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Creation and maintenance of colonies by people from another area / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Colonialism is the establishment and maintenance of one group of people as superior to other peoples and areas,[1][2] often for imperialist control and exploitation, and through a range of practices and relations of colonization, installing coloniality and possibly colonies.[3][4][5][1][2] That said there is no clear definition of colonialism and definitions may vary depending on the use of the term and context.[4][6]

A factory entrepôt, a basic example of colonialism illustrating its different elements, hierarchies and impact on the land and people (the Dutch V.O.C. factory in Hugli-Chuchura, Bengal, in 1665)

Colonialism is etymologically rooted in the Latin word "Colonus", which was used to describe tenant farmers in the Roman Empire.[4] The coloni sharecroppers started as tenants of landlords, but as the system evolved they became permanently indebted to the landowner and trapped in servitude.

Colonialism has existed since ancient times. In the modern period, the concept is most strongly associated with European colonialism, starting in the 15th century and extending to the mid-1900s. At first, conquest followed policies of mercantilism, aiming to strengthen the home-country economy, so agreements usually restricted the colony to trading only with the metropole (mother country). By the mid-19th century, many empires gave up mercantilism and trade restrictions and adopted the principle of free trade, with few restrictions or tariffs.

Missionaries were active in practically all of the European-controlled colonies because the metropoles were Christian. Historian Philip Hoffman calculated that by 1800, before the Industrial Revolution, Europeans already controlled at least 35% of the globe, and by 1914, they had gained control of 84% of the globe.[7] In the aftermath of World War II colonial powers retreated between 1945 and 1975; over which time nearly all colonies gained independence, entering into changed colonial, so-called postcolonial and neocolonialist relations.

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