russia and Austria also collapsed. After World War II decolonisation progressed rapidly. This was caused by a number of reasons.
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First, the Japanese victories in the Pacific War showed Indians and other subject peoples that the colonial powers were not invincible. Second, all the colonial powers were significantly weakened by World War II. Dozens of independence movements and global political solidarity projects such as the Non-Aligned Movement were instrumental in the decolonisation efforts of former colonies.
These included significant wars of independence fought in Indonesia, Vietnam, Algeria, and Kenya. Eventually, the European powers—pressured by the United States and Soviets—resigned themselves to decolonisation. In the United Nations set up a Special Committee on Decolonisation , often called the Committee of 24, to encourage this process.
The major European empires consisted of the following colonies at the start of World War I former colonies of the Spanish Empire became independent before and are not listed; former colonies of other European empires that previously became independent, such as the former French colony Haiti, are not listed. The home domains of the colonial powers had a total population of about million people.
Asking whether colonies paid, economic historian Grover Clark argues an emphatic "No! Apart from the British Empire, they were not favoured destinations for the immigration of surplus populations. In some cases colonial powers were paying a lot in military costs, while the benefits could be pocketed by private investors.
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In other cases the colonial powers managed to move the burden of administrative costs to the colonies themselves by imposing taxes. The term neocolonialism has been used to refer to a variety of contexts since decolonisation that took place after World War II. Generally it does not refer to a type of direct colonisation, rather, colonialism by other means. Specifically, neocolonialism refers to the theory that former or existing economic relationships, such as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the Central American Free Trade Agreement , or through companies such as Royal Dutch Shell in Nigeria and Brunei created by former colonial powers were or are used to maintain control of their former colonies and dependencies after the colonial independence movements of the post—World War II period.
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The term was popular in ex-colonies in the late 20th century. The impacts of colonisation are immense and pervasive. The native cultures of the colonised peoples can also have a powerful influence on the imperial country. Economic expansion, sometimes described as the colonial surplus , has accompanied imperial expansion since ancient times. Aztec civilisation developed into an extensive empire that, much like the Roman Empire, had the goal of exacting tribute from the conquered colonial areas.
For the Aztecs, a significant tribute was the acquisition of sacrificial victims for their religious rituals. On the other hand, European colonial empires sometimes attempted to channel, restrict and impede trade involving their colonies, funneling activity through the metropole and taxing accordingly. Despite the general trend of economic expansion, the economic performance of former European colonies varies significantly. Robinson compare the economic influences of the European colonists on different colonies and study what could explain the huge discrepancies in previous European colonies, for example, between West African colonies like Sierra Leone and Hong Kong and Singapore.
According to the paper, economic institutions are the determinant of the colonial success because they determine their financial performance and order for the distribution of resources. At the same time, these institutions are also consequences of political institutions — especially how de facto and de jure political power is allocated.
To explain the different colonial cases, we thus need to look first into the political institutions that shaped the economic institutions. For example, one interesting observation is "the Reversal of Fortune" — the less developed civilisations in , like North America, Australia, and New Zealand, are now much richer than those countries who used to be in the prosperous civilisations in before the colonists came, like the Mughals in India and the Incas in the Americas. One explanation offered by the paper focuses on the political institutions of the various colonies: it was less likely for European colonists to introduce economic institutions where they could benefit quickly from the extraction of resources in the area.
Therefore, given a more developed civilisation and denser population, European colonists would rather keep the existing economic systems than introduce an entirely new system; while in places with little to extract, European colonists would rather establish new economic institutions to protect their interests. Political institutions thus gave rise to different types of economic systems, which determined the colonial economic performance. European colonisation and development also changed gendered systems of power already in place around the world.
In many pre-colonialist areas, women maintained power, prestige, or authority through reproductive or agricultural control. For example, in certain parts of sub-Saharan Africa women maintained farmland in which they had usage rights. While men would make political and communal decisions for a community, the women would control the village's food supply or their individual family's land. This allowed women to achieve power and autonomy, even in patrilineal and patriarchal societies.
Through the rise of European colonialism came a large push for development and industrialisation of most economic systems. However, when working to improve productivity, Europeans focused mostly on male workers. Foreign aid arrived in the form of loans, land, credit, and tools to speed up development, but were only allocated to men. In a more European fashion, women were expected to serve on a more domestic level. The result was a technologic, economic, and class-based gender gap that widened over time. Within a colony, the presence of extractive colonial institutions in a given area has been found have effects on the modern day economic development, institutions and infrastructure of these areas.
European nations entered their imperial projects with the goal of enriching the European metropole. Exploitation of non-Europeans and other Europeans to support imperial goals was acceptable to the colonisers. Two outgrowths of this imperial agenda were slavery and indentured servitude. In the 17th century, nearly two-thirds of English settlers came to North America as indentured servants.
European slave traders brought large numbers of African slaves to the Americas by sail. Spain and Portugal had brought African slaves to work at African colonies such as Cape Verde and the Azores , and then Latin America, by the 16th century. The British, French and Dutch joined in the slave trade in subsequent centuries.
Ultimately, around 11 million Africans were taken to the Caribbean and North and South America as slaves by European colonisers. Abolitionists in Europe and Americas protested the inhumane treatment of African slaves, which led to the elimination of the slave trade by the late 18th century. The labour shortage that resulted inspired European colonisers to develop a new source of labour, using a system of indentured servitude. Indentured servants consented to a contract with the European colonisers. Under their contract, the servant would work for an employer for a term of at least a year, while the employer agreed to pay for the servant's voyage to the colony, possibly pay for the return to the country of origin, and pay the employee a wage as well.
The employee was "indentured" to the employer because they owed a debt back to the employer for their travel expense to the colony, which they were expected to pay through their wages. In practice, indentured servants were exploited through terrible working conditions and burdensome debts created by the employers, with whom the servants had no means of negotiating the debt once they arrived in the colony.
India and China were the largest source of indentured servants during the colonial era. Indentured servants from India travelled to British colonies in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, and also to French and Portuguese colonies, while Chinese servants travelled to British and Dutch colonies. Between and , around 30 million indentured servants migrated from India, and 24 million returned to India.
China sent more indentured servants to European colonies, and around the same proportion returned to China. Following the Scramble for Africa , an early but secondary focus for most colonial regimes was the suppression of slavery and the slave trade. By the end of the colonial period they were mostly successful in this aim, though slavery is still very active in Africa and the world at large with much the same practices of de facto servility despite legislative prohibition.
Imperial expansion follows military conquest in most instances. Imperial armies therefore have a long history of military innovation in order to gain an advantage over the armies of the people they aim to conquer. Greeks developed the phalanx system, which enabled their military units to present themselves to their enemies as a wall, with foot soldiers using shields to cover one another during their advance on the battlefield.
Under Philip II of Macedon , they were able to organise thousands of soldiers into a formidable battle force, bringing together carefully trained infantry and cavalry regiments. The Spanish Empire held a major advantage over Mesoamerican warriors through the use of weapons made of stronger metal, predominantly iron, which was able to shatter the blades of axes used by the Aztec civilisation and others. The European development of firearms using gunpowder cemented their military advantage over the peoples they sought to subjugate in the Americas and elsewhere.
The populations of some colonial territories, such as Canada, enjoyed relative peace and prosperity as part of a European power, at least among the majority; however, minority populations such as First Nations peoples and French-Canadians experienced marginalisation and resented colonial practises. Francophone residents of Quebec , for example, were vocal in opposing conscription into the armed services to fight on behalf of Britain during World War I, resulting in the Conscription crisis of Other European colonies had much more pronounced conflict between European settlers and the local population.
Rebellions broke out in the later decades of the imperial era, such as India's Sepoy Rebellion. The territorial boundaries imposed by European colonisers, notably in central Africa and South Asia, defied the existing boundaries of native populations that had previously interacted little with one another. European colonisers disregarded native political and cultural animosities, imposing peace upon people under their military control. Native populations were often relocated at the will of the colonial administrators. Once independence from European control was achieved, civil war erupted in some former colonies, as native populations fought to capture territory for their own ethnic, cultural or political group.
Fighting erupted between Hindu, Sikh and Muslim communities as they fought for territorial dominance. Muslims fought for an independent country to be partitioned where they would not be a religious minority, resulting in the creation of Pakistan. In a reversal of the migration patterns experienced during the modern colonial era, post-independence era migration followed a route back towards the imperial country. In some cases, this was a movement of settlers of European origin returning to the land of their birth, or to an ancestral birthplace.
A significant number of these migrants were also of Algerian descent. Global travel and migration in general developed at an increasingly brisk pace throughout the era of European colonial expansion. Citizens of the former colonies of European countries may have a privileged status in some respects with regard to immigration rights when settling in the former European imperial nation. For example, rights to dual citizenship may be generous,  or larger immigrant quotas may be extended to former colonies. In some cases, the former European imperial nations continue to foster close political and economic ties with former colonies.
The Commonwealth of Nations is an organisation that promotes cooperation between and among Britain and its former colonies, the Commonwealth members. A similar organisation exists for former colonies of France, the Francophonie ; the Community of Portuguese Language Countries plays a similar role for former Portuguese colonies, and the Dutch Language Union is the equivalent for former colonies of the Netherlands. Migration from former colonies has proven to be problematic for European countries, where the majority population may express hostility to ethnic minorities who have immigrated from former colonies.
Cultural and religious conflict have often erupted in France in recent decades, between immigrants from the Maghreb countries of north Africa and the majority population of France. Encounters between explorers and populations in the rest of the world often introduced new diseases, which sometimes caused local epidemics of extraordinary virulence. Disease killed the entire native Guanches population of the Canary Islands in the 16th century. Half the native population of Hispaniola in was killed by smallpox.
Smallpox also ravaged Mexico in the s, killing , in Tenochtitlan alone, including the emperor, and Peru in the s, aiding the European conquerors.
Measles killed a further two million Mexican natives in the 17th century. Introduced diseases, notably smallpox, nearly wiped out the native population of Easter Island. Conversely, researchers have hypothesised that a precursor to syphilis may have been carried from the New World to Europe after Columbus 's voyages. The findings suggested Europeans could have carried the nonvenereal tropical bacteria home, where the organisms may have mutated into a more deadly form in the different conditions of Europe. Ten thousand British troops and countless Indians died during this pandemic.
As early as , the Spanish Crown organised a mission the Balmis expedition to transport the smallpox vaccine to the Spanish colonies , and establish mass vaccination programs there. The conquest of vast territories brings multitudes of diverse cultures under the central control of the imperial authorities.
From the time of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, this fact has been addressed by empires adopting the concept of universalism, and applying it to their imperial policies towards their subjects far from the imperial capitol. The capitol, the metropole, was the source of ostensibly enlightened policies imposed throughout the distant colonies.
The empire that grew from Greek conquest, particularly by Alexander the Great , spurred the spread of Greek language, religion, science and philosophy throughout the colonies. While most Greeks considered their own culture superior to all others the word barbarian is derived from mutterings that sounded to Greek ears like "bar-bar" , Alexander was unique in promoting a campaign to win the hearts and minds of the Persians. He adopted Persian customs of clothing and otherwise encouraged his men to go native by adopting local wives and learning their mannerisms. Of note is that he radically departed from earlier Greek attempts at colonisation, characterised by the murder and enslavement of the local inhabitants and the settling of Greek citizens from the polis.
Roman universalism was characterised by cultural and religious tolerance and a focus on civil efficiency and the rule of law. Roman law was imposed on both Roman citizens and colonial subjects.
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Although Imperial Rome had no public education , Latin spread through its use in government and trade. Roman law prohibited local leaders to wage war between themselves, which was responsible for the year long Pax Romana , at the time the longest period of peace in history. The Roman Empire was tolerant of diverse cultures and religious practises, even allowing them on a few occasions to threaten Roman authority.
Settlers acted as the link between indigenous populations and the imperial hegemony, thus bridging the geographical, ideological and commercial gap between the colonisers and colonised. While the extent in which geography as an academic study is implicated in colonialism is contentious, geographical tools such as cartography , shipbuilding , navigation , mining and agricultural productivity were instrumental in European colonial expansion. Colonisers' awareness of the Earth's surface and abundance of practical skills provided colonisers with a knowledge that, in turn, created power.
Anne Godlewska and Neil Smith argue that "empire was 'quintessentially a geographical project ' ". Political geographers also maintain that colonial behaviour was reinforced by the physical mapping of the world, therefore creating a visual separation between "them" and "us". Geographers are primarily focused on the spaces of colonialism and imperialism; more specifically, the material and symbolic appropriation of space enabling colonialism.
Maps played an extensive role in colonialism, as Bassett would put it "by providing geographical information in a convenient and standardised format, cartographers helped open West Africa to European conquest, commerce, and colonisation". Social norms and values had an effect on the constructing of maps. During colonialism map-makers used rhetoric in their formation of boundaries and in their art. The rhetoric favoured the view of the conquering Europeans; this is evident in the fact that any map created by a non-European was instantly regarded as inaccurate.
Furthermore, European cartographers were required to follow a set of rules which led to ethnocentrism; portraying one's own ethnicity in the centre of the map. As Harley would put it "The steps in making a map — selection, omission, simplification, classification, the creation of hierarchies, and 'symbolisation' — are all inherently rhetorical. A common practice by the European cartographers of the time was to map unexplored areas as "blank spaces". This influenced the colonial powers as it sparked competition amongst them to explore and colonise these regions. Imperialists aggressively and passionately looked forward to filling these spaces for the glory of their respective countries.
David Livingstone stresses "that geography has meant different things at different times and in different places" and that we should keep an open mind in regards to the relationship between geography and colonialism instead of identifying boundaries. A colony is a part of an empire and so colonialism is closely related to imperialism. Assumptions are that colonialism and imperialism are interchangeable, however Robert J. Young suggests that imperialism is the concept while colonialism is the practice. Colonialism is based on an imperial outlook, thereby creating a consequential relationship.
Through an empire, colonialism is established and capitalism is expanded, on the other hand a capitalist economy naturally enforces an empire. In the next section Marxists make a case for this mutually reinforcing relationship.
Marxism views colonialism as a form of capitalism, enforcing exploitation and social change. Marx thought that working within the global capitalist system, colonialism is closely associated with uneven development. It is an "instrument of wholesale destruction, dependency and systematic exploitation producing distorted economies, socio-psychological disorientation, massive poverty and neocolonial dependency".
The search for raw materials and the current search for new investment opportunities is a result of inter-capitalist rivalry for capital accumulation. Lenin regarded colonialism as the root cause of imperialism, as imperialism was distinguished by monopoly capitalism via colonialism and as Lyal S. Sunga explains: "Vladimir Lenin advocated forcefully the principle of self-determination of peoples in his "Theses on the Socialist Revolution and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination" as an integral plank in the programme of socialist internationalism" and he quotes Lenin who contended that "The right of nations to self-determination implies exclusively the right to independence in the political sense, the right to free political separation from the oppressor nation.
Specifically, this demand for political democracy implies complete freedom to agitate for secession and for a referendum on secession by the seceding nation. In his critique of colonialism in Africa, the Guyanese historian and political activist Walter Rodney states:. According to Lenin , the new imperialism emphasised the transition of capitalism from free trade to a stage of monopoly capitalism to finance capital. He states it is, "connected with the intensification of the struggle for the partition of the world". As free trade thrives on exports of commodities, monopoly capitalism thrived on the export of capital amassed by profits from banks and industry.
This, to Lenin, was the highest stage of capitalism. He goes on to state that this form of capitalism was doomed for war between the capitalists and the exploited nations with the former inevitably losing.
War is stated to be the consequence of imperialism. As a continuation of this thought G. Uzoigwe states, "But it is now clear from more serious investigations of African history in this period that imperialism was essentially economic in its fundamental impulses. Fox and William Ewart Gladstone. During the colonial era, the global process of colonisation served to spread and synthesize the social and political belief systems of the "mother-countries" which often included a belief in a certain natural racial superiority of the race of the mother-country.
Colonialism also acted to reinforce these same racial belief systems within the "mother-countries" themselves. Usually also included within the colonial belief systems was a certain belief in the inherent superiority of male over female, however this particular belief was often pre-existing amongst the pre-colonial societies, prior to their colonisation. European studies along these lines gave rise to the perception that African women's anatomy, and especially genitalia, resembled those of mandrills, baboons, and monkeys, thus differentiating colonised Africans from what were viewed as the features of the evolutionarily superior, and thus rightfully authoritarian, European woman.
In addition to what would now be viewed as pseudo-scientific studies of race, which tended to reinforce a belief in an inherent mother-country racial superiority, a new supposedly "science-based" ideology concerning gender roles also then emerged as an adjunct to the general body of beliefs of inherent superiority of the colonial era. Within the former European colonies, non-Europeans and women sometimes faced invasive studies by the colonial powers in the interest of the then prevailing pro-colonial scientific ideology of the day.
We all know the truth: more connects us than separates us. But in times of crisis, the wise build bridges while the foolish build barriers. The Movement now has member countries 8. She is only the fourth female General Assembly President In this edition. Editorial: the colour line 18 October The Facts 18 October Perspectives: colouring our approach 18 October The struggle to eliminate racial discrimination 19 October Let us rise 19 October Online Exclusives. Fifty years of fighting for a better future 22 October The colonial legacy of the right to self-determination 22 October The International Criminal Court: biased or simply misunderstood?
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