Lucy Glossary


This term is often used to describe a harsher form of establishing colonies--not just settling in a new area but taking control of it through military conquest. The invading people exercises political and economic sovereignty on territories that are outside its borders. Colonialism is not unique to modern peoples. Greek city-states established colonies, and so did the Romans as they extended an empire over Europe and the Middle East. Western audiences are most familiar with the explosion of European colonialism that followed the Age of Navigation, the European exploration of the world by sea. England, France, Portugal, and Spain were the main founders of European colonies from the 16th century to the 20th century. In the late 19th century and early 20th century, Japan, Russia, and the United States began to found colonies. Since World War II, many colonized areas have been decolonized.


World War II inspired the movement to encourage the self-determination of peoples. By 1944, the process of decolonization began to occur rapidly. Britain led this wave of change by granting independence to India and Pakistan in 1947. Wars in Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia marred France's decolonization process. Although technically free, many colonies remained economically or politically dependent. This dependence is often termed "neo-colonialism."