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Colonialism is the extension of a nation's sovereignty over territory beyond its borders by the establishment of either settler colonies or administrative dependencies in which indigenous populations are directly ruled or displaced. Colonizing nations generally dominate the resources, labor, and markets of the colonial territory, and may also impose socio-cultural, religious and linguistic structures on the conquered population (see also cultural imperialism). Though the word colonialism is often used interchangeably with imperialism, the latter is sometimes used more broadly as it covers control exercised informally (via influence) as well as formal military control or economic leverage.
The term colonialism may also be used to refer to a set of beliefs used to legitimize or promote this system. Colonialism was often based on the ethnocentric belief that the morals and values of the colonizer were superior to those of the colonized; some observers link such beliefs to racism and pseudo-scientific theories dating to the 17th and 18th centuries. In the western world, this led to a form of proto-social Darwinism that placed white people at the top of the animal kingdom, "naturally" in charge of dominating non-European indigenous populations.
Types of colonies
Several types of colonies may be distinguished, reflecting different colonial objectives. Settler colonies, such as the United States of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Argentina were established by moving large numbers of people from a mother country to the new colony. The local people or tribes, such as the Aboriginal people in Canada and the United States, were usually moved by force to other regions or exterminated. These forcible population transfers, usually to areas of poorer-quality land or resources often led to the permanent detriment of indigenous peoples.
Settler colonies may be contrasted with dependencies, where the colonizers did not arrive as part of a mass emigration, but rather as administrators over existing sizeable native populations. Examples in this category include the British Raj, Egypt, the Dutch East Indies, and the Japanese colonial empire. In some cases large-scale colonial settlement was attempted in substantially pre-populated areas and the result was either an ethnically mixed population (such as the mestizos of the Americas), or racially divided, such as in French Algeria or Southern Rhodesia.
With plantation colonies such as Barbados, Saint-Domingue and Jamaica, the white colonizers imported black slaves who rapidly began to outnumber their owners, leading to minority rule, similar to a dependency. Trading posts, such as Macau, Malacca, Deshima and Singapore constitute a fifth category, where the primary purpose of the colony was to engage in trade rather than as a staging post for further colonization of the hinterland.
History of colonialism
The historical phenomenon of colonisation is one that stretches around the globe and across time, including such disparate peoples as the Hittites, the Incas and the British, although the term colonialism is normally used with reference to discontiguous European overseas empires rather than contiguous land-based empires, European or otherwise, which are conventionally described by the term imperialism. Examples of land-based empires include the Mongol Empire, a large empire stretching from the Western Pacific to Eastern Europe, the Empire of Alexander the Great, the Umayyad Caliphate, the Persian Empire, the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire. The Ottoman Empire was created across Mediterranean, North Africa and into Southern Europe and existed during the time of European colonization of the other parts of the world.
European colonialism began in the 15th century, with Portugal's conquest of Ceuta. Colonialism was led by Portuguese and Spanish exploration of the Americas, and the coasts of Africa, the Middle East, India, and East Asia. Despite some earlier attempts, it was not until the 17th century that England, France and the Netherlands successfully established their own overseas empires, in direct competition with each other and those of Spain and Portugal.
The end of the 18th and early 19th century saw the first era of decolonization when most of the European colonies in the Americas gained their independence from their respective metropoles. Spain and Portugal were irreversibly weakened after the loss of their New World colonies, but Britain (after the union of England and Scotland), France and the Netherlands turned their attention to the Old World, particularly South Africa, India and South East Asia, where coastal enclaves had already been established. Germany, after being united under Prussia also sought colonies in Deutsch Ost Afrika.
The industrialization of the 19th century led to what has been termed the era of New Imperialism, when the pace of colonization rapidly accelerated, the height of which was the Scramble for Africa. During the 20th Century, the overseas colonies of the losers of World War I were distributed amongst the victors as mandates, but it was not until the end of World War II that the second phase of decolonization began in earnest.
Benign colonialism  is a term that refers to an alleged form of colonialism in which benefits outweighed risks for indigenous populations whose lands, resources, rights and freedoms were preempted by a colonizing nation-state. The historical source for the concept of benign colonialism resides with John Stuart Mill who was chief examiner of the British East India Company dealing with British interests in India in the 1820s and 1830s. Mill's most well-known essays (1844) on benign colonialism are found in "Essays on some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy." Mill's view contrasted with Burkean orientalists. Mill promoted the training of a corps of bureaucrats indigenous to India who could adopt the modern liberal perspective and values of 19th century Britain. Mill predicted this group’s eventual governance of India would be based on British values and perspectives. For a discussion of Mill's arguments see Doyle (2006).
Campo, Juan E. 2004. “Benign Colonialism? The Iraq War: Hidden Agendas and Babylonian Intrigue.” Interventionism. 26:1. Spring. 
Doyle, Michael W. 2006. “Sovereignty and Humanitarian Military Intervention.” Columbia University. 
Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. Benign colonialism. << speechless. Uploaded January 14th. 
Kurtz,Stanley. 2003.”Lessons from the British in India.” Democratic Imperialism: A Blueprint. Policy Review. 
Liu, Henry C. K. 2003. “China: a Case of Self-Delusion: Part 1: From colonialism to confusion.” Asia Times. May 14. 
Mill, John Stuart. 1844. "Essays on some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy." 
Mill, John Stuart. “A Few Words on Nonintervention.” 1973. In Gertrude Himmelfarb, Ed. Essays on Politics and Culture. Gloucester: Peter Smith. pp. 368-84. --oceanflynn 18:13, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Despite the decolonization in the 1960s-70s, former colonies still are today for the most part under strong Western influence. Critics of this continued Western influence talk of neocolonialism. The exception to this rule being in particular the East Asian Tigers (mainly Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan), and the emerging Indian and Chinese powers. (See Immanuel Wallerstein.)
U.S. foreign intervention
On the other hand, because of the Cold War, which led Moscow and Peking to support anti-imperialist movements, the US (as well as other NATO countries) interfered in various countries, by issuing an embargo against Cuba after the 1959 Cuban Revolution—which started on February 7, 1962—and supporting various covert operations (the 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion, the Cuban Project, etc.) for example. Theorists of neo-colonialism are of the opinion that the US—and France, for that matter—preferred supporting dictatorships in Third World countries rather than having democracies that always presented the risk of having the people choose being aligned with the Communist bloc rather than the so-called "Free World".
For example, in Chile (see United States intervention in Chile) the Central Intelligence Agency covertly spent three million dollars in an effort to influence the outcome of the 1964 Chilean presidential election;<ref name=CBS-2000>CIA Reveals Covert Acts In Chile, CBS News, September 19, 2000. Accessed online November 26, 2006.</ref> supported the attempted October 1970 kidnapping of General Rene Schneider (head of the Chilean army), part of a plot to prevent the congressional confirmation of socialist Salvador Allende as president (in the event, Schneider was shot and killed; Allende's election was confirmed);<ref name=CBS-2000 /> the U.S. welcomed, though probably did not bring about the Chilean coup of 1973, in which Allende was overthrown and Augusto Pinochet installed<ref>The Kissinger Telcons: Kissinger Telcons on Chile, National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 123, edited by Peter Kornbluh, posted May 26, 2004. See especially TELCON: September 16, 1973, 11:50 a.m. Kissinger Talking to Nixon: Nixon: Well we didn't – as you know – our hand doesn't show on this one though. Kissinger: We didn't do it. I mean we helped them. [Garbled] created the conditions as great as possible. Nixon: That is right. And that is the way it is going to be played. Accessed online November 26, 2006.</ref> and provided material support to the military regime after the coup, continuing payment to CIA contacts who were known to be involved in human rights abuses;<ref>Peter Kornbluh, CIA Acknowledges Ties to Pinochet’s Repression Report to Congress Reveals U.S. Accountability in Chile, Chile Documentation Project, National Security Archive, September 19, 2000. Accessed online November 26, 2006.</ref> and even facilitated communications for Operation Condor,<ref>Operation Condor: Cable suggests U.S. role, National Security Archive, March 6, 2001. Accessed online November 26, 2006.</ref> a cooperative program among the intelligence agencies of several right-wing South American regimes to locate, observe and assassinate political opponents.
The proponents of the idea of neo-colonialism also cite the 1983 U.S. invasion of Grenada and the 1989 United States invasion of Panama, overthrowing Manuel Noriega, who was characterized by the U.S. government as a druglord. In Indonesia, Washington supported Suharto's New Order dictatorship.
This interference, in particular in South and Central American countries, is reminiscent of the 19th century Monroe doctrine and the Big stick diplomacy codified by U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt. Left-wing critics have spoken of an "American Empire", pushed in particular by the military-industrial complex, which president Eisenhower warned against in 1961. On the other hand, some Republicans have supported, without much success since World War I, isolationism. Defenders of U.S. policy have asserted that intervention was sometimes necessary to prevent Communist or Soviet-aligned governments from taking power during the Cold War.
Most of the actions described in this section constitute imperialism rather than colonialism, which usually involves one country settling in another country and calling it their own. U.S. imperialism has been called neocolonial because it is a new sort of colonialism: one that operates not by invading, conquering, and settling a foreign country with pilgrims, but by exercising economic control through international monetary institutions, via military threat, missionary interference, strategic investment, so-called "Free trade areas," and by supporting the violent overthrow of leftist governments (even those that have been democratically elected, as detailed above).
French foreign intervention
France wasn't inactive either: it supported dictatorships in the former colonies in Africa, leading to the expression Françafrique, coined by François-Xavier Verschave, a member of the anti-neocolonialist Survie NGO, which has criticized the way development aid was given to post-colonial countries, claiming it only supported neo-colonialism, interior corruption and arms-trade. The Third World debt, including odious debt, where the interest on the external debt exceeds the amount that the country produces, had been considered by some a method of oppression or control by first world countries; a form of debt bondage on the scale of nations.
Post-colonialism (aka post-colonial theory) refers to a set of theories in philosophy and literature that grapple with the legacy of colonial rule. In this sense, postcolonial literature may be considered a branch of Postmodern literature concerned with the political and cultural independence of peoples formerly subjugated in colonial empires. Many practitioners take Edward Said's book Orientalism (1978) to be the theory's founding work (although French theorists such as Aimé Césaire and Frantz Fanon made similar claims decades before Said).
Edward Said analyzed the works of Balzac, Baudelaire and Lautréamont, exploring how they were both influenced by and helped to shape a societal fantasy of European racial superiority. Post-colonial fictional writers interact with the traditional colonial discourse, but modify or subvert it; for instance by retelling a familiar story from the perspective of an oppressed minor character in the story. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak's Can the Subaltern Speak? (1998) gave its name to the Subaltern Studies.
In A Critique of Postcolonial Reason (1999), Spivak explored how major works of European metaphysics (e.g., Kant, Hegel) not only tend to exclude the subaltern from their discussions, but actively prevent non-Europeans from occupying positions as fully human subjects. Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit (1807) is famous for its explicit ethnocentrism, in considering the Western civilization as the most accomplished of all, while Kant also allowed some traces of racialism to enter his work.
Impact of colonialism and colonization
Debate about the perceived positive and negative aspects of colonialism has occurred for centuries, amongst both colonizer and colonized, and continues to the present day. The questions of miscegenation; the alleged ties between colonial enterprises, genocides — see the Herero Genocide — and the Holocaust; and the questions of the nature of imperialism, dependency theory and neocolonialism (in particular the Third World debt) continues to retain their actuality.
- a b CIA Reveals Covert Acts In Chile, CBS News, September 19, 2000. Accessed online November 26, 2006.
- The Kissinger Telcons: Kissinger Telcons on Chile, National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 123, edited by Peter Kornbluh, posted May 26, 2004. See especially TELCON: September 16, 1973, 11:50 a.m. Kissinger Talking to Nixon: Nixon: Well we didn't – as you know – our hand doesn't show on this one though. Kissinger: We didn't do it. I mean we helped them. [Garbled] created the conditions as great as possible. Nixon: That is right. And that is the way it is going to be played. Accessed online November 26, 2006.
- Peter Kornbluh, Acknowledges Ties to Pinochet’s Repression Report to Congress Reveals U.S. Accountability in Chile, Chile Documentation Project, National Security Archive, September 19, 2000. Accessed online November 26, 2006.
- Condor: Cable suggests U.S. role, National Security Archive, March 6, 2001. Accessed online November 26, 2006.
- Chartered companies
- Corporate colonialism
- European colonization of the Americas
- Global Empire
- Arendt, Hannah, The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951) (second chapter on Imperialism examines ties between colonialism and totalitarianism)
- Conrad, Joseph, Heart of Darkness, 1899
- Fanon, Frantz, The Wretched of the Earth, Pref. by Jean-Paul Sartre. Translated by Constance Farrington. London : Penguin Book, 2001
- Gobineau, Arthur de, An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races, 1853-55
- Gutiérrez, Gustavo, A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics, Salvation, 1971
- Kipling, Rudyard, The White Man's Burden, 1899
- Las Casas, Bartolomé de, A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies (1542, published in 1552)
- LeCour Grandmaison, Olivier, Coloniser, Exterminer - Sur la guerre et l'Etat colonial, Fayard, 2005, ISBN 2213623163
- Lindqvist, Sven, Exterminate All The Brutes, 1992, New Press; Reprint edition (June 1997), ISBN 978-1-56584-359-2
- Maria Petringa, Brazza, A Life for Africa (2006), ISBN 978-1-4259-1198-0
- Said, Edward, Orientalism, 1978; 25th-anniversary edition 2003 ISBN 978-0-394-74067-6
- Liberal opposition to colonialism, imperialism and empire (pdf) - by professor Daniel Klein
- Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry
- Globalization (and the metaphysics of control in a free market world) - an online video on globalization, colonialism, and control.