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the policy and practice of a power in extending control over weaker peoples or areas


the political rule, either directly or indirectly, of one society, country or nation over another.

Colonialism, however, involves more than just political rule. In the 20th century it has been particularly associated with one ETHNIC GROUP dominating another within the dominated group's territory Thus, in this century, colonialism has been associated with European, white, Christian, wealthy rulers who have attempted to impose cultural values over the ruled by either devaluing or attempting to eradicate the colonized groups’ religions, languages, customary laws and economic activities. Colonialism has therefore been seen by many sociologists as closely associated with the development of RACISM. Also in this century colonization has been associated with the dominance of the colony's economy by the colonizer, and it is this that is one of the key differences which Marxist writers see as distinguishing 20th-century colonization from earlier forms. See IMPERIALISM, NEO-COLONIALISM.

Various forms of colonial rule have existed in history, but one important distinction is between direct and indirect rule. In this century, the British in Africa often relied on indirect rule, nominating indigenous people or institutions as representatives of the British crown, whilst the French imposed direct rule from Paris through French officials. See also ORIENTALISM, POST-COLONIAL THEORY.



the political, economic, and ideological subjugation of countries that are, as a rule, poorly developed socially and economically, by the ruling classes of exploiter states. This concept is usually applied to the age of monopoly capitalism, when a territorial partition of the world has been completed and the colonial system of imperialism has taken shape. The term “colonialism” is also used to mean “colonial system.”

References in periodicals archive ?
And since among them the western colonial empires represented a significant portion of the world, the wars graduated from European power struggles to world wars.
What is needed is a better understanding of the many ways in which colonial empires are legitimized and continue to legitimize their actions.
Not only did the West lose its colonial empires in the post-1945 era, but it also lost or abandoned most of its military bases in the Middle East (at Abadan, Aden, Kuwait, Suez, Habbaniya, Tripoli, to name the obvious ones).
Elsewhere, in Europe, abolition quickly gave rise to colonialism, and then neo-colonialism, an implicit extension of servitude whereby Africans were expected and cajoled into continuing to produce for, and serve the colonial empires.
But the Europeans were more intent on preserving, and even expanding, their colonial empires, and they wanted access to oil, which was starting to be discovered in large quantities in the Mideast.
The Italian cities set off the great expansion of the West, which in time underwrote colonial empires that carved up the rest of the world.
We are also indebted to Kiernan for producing the best single work on empire and colonial militarism, Colonial Empires and Armies, which was published in the early 1980s.
He said now that Africa has entered a new era in its history--one where liberation from colonial empires is complete--the council and churches must "rethink their mission, and the ecumenical movement has to think about how it will accompany churches.
As the sun set on military and colonial empires, western leaders again changed tailors.
In well-rendered prose, he argues that the Japanese occupation weakened the British hold on the colony in the postwar years both internally and externally as the native peoples of Asia acquired political power and colonial empires collapsed.
Colonial empires are a thing of the past, and American Imperialism, however beneficial its intentions, is no more acceptable than any other.

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