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Colonization and Colonialism, History of,

Colonization and Colonialism, History of,



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Published by Jacobin Parcelle
Encyclopedia Series OF Conflict, War, and Peace : History OF Colonization and Colonialism
Encyclopedia Series OF Conflict, War, and Peace : History OF Colonization and Colonialism

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Published by: Jacobin Parcelle on Feb 17, 2009
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usually selfish and largely economic. But alongsidewas a genuine commitment to the principles of trusteeship and paternal development. Attempts toevaluate the costs and benefits of colonialism coin-cided with its formal ending (Perham 1962), but agrowing revisionist literature, in part reflecting thereduced status of Marxist scholarship, is emphasizingtheadvantagesforthemodernstateoftheenlargementof scale, modern educational and economic practices,and the opportunities provided for some (but not all)by integration into the world economy. Nevertheless,it is equally important to acknowledge the relativeshort period of colonial rule. Davidson (1964)was right to observe: ‘Looking back,one maysee nowthat the colonial period was no more than a largeepisode in the onward movement of…life; in anothersense, it was an unexampled means of revolutionarychange.’
See also
:Colonialism,Anthropology of;Colonizationand Colonialism, History of; Fourth World; He-gemony: Anthropological Aspects; Imperialism, His-tory of; Imperialism: Political Aspects; Nationalism:General; Nationalism, Sociology of; Postcoloniality;Third World
The GreeksO
erseas: Their Early Coloniesand Trade
, 3rd edn. Thames and Hudson, LondonCrozierB1964
. Dufour Editions,Bodley Head,LondonDavidson B 1964
The African Past: Chronicles from Antiquity toModern Times
. Little Brown, BostonHartz L 1964
The Founding of New Societies
. Harcourt, Braceand World, New YorkKirk-Greene A H M 2000
Britain’s Imperial Administrators1858–1966
. St. Martins, New YorkLugard F 1922
The Dual Mandate in British Tropical Africa
.Edinburgh, UKMansergh N, Moon P (eds.) 1970–1983
The Transfer of Power
.Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, LondonMortimer E 1969
France and the Africans
. Faber, LondonPerham M 1962
The Colonial Reckoning
, 1st edn. Knopf, NewYorkRobinson K 1965
The Dilemmas of Trusteeship
. Oxford Uni-versity Press, LondonSaid E W 1978
. Pantheon, New York
R. Hodder-Williams
Colonization and Colonialism, History of 
1. Introduction: Problems of Definition and theSemantic Field 
‘Colonization is [...] a phenomenon of colossal vague-ness’(Osterhammel 1997,p.4), becauseit covers largeand rather different parts of the world and its history.Therefore, a convincing theory of colonization andcolonialism in general or of European colonialism inparticulardoesnotexistandwillprobablyneverexist,because it is not feasible. But scholars have still todefine the concepts they use, because an agreementupon their meaning makes communication possible.
has to do with
, because itdescribesthemovementofpeoplefromonepartoftheworld to another to establish a settlement, quite oftenan agrarian one. In this sense, the term has a neutralconnotation. In contrast,
has become ageneral invective against western policy, especiallysince the Bandung conference of recently decolonizedAsian countries in 1955. In the nineteenth century,however, it was used more or less neutrally tocharacterizetheconditionofcoloniesandthe(speech)habits of colonials (Fieldhouse 1981, p. 6).We have no choice but to accept the change of meaning that
has undergone, though wecan try to neutralize political emotions. In this sense,colonialismcanbedefinedasthecontrolofonepeopleby another, culturally different one, an unequal re-lationship which exploits differences of economic,political, and ideological development between thetwo (Reinhard 1996, p. 1).
instead of 
is used because basically no sophisticated pol-itical organization is necessary on either side. And theterms
are used in a strictlydescriptive sense and without any value judgement.They do not suggest that it is more desirable to havenuclear weapons instead of bow and arrow or thatthere exists a general and ‘normal’ path of humandevelopment with the West at the end. But differencesof development are essential to distinguish colonialrule from
in general. Roman rule over ancientGreece and Russian control of East Germany wereimperial, not colonial.Colonialism, as an unequal relationship betweenhuman groups, very often was the outcome of 
, defined as a political activity with the intentionto establish colonialism. But if the meaning of 
is limited to expansive policy of the nineteenthand twentieth centuries,
colonial expansion
has to beusedtodesignate earlier policies.After
,colonialism as a form of political dependency hasbecome a mere phenomenon of history. But economicand cultural domination by former colonial powerssuchasBritainandFranceontheonehand,andbytheUS and the US controlled world economy on theother,stillexists.Ithasbeenlabeled
.Inthe 1960s and 1970s theories of structural
explained economic underdevelopment as a conse-quence of western economic domination and as self-reproducing without chance of escape because of westerncontroloftheworldeconomy.Severalsuccessstories of former colonies have falsified these theories,but their lesson on informal control as an element of colonialism remains.
such as China orthe Ottoman Empire about 1900 were formally in-2240
Colonialism: Political Aspects
dependent, but in reality under economic and there-fore indirect political control of the West. Westerncolonies in the Americas, in South Africa, and Aus-traliaestablisheda
secondary colonialism
intheir partsof the world. Even in European countries unbalancedinternal group relations as in the case of Britain’s‘celtic fringe’ were qualified as
internal colonialism
(Hind 1984).
2. The History and Geography of Colonizationand Colonialism
The expansion of Europe between the fifteenth andtwentieth centuries was one of the most momentousprocesses of history. World history in the sense of global history became possible only through thatprocess, because no part of the world escaped thedirectorindirectimpactofEurope.In1914halfoftheland surface of the earth and one-third of its popu-lationwerestillunderdirectcolonialrule.Butthiswasonly the last chapter of a long story, because coloni-zation and colonialism are essential components of history in general, especially, if we do not omitcontinental expansion in Russia, the Americas, andelsewhere in favor of overseas colonialism. Coloni-zation in the sense of expansion of settlement andagrarian land use could even be considered thequintessence of human history before industrializa-tion. Chinese colonialism is perhaps the most re-markable case because of the relative continuity of Han-Chinese expansion starting from the lowerHuangbasinthousandsofyearsagoandleadingtothepresentpenetration ofTibet,Mongolia,and Xinjiang.The ancient world of the Mediterranean was full of Phoenician, Greek, and Roman settlement colonies.Colonial phenomena of the European Middle Agesbecamepredecessorsandmodelsofthelaterexpansionof Europe. Spain and Portugal colonized the re-conquered South of the Iberian peninsula and theCanaries, whereas England did the same in Wales andIreland, Old World experiences to be used in the NewWorld later. People from central and western EuropesettledintheEast,aprocesstobecontinuedbyRussiain Siberia until the Pacific Ocean was reached. TheFrench who were excluded from the colonization of the East became protagonists of the crusades in-stead. The first European colonies established by thecrusadersintheMiddleEastwereafailure,butinthatcontext Italians developed a system of maritime tradeand factories combined with the colonial productionof high value commodities such as sugar. Not bychance America was ‘discovered’ by a Genoese and‘baptized’ after a Florentine.Beginningin1415thePortuguesefollowedthecoastof Africa until they found their way to India in 1498.To control the spice trade of the Indian Ocean theyestablished a trade empire based on fortified ports,factories, and colonial rule over spice producers suchas Ceylon and the Moluccas, extending from EastAfrica to China and Japan, with Goa in the center.DuringtheEuropeanconflictsoftheearlyseventeenthcentury,theDutchEastIndiaCompany,incontrasttoPortuguese crown capitalism, a privileged privatecorporation of shareholders, conquered most of thePortuguese system, but established a new capital inBataviaonJava.Arrivingatthesametime,theFrenchand English East India Companies created their baseson the coast of India, a comparative advantage whenEuropeandemandchangedintheseventeenthcenturyand Indian textiles became the leading commodity. Inthe eighteenth century they were replaced by tea andcoffeewith the China trade as corebusiness. But traderemained under strict control of the Chinese andJapanese empires and ‘western barbarians’ were onlytolerated until the middle of the nineteenth centurywhen China and Japan were ‘opened’ forfree trade bywestern military aggression. On Java and in India,however, the Mataram and Mughal empires began todisintegrate in the eighteenth century. This led to thecontrol of Java by the Dutch and the conquest of allIndia by the British until 1818–49. Most of it was theresultofcontingency,butbesidestheinterestinprofitsthe ambition of local military, the ‘men on the spot,’was a constant factor.Since 1492 Castilians competing with the Portu-guese discovered and conquered their India in theWest.SpaniardsemigratedtoliveinthecitiesofaNewWorld. But despite a tremendous loss of nativepopulation, mostly through infectious diseases im-ported by the conquerors, the labor force consistedmostly of Amerindians, especially when, after thediscovery of silver mines in northern Mexico andhighland Peru, America became the treasure house of the Spanish monarchy. A proto-bureaucratic systemof colonial government was established instead of traditional feudal lordship desired by the conquerors.ButIberianAmericawastoremainaraciallystratifiedsociety. Metropolitan Spain did not profit much fromAmericansilverwhich,becauseofdifferentialinflationrates and overambitious policy, flowed out of thecountry to feed the Asian trade of the Dutch and theEnglish. Via Europe and directly via the Philippinesmuch of the American silver ended up in India andChina. A kind of world trade system originated, butprobably with rather marginal economic impact onEurope and on Asia. Brazil became a Portuguesecolony almost by chance, economically importantonlyinthelatersixteenthcenturywhensugarcanewasgrown on its abundant fertile soils. Indian labor wasscarce herebut thePortuguesecontrolledtheoppositecoast and therefore were able to provide the sugarindustry with African slaves. When the sugar cyclereached its end, gold and diamonds created a newboominBrazilduringtheeighteenthcentury,butwithsimilar negative consequences for Portugal as forSpain 200 years earlier.2241
Colonization and Colonialism, History of 
IntheseventeenthcenturytheDutchtransferredtheBrazilian plantation economy to the Caribbean wheretheEnglish,French,andDutchhadconqueredseveralislands from Spain. No Amerindian labor force wasleft there, but the Dutch had occupied some of thePortuguese strongholds on the West African coastwith the British and the French to follow. Thus theWest Indies could be provided with African slaves.The English were the leading slave traders of theeighteenthcenturywhenthesugarbusinessreacheditsculmination point. Large parts of the Caribbean wereconverted into an agro-industrial complex with acompletely artificial society of black slaves, whitelords, and an increasing number of mulattos.In the meantime, another type of artificial newworld had originated in North America which in thelong run became a white man’s country, the first andmost successful of several ‘new Europes’ created byabout 60 million Europeans who emigrated betweenthe sixteenth and the twentieth century. NorthAmerican Indians were few in number and not able todefend the land white immigrants desired. WhereasFrench Canada with its small settler population couldat least attempt their integration, British NorthAmerica had no room for them. They were removed,marginalized, or wiped out. Around 1780, BritishNorthAmericahadmorethan2.6millioninhabitants,comparedwithabout8millioninhabitantsofEnglandand Wales.In 1775–1823 Europe lost most of her Americancolonies. But Britain, which dominated the colonialsceneformostofthenineteenthcentury,compensatedforthelosswiththeconquestofIndiaandwithseveralnew colonies, some of them acquired during the warsagainst France, like Canada from France and SouthAfrica from the Netherlands, other new foundationsin Australia and New Zealand which had beenexplored during the late eighteenth century. But theywere accepted rather reluctantly, because in an age of British dominated free trade colonial rule was con-sidered unnecessary and too expensive. Therefore,self-financed self-government of white settler-colonieswas now welcome. Between 1840 and 1931 theseBritish ‘dominions’ became quasi-independent.This relaxed attitude was to change in the ageof 
History of 
), whennervous competition of old and new powers under theideological impact of nationalistic social DarwinismledtothedivisionofAfricawithinafewdecades.Mostof what was left of Asia was also occupied or at leastcontrolled economically. Besides Britain’s notoriousrivalFrance and the old colonialpowers Portugal andSpain new competitors entered the stage: Russia andtheKingofBelgium,GermanyandItaly,theUSAandJapan,thefirstnon-westernimperialistpower,whichafew decades earlier had been close to becoming asemicolony. After World War I (see
First World War
) the German colonial empire and the OttomanEmpire were divided among the victors. The formalqualificationasmandatesoftheLeagueofNationsdidnot make much difference. Neither was the Leagueof Nations able to prevent the Japanese occupationof Manchuria in 1931–2 and the Italian conquest of Ethiopia in 1935. Ethiopia had defended herselsuccessfully against Italian aggression in 1896, but asthelastAfricancountryhadtoyieldtocolonialism—if only for a few years. Times were beginning to change.Less spectacular than expansion overseas, andtherefore often ignored by historians of colonialism,was the ‘quiet’ continental expansion of Russia andthe USA, of Canada, Australia, and South Africa, of Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. This expansion waspossibleonlyattheexpenseofindigenouspopulationsand through the exploitation of differences of de-velopment. This turned out a very effective variety of colonialism, because the result was most often a whiteman’s country, another ‘new Europe,’ where theformer population was marginalized or wiped out.Only in few cases such as South Africa, RussianCentral Asia and Caucasia non-western groups werenumerically and culturally strong enough for latersuccessful decolonization.
3. Typology of Colonization and Colonialism
There was no master plan for colonial expansion.Quite often it happened as an unintentional conse-quence of some other action. Nevertheless, typicalsequences of actions occurred again and again, forinstance preventive occupation to keep out possiblecompetitors. The Portuguese used this in sixteenth-century Brazil, as did most European powers innineteenth-century Africa. Military intervention inAfrica was sometimes not intended as permanentoccupation, because it was much too expensive. Butwhen African resistance made a retreat impossiblewithout loss of national prestige, the temporaryoccupation became a permanent colony. If not amatterofprestige,colonialpolicywasalwaysbasedonakindofcost-benefitanalysis.Colonieswereexpectedto be profitable. At least they had to finance their owngovernment.ThefamousBritishmodelof 
indirect rule
did originate much less from political wisdom orrespect for other civilizations than from the necessityto keep administration costs down. In reality nationalbudgets only profited from colonial empires in ex-ceptional cases, because infrastructural costs wereconsidered the responsibility of the government,whereas colonial profits remained private.The most common individual motives for partici-pating in colonial activities were indeed the desire forextra profits and the improvement of social status.These were certainly not the only motives, but theywere almost never absent. Of course, their characterchanged over time. The conquerors of British Indiawerecapitalaccumulatingprofitseekers,butlikethoseof Spanish America still with the intention to invest in2242
Colonization and Colonialism, History of 

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