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Showcased content about colonialism

The Pith helmet (in this case, of the Second French Empire) is an iconic representation of colonialism.

Colonialism is the building and maintaining of colonies in one territory by people from another territory. Colonialism is a process whereby sovereignty over the colony is claimed by the metropole and social structure, government and economics within the territory of the colony are changed by the colonists. Colonialism is a certain set of unequal relationships, between metropole and colony and between colonists and the indigenous population.

Colonialism normally refers to a period of history from the 15th to the 20th century when people from Europe established colonies on other continents. The reasons for the practice of colonialism at this time include:

Some colonists also felt they were helping the indigenous population by bringing them civilization. However, the reality was often subjugation, displacement or death. Colonialism and imperialism were ideologically linked with mercantilism.

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Inside Groß-Friedrichsburg, February 1884.

Brandenburg-Prussia is the historiographic denomination for the Early Modern realm of the Brandenburgian Hohenzollerns between 1618 and 1701. Based in the Electorate of Brandenburg, the main branch of the Hohenzollern intermarried with the branch ruling the Duchy of Prussia, and secured succession upon the latter's extinction in the male line in 1618. In July 1680, Elector Frederick William I issued orders, and two ships were selected to establish trade contacts with African tribes and explore places where colonies could be established. The ships reached Guinea in January 1681. To facilitate the colonial expeditions, the Brandenburg African Company was founded on 7 March 1682, initially with its headquarters in Berlin and its shipyards in Pillau, since 1683 in Emden. Overall, the colony of Brandenburger Gold Coast comprised roughly 50 kilometers of coastline, and did not extend into the hinterland. A second colony was established at the Arguin archipelago off the West African coast (now part of Mauritania). While Arguin did not reach the economic importance of Guinea, it temporarily advanced to the world's primary staple port for rubber. The African colonies enabled Brandenburg-Prussia to participate in the Triangular trade, yet it lacked its own trading post in the Caribbean Sea. In November 1685, a Brandenburg-Danish agreement was reached that allowed the Brandenburg African Company to rent part of Saint Thomas as a base for 30 years, while the sovereignty remained with Denmark and administration with the Danish West Indies and Guinean Company. In 1731, the Brandenburg-Prussian company on Saint Thomas (BAAC) became insolvent, and abandoned the island in 1735. Their last remains were sold by auction in 1738.


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Rajpoots 2.png
Credit: The Illustrated London News

An 1876 engraving of Khokar Rajputs of Punjab, from the Illustrated London News. The British colonial officials in general were impressed by the military qualities of the Rajputs.

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John Horden

Selected biography

Queen Victoria photograph by Alexander Bassano, 1882

Queen Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was the sovereign of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837, and the first Empress of India of the British Raj from 1 May 1876, until her death. At 63 years and 7 months, her reign lasted longer than that of any other British monarch, and is the longest of any female monarch in history. Her reign is known as the Victorian era, and was a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military progress within the United Kingdom.

Victoria was of mostly German descent; she was the daughter of the fourth son of George III, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn. Both the Duke of Kent and George III died a year after her birth, and she inherited the throne at the age of 18 after her father's three elder brothers died without surviving legitimate issue. She ascended the throne when the United Kingdom was already an established constitutional monarchy, in which the king or queen held relatively few direct political powers and exercised influence by the prime minister's advice; but she became the iconic symbol of the nation and empire. She had strict standards of personal morality. Her reign was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire, which reached its zenith and became the foremost global power. Her 9 children and 42 grandchildren married into royal families across the continent, tying them together and earning her the nickname "the grandmother of Europe". She was the last British monarch of the House of Hanover; her son King Edward VII belonged to the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.


Colonialism's rise and fall over the past 500 years.


This map shows Colonization's rise and fall over the past 500 years.


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