Portal:Colonialism

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About colonialism

William Blake, Europe Supported By Africa and America, 1796

Colonialism is the process of expansion and dominance in which a metropole builds and maintains colonies in another territory. Although the form of colonies themselves are influenced by local features and histories, the metropole typically claims full ownership and sovereignty over the social structure, government and economics within the colony. This produces a set of unequal relationships between metropole and colony as well as between colonists and the indigenous population.

The most common use of the term refers to a historical period from the 15th to the 20th century when people from Europe established colonies in the Americas, Africa, Oceania, Asia. The process was typically violent and involved population displacement and the institution of race-based categories of rule. The types of expansion and overseas colonization took many forms, including exploitation colonies to gain natural resources, areas of European population settlement, and smaller maritime enclaves based around trade. Motives for colonialism were also diverse, and included the promise of monetary gain, the desire to expand the power and influence of the metropole, efforts to escape persecution, as well as the wish to spread religious and political philosophies. People, states, and societies that were displaced or destroyed resisted and accommodated the imposition of colonial rule in a variety of ways, ultimately leading to a wave of decolonization in the mid twentieth century through which most (although not all) colonies gained national independence.

Selected article

The Island of Formosa.

The Dutch pacification campaign on Formosa was a series of military actions and diplomatic moves undertaken in 1635 and 1636 by Dutch colonial authorities in Formosa (modern-day Taiwan), aimed at subduing hostile aboriginal villages in the south-western region of the island. Prior to the campaign the Dutch had been in Formosa for eleven years, but did not control much of the island beyond their principal fortress at Tayouan, and an alliance with the town of Sinkan. The other aboriginal villages in the area conducted numerous attacks on the Dutch and their allies, with the chief belligerents being the village of Mattau, who in 1629 ambushed and slaughtered a group of sixty Dutch soldiers. After receiving reinforcements from the colonial headquarters at Batavia, the Dutch launched an attack in 1635 and were able to crush opposition and bring the area around present-day Tainan fully under their control. After seeing Mattau and Soulang, the most powerful villages in the area, defeated so comprehensively, many other villages in the surrounding area came to the Dutch to seek peace and surrender sovereignty to the Europeans. Thus the Dutch were able to dramatically expand the extent of their territorial control in a short space of time, and avoid the need for further fighting. The end of the campaign came in February 1636, when representatives from twenty-eight villages attended a ceremony in Tayouan to cement Dutch sovereignty. The expanded territory provided fertile land, which the Dutch used imported Chinese labour to farm. The aboriginal villages also provided warriors to aid the Dutch in times of trouble, notably in the Lamey Island Massacre of 1636, the Dutch defeat of the Spanish in 1642 and the Guo Huaiyi Rebellion in 1652. The allied villages also provided opportunities for the Dutch missionaries to spread their faith. The pacification campaign is considered the foundation stone on which the later success of the colony was built.


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Falkland Islands topographic map-en.svg
Credit: Eric Gaba

A topographic map of the Falkland Islands, an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean, which Argentine writer Ernesto Sabato called: "the last trace of colonialism."

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John Horden

Selected biography

Dr. Hendrik P. N. Muller

Hendrik Pieter Nicolaas Muller (2 April 1859 in Rotterdam - 11 August 1941 in The Hague, Netherlands) was a Dutch businessman, diplomat, world traveller, publicist, and philanthropist. Muller started his career as a businessman, trading with East and West Africa. In his mid-twenties he travelled to Zanzibar, Mozambique, and South Africa for business purposes, but showed himself a keen ethnographer as well, collecting ethnographic artifacts and writing reports about the societies and people he encountered on his way. In 1890, Muller retired from business for personal reasons, and went to Germany to study ethnography and geography. He graduated with a Ph.D. dissertation four years later. In 1896 he was first appointed consul and later consul general for the Orange Free State. Muller held this position all through the Second Boer War and his high-profiled performance as European representative for this Boer republic won him considerable fame and notoriety, which lasted all his life. After the Treaty of Vereeniging was signed in 1902 Muller retired to a life of travelling and writing for some years, making Muller a household name with his travelbooks. In 1919 the Dutch government appointed him envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to Romania, and later to Czechoslovakia, where he retired in 1932. Muller was a prolific writer. Over the course of his life he published well over two hundred articles, brochures, and books about his travels through the world, about South Africa and the Boers, and about Dutch foreign policy and diplomacy, apart from a range of other subjects. Muller gathered a large fortune with well appointed private investments. He bequeathed his considerable wealth to a private fund in support of academic research and cultural heritage.

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

Colonisation2.gif

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

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