Portal:Colonialism

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Introduction

The pith helmet, an icon of colonialism in tropical lands. This one was used during the Second French colonial empire.

Colonialism is the policy of a foreign polity seeking to extend or retain its authority over other people or territories, generally with the aim of opening trade opportunities. The colonizing country seeks to benefit from the colonized country or land mass. Many of the colonized countries were not countries at all prior to colonization. In the process, colonizers imposed their religion, economics, and medicinal practices on the natives. Some argue this was a positive move toward modernization, while other scholars refute this theory as being biased and Eurocentric, noting that modernization is a concept introduced by Europeans. Colonialism is largely regarded as a relationship of domination of an indigenous majority by a minority of foreign invaders where the latter rule in pursuit of its interests.

Early records of colonization go as far back as Phoenecians, an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550 BC to 300 BC and later the Greeks and Persians continued on this line of setting up colonies. Although these early European migration characteristics are recorded or documented as colonization, these examples wouldn't be the first time and certainly would not be the last. The Romans would soon follow, setting up colonies throughout the Mediterranean, Northern Africa, and Western Asia. In the 9th century a new wave of Mediterranean colonization had begun between competing states such as the Islamic Ottomans and the Venetians, Genovese and Amalfians, invading the wealthy previously Byzantine or Eastern Roman islands and lands. Venice began with the conquest of Dalmatia and reached its greatest nominal extent at the conclusion of the Fourth Crusade in 1204, with the declaration of the acquisition of three octaves of the Byzantine Empire.

Later, in the 15th century some European states established their own empires during the European colonial period. The Belgian, British, Danish, Dutch, French, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Swedish empires established colonies across large areas. Imperial Japan, the Ottoman Empire and the United States also acquired colonies, as did imperialist China and finally in the late 19th century the German and the Italian.

Selected article

Combat between Inca and Spanish forces.

The Battle of Ollantaytambo took place in January 1537, between the forces of Inca emperor Manco Inca and a Spanish expedition led by Hernando Pizarro during the Spanish conquest of Peru. A former ally of the Spaniards, Manco Inca rebelled in May 1536, and besieged a Spanish garrison in the city of Cusco. To end the stand-off, the besieged mounted a raid against the emperor's headquarters in the town of Ollantaytambo. The expedition, commanded by Hernando Pizarro, included 100 Spaniards and some 30,000 Indian auxiliaries against an Inca army more than 30,000 strong. The Inca army managed to hold the Spanish forces from a set of high terraces and flood their position to hinder their cavalry.

Severely pressed and unable to advance, the Spaniards withdrew by night to Cusco. On April 18, 1537, a Spanish army led by Diego de Almagro returned from a long expedition to Chile and occupied Cusco. Almagro imprisoned Hernando Pizarro and his brother Gonzalo because he wanted the city for himself; most Spanish troops and their auxiliaries joined his side. He had previously tried to negotiate a settlement with Manco Inca but his efforts failed when both armies clashed at Calca, near Cusco. With the Spaniards' position consolidated by Almagro's reinforcements, Manco Inca decided that Ollantaytambo was too close to Cusco to be tenable so he withdrew further west to the town of Vitcos. Almagro sent his lieutenant Rodrigo Orgóñez in pursuit with 300 Spaniards and numerous Indian auxiliaries. In July 1537, Orgoñez occupied and sacked Vitcos taking many prisoners, but Manco managed to escape. He took refuge at Vilcabamba, a remote location where an Inca state survived until the capture and execution of Túpac Amaru, its last emperor, in 1572.

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Selected biography

Dr. Hendrik P. N. Muller

Hendrik Pieter Nicolaas Muller (2 April 1859 in Rotterdam - 11 August 1941 in The Hague, Netherlands) was a Dutch businessman, diplomat, world traveller, publicist, and philanthropist. Muller started his career as a businessman, trading with East and West Africa. In his mid-twenties he travelled to Zanzibar, Mozambique, and South Africa for business purposes, but showed himself a keen ethnographer as well, collecting ethnographic artifacts and writing reports about the societies and people he encountered on his way. In 1890, Muller retired from business for personal reasons, and went to Germany to study ethnography and geography. He graduated with a Ph.D. dissertation four years later. In 1896 he was first appointed consul and later consul general for the Orange Free State. Muller held this position all through the Second Boer War and his high-profiled performance as European representative for this Boer republic won him considerable fame and notoriety, which lasted all his life. After the Treaty of Vereeniging was signed in 1902 Muller retired to a life of travelling and writing for some years, making Muller a household name with his travelbooks. In 1919 the Dutch government appointed him envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to Romania, and later to Czechoslovakia, where he retired in 1932. Muller was a prolific writer. Over the course of his life he published well over two hundred articles, brochures, and books about his travels through the world, about South Africa and the Boers, and about Dutch foreign policy and diplomacy, apart from a range of other subjects. Muller gathered a large fortune with well appointed private investments. He bequeathed his considerable wealth to a private fund in support of academic research and cultural heritage.

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Selected images

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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