What is the meaning of colonialism?

Colonialism is the building and maintaining of colonies in one territory by people from another territory.

Colonialism is a process whereby sovereignty over the colony is claimed by the metropolis and social structure, government and economics within the territory of the colony are changed by the colonists.

Colonialism is a certain set of unequal relationships, between metropolis and colony and between colonists and the indigenous population.


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Colonialism normally refers to a period of history from the 15th to the late 19th centuries when nations of Europe established colonies on other continents.

The reasons for the practice of colonialism at this time include:

i. The profits to be made

ii. To expand the power of the metro pole


iii. To escape persecution in the metro pole

iv. To spread the colonists way of life including religious and political beliefs

v. Some colonists also felt they were helping the indigenous population by bringing them civilization. However, the critics said the reality was often subjugation, displacement or death.

vi. Colonialism and imperialism were ideologically linked with mercantilism.

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