Colonization (or colonisation) occurs whenever there is a large-scale migration of any one or more groups of people to a colonial area. The migrants, who can also be called colonizers, keep "strong links" with their previous country, and thus obtain privileges over other people living in the area being colonized.
The term is derived from the Latin word colere, which means to "to inhabit". Also, colonization refers strictly to migration, for example, to settler colonies in America or Australia, trading posts, and plantations, while colonialism deals with this, along with ruling the existing indigenous peoples of styled "new territories". So, colonization is a narrower category than the related concept of colonialism.
Colonization was linked to the spread of tens of millions of Europeans all over the world. In many settled colonies, European settlers formed a large majority of the population. Examples include the Americas, Australia and New Zealand. These colonies were occasionally called 'neo-Europes'. In other places, European settlers formed minority groups, who were often dominant and privileged in their places of settlement.
When European settlers started to settle land such as Australia, they regarded such landmasses as terra nullius. Terra nullius means 'empty land' in Latin. In other words, the settlers treated the land as uninhabited and a "clean slate" for colonization and colonial rule. However, these ideas were untrue, as such landmasses were often inhabited by indigenous populations. For example, it was estimated that there were 350,000 native people in Australia during the time when Europeans tried to conquer Australia. A similar process of appropriating land by colonizers can be observed in the late nineteenth century during the colonization of West Africa by Europe.The accepted practice among cartographers at the time was to display unexplored landscapes as "blank spaces". Instead of interpreting "blank spaces" as limited geographical knowledge imperialists saw them as vacant spaces awaiting colonists. Public perception of "blank spaces" was consistent with that of the colonizers; the illusion of "blank spaces" proved to be a successful trick. Laws encouraging the colonization of the Americas, such as Mexico's General Colonization Law were implemented from the 1820s.
- 1 Historical colonizations
- 2 Modern colonization
- 3 Hypothetical or fictional types of colonization
- 4 See also
- 5 Notes and references
- 6 Bibliography
In ancient times, maritime nations such as the city-states of Greece and Phoenicia often established colonies to farm what they believed was uninhabited land. Land suitable for farming was often occupied by migratory 'barbarian tribes' who lived by hunting and gathering. To ancient Greeks and Phoenicians, these lands were regarded as simply vacant. However, this did not mean that conflict did not exist between the colonizers and local/native peoples. Greeks and Phoenicians also established colonies with the intent of regulating and expanding trade throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East.
In North Africa and West Asia, the Romans often conquered what they regarded as 'civilized' peoples. As they moved north into Europe, they mostly encountered rural peoples/tribes with very little in the way of cities. In these areas, waves of Roman colonization often followed the conquest of the areas.
Many of the current cities throughout Europe began as Roman colonies, such as Köln (Cologne), Germany, originally called Colonia Claudia by the Romans; and the British capital city of London which the Romans founded as Londinium.
The decline and collapse of the Roman Empire saw (and was partly caused by) the large-scale movement of people in Eastern Europe and Asia. This is largely seen as beginning with nomadic horsemen from Asia (specifically the Huns) moving into the richer pasture land to the west, thus forcing the local peoples there to move further west and so on until eventually the Goths were forced to cross into the Roman Empire, resulting in continuous war with Rome which played a major role in the fall of the Roman Empire. During this period there were the large-scale movements of peoples establishing new colonies all over western Europe. The events of this time saw the development of many of the modern day nations of Europe like the Franks in France and Germany and the Anglo-Saxons in England.
The Vikings of Scandinavia also carried out a large-scale colonization. The Vikings are best known as raiders, setting out from their original homelands in Denmark, southern Norway and southern Sweden, to pillage the coastlines of northern Europe. In time, the Vikings began trading, and established colonies. The Vikings discovered Iceland and established colonies before moving onto Greenland, where they briefly held some colonies. The Vikings launched an unsuccessful attempt at colonizing an area they called Vinland, which is probably at a site now known as L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland and Labrador, on the eastern coastline of Canada.
Modern "Colonial Era" colonialism
"Colonialism" in this context refers mostly to Western European countries' colonization of lands mainly in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania; The main European countries active in this form of colonization included Spain, Portugal, France, the Kingdom of England, the Netherlands, and, beginning in the 18th century, Great Britain and the United States. Most of these countries had a period of almost complete power in world trade at some stage in the era from roughly 1500 to 1900.
While many European colonization schemes focused on shorter-term exploitation of economic opportunities (Newfoundland, for example, or Siberia) or addressed specific goals (Massachusetts or New South Wales), a tradition also developed of careful long-term social planning based on elaborate theory-building (note James Oglethorpe's Colony of Georgia in the 1730s and Edward Gibbon Wakefield's New Zealand in the 1840s).
Colonization of Europe
Some scholars and analysts describe contemporary Muslim immigration to Europe as a process of colonization. Rauf Ceylan describes the Turkish communities of Germany as "ethnic colonies". Robert S. Leiken describes Muslim immigrant communities in Great Britain as "something like a Muslim internal colony," in which the immigrant becomes "not so much a member of British society, as a colonial of his clan and village". Hans Magnus Enzensberger also uses the language of colonization. Christopher Caldwell writes that "'colonization' well describes the influx of the past half-century" [1965-2015?]. First, because of the scale of the phenomenon, and, more significantly according to Caldwell, because the "terms" of the transformation are "set by the immigrants".
Colonization may be used as a method of absorbing and assimilating foreign people into the culture of the imperial country, and thus destroying any remnant of the foreign cultures (witness the Residential Schools for Indian children in North America, 1880-1990: see Canada's Truth and Reconciliation report of June 2, 2015) that might threaten the imperial territory over the long term by inspiring rebellion. During the Russian Empire, a policy of Russification was followed, in order to impose the Russian language and culture on conquered people in territory adjacent to Russia itself. In this way, the Russian Empire aimed to gradually, and permanently, expand its territory by erasing foreign cultures. Foreign languages within its territory were banned, as were foreign religions. The policy of Russification continued under the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Ethnic Russians were sent to colonize captured territory such as Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, while local languages, religions and customs were banned or suppressed. Population transfer in the Soviet Union was also used both as a military strategy to extinguish opposition to Soviet expansion, and as a continuation of the Russification policy of assimilating, or failing that, eliminating ethnic minorities through exile to a distant territory such as Siberia.
In some cases, expatriate niches do set up permanently in target countries but whether this can be rightly called colonization is debatable precisely because of the ambiguity of intentions behind the movement and settling of expatriates and in many cases (especially when not gathered into a niche per se) expatriates do not necessarily seek to "expand their native civilization", but rather to integrate into the population of the new civilization. It must be recognized that expatriates are different from exiles and often there is very little if no relationship between them. Exiles are more often than not diasporic or displaced communities or persons who have fled their native territory or homeland to somewhere else and are usually in this position due to the results of war or other major political upheavals and sometimes this includes the influence of colonization.
Many human colonists came to colonies as slaves, so the legal power to leave or remain may not be the issue so much as the actual presence of the people in the new country.
Many advanced nations currently have large numbers of guest workers/temporary work visa holders who are brought in to do seasonal work such as harvesting or to do low-paid manual labor. Guest workers or contractors have a lower status than workers with visas, because guest workers can be removed at any time for any reason.
During the mid 20th century, there was the most dramatic and devastating attempt at colonization, and that was pursued with Nazism. Hitler and Heinrich Himmler and their supporters schemed for a mass migration of Germans to Eastern Europe, where some of the Germans were to become colonists, having control over the native people. These indigenous people were planned to be reduced to slaves or wholly annihilated.
Hypothetical or fictional types of colonization
Colonization of Antarctica
Related ideas such as the floating city are much less hypothetical - funds are presently being sought to build several large ships that would have permanent populations of up to 50,000 people each.
In science fiction, space colonization is sometimes more benign. Humans find an uninhabited planet, and inhabit it. The colonization of Mars is an often-used example of this type of space colonization. In more recent science fiction, humans may create habitable space (by terraforming or constructing a space habitat) and call that a "colony".
On the other hand, if a planet were found to be already inhabited, much less benign consequences ensue: indeed, some science fiction authors have used the colonization of alien planets by humans, or the colonization of Earth by aliens, to explore the real-world issues surrounding the phenomenon. Such works include those of Mary Doria Russell, The Sparrow and Children of God.
The ultimate form of space colonization is the Kardashev scale which assumes that a single dominant civilization will take over all energy on one planet, then one star, then a whole galaxy full of stars. However, this would not necessarily be so if other species were to be discovered during a galactic expansion. This may require more than one species to share the galactic space with each other as they both develop.
Notes and references
- Howe, Stephen (2002). Empire: A Very Short Introduction. United States: Oxford University Press. pp. 21–31.
- Marcy Rockman, James Steele (2003). The Colonization of Unfamiliar Landscapes. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-25606-2.
- Painter, Joe; Jeffrey, Alex (2009). Political Geography. London, GBR: SAGE Publications Ltd. p. 169.
- Bassett, Thomas J. (July 1994). [: http://www.jstor.org/stable/215456 . "Cartography and Empire Building in Nineteenth-Century West Africa"]. Geographical Review 84 (American Geographical Society): 324.
- The Great Tibetan Stonewall of China, ISBN 1902681118, page 141
- China's Tibet: The World's Largest Remaining Colony: Report of a Fact-Finding Mission and Analyses of Colonialism and Chinese Rule in Tibet. The Hague: UNPO (Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization). 1997.
- Morgan, Philip D. (2011). "Lowcountry Georgia and the Early Modern Atlantic World, 1733-ca. 1820". In Morgan, Philip D. African American Life in the Georgia Lowcountry: The Atlantic World and the Gullah Geechee. Race in the Atlantic World, 1700-1900 Series. University of Georgia Press. p. 16. ISBN 9780820343075. Retrieved 2013-08-04.
[...] Georgia represented a break with the past. As one scholar has noted. it was 'a preview of the later doctrines of "systematic colonization" advocated by Edward Gibbon Wakefield and others for the settlement of Australia and New Zealand.' In contrast to such places as Jamaica and South Carolina, the trustees intended Georgia as 'a regular colony', orderly, methodical, disciplined [...]
- Christopher Caldwell, "Europe’s Other Crisis", The New Republic, May 4, 2012.
- Leiken, Robert S. Europe’s Angry Muslims: The Revolt of the Second Generation, Oxford University Press, 2012.
- Howe, Stephen (2002). Empire: A Very Short Introduction. United States: Oxford University Press. pp. 59–60.
- Jared Diamond, Guns, germs and steel. A short history of everybody for the last 13'000 years, 1997.
- Ankerl Guy, Coexisting Contemporary Civilizations: Arabo-Muslim, Bharati, Chinese, and Western, INUPress, Geneva, 2000. ISBN 2-88155-004-5.