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Colonialism occurs when a country (nation) takes control of other lands, regions, or territories outside of its borders (boundaries of the country) by turning those other lands, regions, or territories into a colony. Usually, it is a more powerful, richer country that takes control of a smaller, less powerful region or territory. Sometimes the word "imperialism" is also used to refer to colonialism.

In the 1700s and 1800s, many of the richer, more powerful European countries (such as Britain, France, Spain, and the Netherlands) established colonies in the continents of Africa, South America, and the Caribbean.

Some countries use colonialism to get more land for their people to live in. When countries are using colonialism to get more land for their people to live in, the country will help settlers move to the new area. The local people living in the land or territories were usually moved away by using force and violence from armies. To protect these settlers from the local residents who were pushed aside, colonial nations often set up a military fort or colonial police system.

Other countries use colonialism to get more land so that they can use the land for farming or to extract (take out) resources such as trees (wood), coal, or metals. or creating a local government or military fort

Other countries use colonialism so that they can get workers from the poorer country to work in factories or farms (either in the richer country, or in the poorer country). In the past, powerful countries that were colonizing poorer countries or regions often forced the people from the poorer countries to work as slaves.


Ancient colonies

The Phoenicians the Ancient Greeks expanded their territories by using colonialism. Ancient Greece was not a country. It was made of many cities. Each city was a country of its own, with a government in place. Some city-states were monarchies, others elected (part of) the people who governed by (part of) the people who were citizens of that city, and who lived there. This is called democracy.

Those cities also fought wars against each other and traded goods. To get more influence, or to secure a trade route, the city would send people called settlers to a new place. These people would then make a new city called a colony . The cities had to pay some form of taxes to the old city, in exchange for protection, for example.

If the settlers found a local tribe living in the new territory, they would wage war against it to force them to leave. The local tribe was usually made into slaves. The new colony would exploit the land it found, by growing crops or by raising cattle.

Types of colonialism

There are several different types of colonialism. Some countries that expanded their territory used Settler colonies. Some countries that started out as settler colonies include the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Argentina. In all of these countries, people from European countries moved to the new region, and forced the local people )(the indigenous peoples, such as Indians, Maori, etc.) to move. When the local people or tribes had to move, it caused a lot of problems.

In some regions which were colonized, the settlers married the local people and had children with them. An example is Mexico, where a new people called the mestizos came from the marriages of the settlers and the local tribes. In other regions which were colonized, the settlers and the local people lived in separate areas, without living together or marrying. An example of this situation is French Algeria (when France colonized the African country of Algeria) or Southern Rhodesia.

Another type of colonialism is when a powerful country sets up (establishes) dependencies. With a dependency, the colonizing country does not send over thousands of settlers to the new territory. Indstead, the colonizing country sets up administrators (a governing organization) that controls the existing local (native) populations or tribes. Examples include the British Raj,(geraldine) in which the British government controlled India; the Dutch East Indies, in which the Netherlands controlled parts of the East Indies; and the Japanese colonial empire, in which Japan controlled Asian territories.

With the plantation colony, the powerful, rich country use the poorer country's land to grow crops. The local people are forced to become slaves and work on the farms. Examples of plantation colonies include Barbados, Saint-Domingue and Jamaica.

Another type of colony is the trading post colony. Rich and powerful countries set up trading post colonies so that there would be a territory where trading, selling, and business could be conducted. The rich and powerful countries usually set up military forts or police forces to enforce the rules and laws of the colonizing country. Examples of trading colonies include Macau, Malacca, Deshima and Singapore.

World map of colonialism at the end of the Second World War in 1945.

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