Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

Colonialism, Explained

Colonialism is actually much older than what this author discusses. To trace the history of colonialism, you have to go back to at least the Roman era. Roman colonialism had an impact on indigenous cultures across the Eurasian landmass that was similar to the impact of Western colonialism between the sixteenth and twentieth centuries.

By Jamila Osman

Teen Vogue

Colonialism is defined as “control by one power over a dependent area or people.” In practice, colonialism is when one country violently invades and takes control of another country, claims the land as its own, and sends people — “settlers” — to live on that land.

There were two great waves of colonialism in recorded history. The first wave began in the 15th century, during Europe’s Age of Discovery. During this time, European countries such as Britain, Spain, France, and Portugal colonized lands across North and South America.

The motivations for the first wave of colonial expansion can be summed up as God, Gold, and Glory: God, because missionaries felt it was their moral duty to spread Christianity, and they believed a higher power would reward them for saving the souls of colonial subjects; gold, because colonizers would exploit resources of other countries in order to bolster their own economies; and glory, since European nations would often compete with one another over the glory of attaining the greatest number of colonies.

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