The colonialism is the establishment and maintenance , for a long time, the domain over a foreign people who are separate and subordinate to the ruling power. Colonialism is identified with the domination that is exercised over peoples of different ethnicities that inhabit separate lands, in other words it means the direct political control of those over peoples of other ethnicities . It then implies domination using the force of the local population that lives in a territory over another region or nation , alien or that is far from the power. colonizer , and the settlement of the colonizer in the new conquered territory.


What is colonialism?

Colonialism is a political system of political and military domination through which a power or metropolis exercises direct control over another territory. It is also known as colonialism to the tendency to establish and maintain colonies.

  • What is colonialism?
  • History
  • Characteristics of colonialism
  • Types
  • Causes
  • Consequences
  • Advantage
  • Disadvantages
  • Examples of colonialism

What is colonialism?

Colonialism consists in the subjugation by a power against a people and against its political system , its institutions, its culture, and it can even dominate its language and religion, in addition to administering and exploiting its economic resources without consideration . In this way, the colonial territories become completely dependent on the metropolis in many aspects, mainly in political , economic and military matters , and these peoples do not enjoy any type of freedom or the right to self – determination.. In fact, the people who inhabit the town generally do not even have the same rights as the colonizing town.



The term has been used since the time of Ancient Greece , although there are different ways of calling it, for example in the old Greek colonies and America the term ” colonization ” was used instead of colonialism, this because the colonized territories were not subordinate to the metropolis , and the inhabitants were considered as citizens of the European power.

Egypt , Babylon, and Persia were the most important empires in the ancient world that used colonialism. For example, Phenicia , was a town of explorers and merchants, and is seen as the first colonizing nation.

The colonialism that occurred in modern Europe had its beginning in the 15th century and can be divided into two phases: the first, from approximately 1415 to 1800, and the second, almost from the year 1800 to World War II . In the first stage, Western Europe, dominated by Spain and Portugal, managed to reach the East Indies and America; In the second stage, Great Britain began the expansion of Europe into Asia, Africa and the Pacific.

The second colonial stage can be divided into two periods: the first covers from 1815 to 1880 approximately; and the second, from 1880 to 1914. The first colonization did not have a logical pattern geographically and there was no desire to acquire new territories on the part of the metropolises.

Characteristics of colonialism

The main characteristics of colonialism are the following:

  • It arises when the invasion of one town occurs to another and submits it.
  • The invading town integrates the town and consolidates it as the dominant group that it is.
  • The culture of the people that invades prevails over the people that are invaded.
  • There is a great exploitation of natural resources .
  • There is the submission and over-exploitation of the people who inhabit the country that has been invaded.
  • There is a European cultural dominance .


Historians often distinguish four forms of colonialism which are:

  • The settler colonialism : this type involves immigration on a large scale, motivated by reasons religious , political or economic . Find a way to replace the original population.
  • The colonial exploitation : focuses on the exploitation of natural resources or the population as labor for the benefit of the metropolis . This category includes trading posts and large colonies where settlers form the political and economic administration .
  • The colonialism substitution : involves a proposed settlement supported by a colonial power, in which most settlers do not come from the same ethnic group that ruling power.
  • The internal colonialism : a notion of structural power which has differences between areas of a state. The source of exploitation comes from the interior of the state.


Colonization was a way for European countries to win land to exploit economically , and to exercise their political control over them. The main causes of colonialism are:

  • Economic : we have to bear in mind that the Industrial Revolution had led to the creation of new machines that consumed a series of raw materials that were already in short supply in Europe. For this reason, the powers decided to exploit to the maximum those areas where the underdeveloped countries did not use these materials.
  • Political factors : long ago the governor who had several territories gained a reputation for what they tried to colonize as many towns as possible.
  • Ideological causes : the nationalists defended their ideology and their superiority over other peoples. For them it was important to civilize other nations, mainly in Africa and Asia and that is why they imposed education programs. This is the reason why racism grew in Europe.
  • Demography : the high birth rate caused too much population that caused survival tensions which made emigration open the way to release tensions.


The consequences left by colonialism were:

  • The economic interests of the colonizers were imposed on the colonies .
  • The indigenous people were subjected and the living conditions were worse.
  • Western culture caused the identity of indigenous cultures to be lost .
  • The mortality dropped.
  • The increase in population caused an imbalance in the population.
  • The arbitrary layout of the borders caused great conflicts.
  • The officials of the metropolis seized the economic resources.


With the imposition of colonialism, some advantages were obtained that we will mention below:

  • There was a further development of tropical medicine .
  • Democracy was developed by introducing normal democratic character in the colonies.
  • There was an internationalization of the different languages or languages .
  • Modern art emerged .
  • Brutal governments were evicted .


Among the major disadvantages that occurred with respect to the imposition of colonialism we mention:

  • The way to rule was through a monarchy .
  • The Creoles had no possibility of holding positions within politics.
  • Overexploitation
  • The riches of the towns were taken to Spain.
  • Food shortage .
  • Deforestation of land resulting from mining.
  • Discrimination of ethnic groups .
  • The enrichment of the church .
  • The education was in the hands of the church.

Examples of colonialism

Some examples of towns that were colonized are:

  • India that previously belonged to the British colony.
  • China that was once British.
  • French Guiana
  • Netherlands Antilles
  • Guadeloupe
  • Cayman Islands
  • US Virgin Islands

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