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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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Fish pond in Griessie, colonial period.

The Raid on Griessie was a British attack on the Dutch port of Griessie (later renamed Gresik) on Java in the Dutch East Indies in December 1807 during the Napoleonic Wars. The raid was the final action in a series of engagements fought by the British squadron based in the Indian Ocean against the Dutch naval forces in Java, and it completed the destruction of the Dutch squadron with the scuttling of two old ships of the line, the last Dutch warships in the region. The British squadron, under the command of Rear-Admiral Sir Edward Pellew, sought to eliminate the Dutch in an effort to safeguard the trade route with China, which ran through the Straits of Malacca and were in range of Dutch raiders operating from the principal Javan port of Batavia. In the summer of 1806, British frigates reconnoitred Javan waters and captured two Dutch frigates, encouraging Pellew to lead a major attack on Batavia that destroyed the last Dutch frigate and several smaller warships. On the morning of 5 December 1807, a second raiding squadron under Pellew appeared off Griessie and demanded that the Dutch squadron in the harbour surrender. The Dutch commander, Captain Cowell, refused, and seized the boat party that had carried the message. Pellew responded by advancing up the river and exchanging fire with a gun battery on Madura Island, at which point the governor in Sourabaya overruled Captain Cowell, released the seized boat party and agreed to surrender the ships at anchor in Griessie harbour. By the time Pellew reached the anchorage however, Cowell had scuttled all of the ships in shallow water, and Pellew was only able to set the wreckage on fire. Landing shore parties, the British destroyed all military supplies in the town and demolished the battery on Madura. With the destruction of the force in Griessie, the last of the Dutch naval forces in the Pacific were eliminated. British forces returned to the region in 1810 with a large scale expeditionary force that successfully invaded and captured Java in 1811, removing the last Dutch colony east of Africa.


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Beijing Castle Boxer Rebellion 1900 FINAL.jpg
Credit: Torajirō Kasai

A 1900 print depicting a battle between allied British and Japanese troops against Chinese combatants at Beijing Castle during the Boxer Rebellion.

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The Ryukyu Islands, where explorers were sent by Andrade.

Captain Fernão Pires de Andrade (died September 1523) was a Portuguese merchant, pharmacist, and official diplomat under the explorer and Malacca governor Afonso de Albuquerque. His encounter with the Ming Dynasty in 1517—after initial contacts by Jorge Álvares and Rafael Perestrello in 1513 and 1516, respectively—marked the beginning of direct European commercial and diplomatic contact with China (following medieval trade communities and Marco Polo's travels). Although the mission was initially a success that led the embassy all the way to Beijing, relations were soon soiled by culminating events that led to an extremely negative impression of the Portuguese in China. This included acts of his brother Simão that enraged the Chinese, false reports of the Portuguese being cannibals of kidnapped Chinese children and true reports of their conquest of Malacca, a loyal Ming tributary vassal state. Normalized trade and relations between Portugal and the Ming Dynasty would not resume until the late 1540s and the 1557 establishment of Portuguese rule over Macau.

Andrade was referred to as a "Folangji" (佛郎機) in Ming dynastic archives. Folangji comes from Franques or Franks, which was a generic name the Muslims called Europeans since the Crusades, and which spawned the Indian-Southeast Asian term ferengi. The Chinese adopted the convention when they first thought the Portuguese were related to those Muslim guides and interpreters during Fernão's first encounter and before Europeans directly convened with Chinese.


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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