Colonial exhibition

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Counter exposition to the 1931 Colonial Exhibition in Paris.
Map of the 1894 Lyon fair
Overview of 1896 exhibition
Postcard from Brussels International
Postcard of the Palais d'expositions at Hanoi Exhibition
Postcard of the Annam Tower built for the exhibition.
Bird's eye view of the Franco-British exhibition
The Royal Agricultural Hall site of the rubber exhibition
Replica of Canada Parliament Building at Festival of Empire
Poster for the exhibition
A season ticket pass section showing logo
Overview of the colonial exhibition of Semarang.
The Palace of Industry building from British Empire Exhibition
"Le Cactus" at the 1931 French exhibition

A colonial exhibition was a type of international exhibition intended to boost trade and bolster popular support for the various colonial empires during the New Imperialism period, which started in the 1880s with the scramble for Africa.

The British Empire Exhibition of 1924–5, held at Wembley Park in north-west London, ranked among these expositions, but perhaps the most notable was the rather successful 1931 Paris Colonial Exposition, which lasted six months and sold 33 million tickets.[1] Paris's Colonial Exhibition debuted on 6 May 1931, and encompassed 110 hectares of the Bois de Vincennes. The exhibition included dozens of temporary museums and façades representing the various colonies of the European nations, as well as several permanent buildings. Among these were the Palais de la Porte Dorée, designed by architect Albert Laprode, which then housed the Musée permanent des Colonies, and serves today as the Cité nationale de l'histoire de l'immigration.[1]

An anti-colonial counter-exhibition was held near the 1931 Colonial Exhibition, titled Truth on the Colonies and was organized by the French Communist Party. The first section was dedicated to the crimes made during the colonial conquests, and quoted Albert Londres and André Gide's criticisms of forced labour while the second one made an apology of the Soviets' "nationalities' policy" compared to "imperialist colonialism".

Germany and Portugal also staged colonial exhibitions, as well as Belgium, which had a Foire coloniale as late as 1948. Human zoos were featured in some of these exhibitions, such as in the Parisian 1931 exhibition.[2]


Empire of Japan hosted colonial showcases in exhibitions within the Home Islands, but also held several full-scale expositions inside its colonies of Korea and Taiwan. These exhibitions did however have objectives comparable to that of their European counterparts, in that they highlighted economic achievements and social progress under Japanese colonial rule to Japanese and colonial subjects alike.

Colonial exhibitions[edit]

Exhibitions which may be described as colonial exhibitions include:

Name of exhibition Date Location Country Notes
Intercolonial Exhibition of Australasia 1866 Melbourne  Australia
Intercolonial Exhibition[3] 1870 Sydney Included printwork by Helena Scott
Victorian Intercolonial Exhibition[3] 1875 Melbourne
Intercolonial Exhibition 1876 Brisbane
Internationale Koloniale en Uitvoerhandel Tentoonstelling 1883 Amsterdam  Netherlands
Colonial and Indian Exhibition 1886 London  United Kingdom
Exposition Universelle 1889 Paris  France
Exposition internationale et coloniale 1894 Lyon
Exposição Insular e Colonial Portuguesa 1894 Oporto  Portugal
Great Industrial Exposition 1896 Berlin  Germany
Exposition nationale et coloniale 1896 Rouen  France
Brussels International 1897 Brussels  Belgium
Exposition internationale et coloniale 1898 Rochefort  France
Hanoi exhibition 1902 Hanoi  French Indochina
United States, Colonial and International Exposition[citation needed] 1902 New York City  United States
Marseille colonial exhibition (fr) 1906 Marseille  France
Exposition Coloniale 1907 Paris
Franco-British Exhibition 1908 London  United Kingdom The exhibition celebrated the Entente Cordiale signed in 1904 by the United Kingdom and France.
Festival of Empire 1911
Exposition Universelle 1910 Brussels  Belgium
International exhibition of marine and maritime hygiene 1914 Genoa  Italy
Colonial Exhibition 1914 Semarang  Dutch East Indies Intended to "give a comprehensive picture of the Dutch Indies in their present prosperous condition".[4]
Korea Trade Fair 1915 Seoul Japan Japanese Korea
International Exhibition of Rubber and Other Tropical Products 1921 London  United Kingdom
Exposition nationale coloniale 1922 Marseille  France
British Empire Exhibition 1924 London  United Kingdom
Korea Exhibition 1929 Seoul Japan Japanese Korea
Exposition internationale coloniale, maritime et d'art flamand 1930 Antwerp[5]  Belgium
Paris Colonial Exposition 1931 Paris  France A six-month exhibition that attempted to display the diverse cultures and immense resources of France's colonial possessions.
Exposição Colonial Portuguesa 1934 Porto  Portugal
Taiwan Exhibition 1935 Taipei Japan Japanese Formosa
Empire Exhibition 1936 Johannesburg  South Africa The Empire Exhibition held in Johannesburg from 15 September 1936 to 15 January 1937 was the first time the Empire Exhibition was held outside of Britain.[6] It was seen as an opportunity for the expansion of British trade.[7] It coincided with Johannesburg's Jubilee and was staged on a grand scale, with over twenty acres of industrial and commercial exhibits.[8] It was opened by the Governor-General.[9]
Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne 1937 Paris  France
Empire Exhibition 1938 Glasgow  United Kingdom
Deutsche Kolonial Ausstellung 1939 Dresden  Nazi Germany
Exposição do Mundo Português 1940 Lisbon  Portugal Held primarily as a celebration of the Estado Novo. One foreign nation, Brazil, participated in the exhibition.
Foire coloniale 1948 Brussels  Belgium
Entrance to the Korea Exhibition, Seoul, 1929

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Blevis, Laure; Lafout-Couturieur, Hélène; et al. (2008). 1931: Les Étrangers au temps de l'Exposition Coloniale. Paris: Gallimard. 
  2. ^ "From human zoos to colonial apotheoses: the era of exhibiting the Other". Centro de Estudos Sociais. Retrieved 2014-02-03. 
  3. ^ a b Pelle, Findling, ed. (2008). "Appendix D:Fairs Not Included". Encyclopedia of World's Fairs and Expositions. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 423. ISBN 978-0-7864-3416-9. 
  4. ^ "Calendar". The Independent. 13 Jul 1914. Retrieved 5 August 2012. 
  5. ^ Pelle, Findling, ed. (2008). "Appendix B:Fair Statistics". Encyclopedia of World's Fairs and Expositions. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 415. ISBN 978-0-7864-3416-9. 
  6. ^ "Lexicon - Empire Exhibition". Retrieved December 5, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Empire Exhibition at Johannesburg". Nature. 137: 182. doi:10.1038/137182a0. 
  8. ^ "Souvenir Catalogue,Empire Exhibition, Johannesburg (1936)". Retrieved January 30, 2016. 
  9. ^ "British Pathe News: South Africa's Empire Exhibition". Retrieved January 30, 2016. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Alexander C.T. Geppert, Fleeting Cities. Imperial Expositions in Fin-de-Siècle Europe, Basingstoke/New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

External links[edit]