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.

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Map of the Jaffna kingdom circa 1619

The Portuguese conquest of the Jaffna kingdom occurred after Portuguese traders arrived at the rival Kotte Kingdom in the southwest of modern Sri Lanka in 1505. The initial forays were against the southwestern coastal Kotte kingdom, which enjoyed a lucrative monopoly on the spice trade, which was also of interest to the Portuguese. Many kings of Jaffna, such as Cankili I, initially confronted the Portuguese in their attempts at converting the locals to Roman Catholicism, but eventually made peace with them. By 1591, the king of Jaffna Ethirimanna Cinkam was installed by the Portuguese. Although he was nominally a client, he resisted missionary activities and helped the interior Kandyan kingdom in its quest to get military help from South India. Eventually, a usurper named Cankili II, resisted Portuguese overlordship only to find himself ousted and hanged by Phillippe de Oliveira in 1619. The subsequent rule by the Portuguese saw the population convert to Roman Catholicism. Over the next forty years, starting from 1619 until the Dutch capture of Jaffna fort in 1658, there were three rebellions against Portuguese rule. Two were led by Migapulle Arachchi, during that period, Portuguese destroyed every Hindu temple and the Saraswathy Mahal library in Nallur, the royal repository of all literary output of the kingdom. Due to excessive taxation, population decreased and many people moved to Ramanathapuram in India and the Vanni Districts further south. External commerce was negatively impacted, though elephants, Jaffna's principal export, were traded for saltpetre with various kingdoms in India and sent to Lisbon. Thus, decline in trade made it difficult to pay for essential imports, and such items ceased to be imported. In the words of Fernão De Queirós, the principal chronicler of Portuguese colonial exploits in Sri Lanka, the people of Jaffna were "reduced to the uttermost misery" during the Portuguese colonial era.

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Melton Prior - Illustrated London News - The Transvaal War - General Sir George Colley at the Battle of Majuba Mountain Just Before He Was Killed.jpg
Credit: Melton Prior

The Transvaal War: General Sir George Colley at the Battle of Majuba Mountain just before he was killed.

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Edward VII (9 November 1841 – 6 May 1910) was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901 until his death on 6 May 1910. He was the first British monarch of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, which was renamed the House of Windsor by his son, George V.

Before his accession to the throne, Edward held the title of Prince of Wales and was heir apparent to the throne for longer than anyone else in history. During the long widowhood of his mother, Queen Victoria, he was largely excluded from political power and came to personify the fashionable, leisured elite.

The Edwardian era, which covered Edward's reign and was named after him, coincided with the start of a new century and heralded significant changes in technology and society, including powered flight and the rise of socialism and the Labour movement. He played a role in the modernisation of the British Home Fleet, the reform of the Army Medical Services, and the reorganisation of the British army after the Second Boer War.

Edward fostered good relations between Great Britain and other European countries, especially France, for which he was popularly called "Peacemaker", but his relationship with his nephew, Wilhelm II of Germany, was poor. Edward presciently suspected that Wilhelm would precipitate a war, and four years after Edward's death, World War I brought an end to the Edwardian way of life.

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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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