A political-economic phenomenon whereby various European nations explored, conquered, settled, and exploited large areas of the world.
The purposes of colonialism included economic exploitation of the colony's natural resources, creation of new markets for the colonizer, and extension of the colonizer's way of life beyond its national borders.
In the years 1500 – 1900 Europe colonized all of North and South America and Australia, most of Africa, and much of Asia by sending settlers to populate the land or by taking control of governments. The first colonies were established in the Western Hemisphere by the Spanish and Portuguese in the 15th ...view middle of the document...
Colonialism and imperialism are ideologically linked with mercantilism.
The 2006 Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy "uses the term 'colonialism' to describe the process of European settlement and political control over the rest of the world, including Americas, Australia, and parts of Africa and Asia." It discusses the distinction between colonialism and imperialism and states that "[g]iven the difficulty of consistently distinguishing between the two terms, this entry will use colonialism as a broad concept that refers to the project of European political domination from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries that ended with the national liberation movements of the 1960s.”
Jürgen Osterhammel, Colonialism: A Theoretical Overview
Colonialism is a relationship between an indigenous (or forcibly imported) majority and a minority of foreign invaders. The fundamental decisions affecting the lives of the colonised people are made and implemented by the colonial rulers in pursuit of interests that are often defined in a distant metropolis.
Rejecting cultural compromises with the colonised population, the colonisers are convinced of their own superiority and their ordained mandate to rule.
Types of Colonialism
Historians often distinguish between two forms of colonialism, yet the two are not mutually exclusive:
1. Settler colonialism involves large scale emigration often motivated by religious, political, or economic reasons.
2. Exploitation colonialism involves fewer colonists where the focus is access to resources for export, typically to the metropole. This category includes trading posts as well as larger colonies where colonists would constitute much of the political and economic administration; but rely on indigenous resources for labour and material. When indigenous labour was unavailable, slaves were often imported prior to the end of the slave trade and widespread abolition. Plantation colonies 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.
Colonialism often took place in pre-populated areas. This gave rise to culturally and ethnically mixed populations such as the mestizos of the Americas, as well as racially divided populations as found in French Algeria or Southern Rhodesia.
Modern colonialism started with the Age of Discovery. Portugal and Spain discovered new lands across the oceans and built trading posts. 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 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).
This period is also associated with the Commercial Revolution. The late Middle Ages saw reforms in accountancy and...