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any nonself-governing territory subject to the jurisdiction of a usually distant country. The term is also applied to a group of nationals who settle in a foreign country or territory but retain political or cultural connections with their parent state. Colonies in the first sense may be colonies of settlement, such as Australia and North and Latin America before they gained independence. There are also colonies of exploitation, which have dense native populations, such as post-conquest Mexico and Peru, the Belgian Congo (now Congo [Kinshasa]), or the British Indian Empire (now India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh). Colonists in a colony of exploitation consist chiefly of military and administrative officers and commercial and financial representatives. The use of slaves and forced labor has often been a feature of such colonies. In a colony of exploitation, the government tends to be highly centralized and is frequently upheld by the presence of a strong police force or army; in a colony of settlement, there is generally rapid evolution from a purely military or autocratic government to autonomy or incorporation within the parent state. Since the 18th cent., colonial problems and their resolution have played a central role in European diplomacy and international relations. Strategic considerations, diplomatic rivalries, and the search for markets all led to a dramatic growth in European colonial holdings in the 19th cent. (see colonizationcolonization,
extension of political and economic control over an area by a state whose nationals have occupied the area and usually possess organizational or technological superiority over the native population.
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; imperialismimperialism,
broadly, the extension of rule or influence by one government, nation, or society over another. Early Empires

Evidence of the existence of empires dates back to the dawn of written history in Egypt and in Mesopotamia, where local rulers extended their
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). In the late 19th cent., Great Britain began granting autonomy to some of its colonies, ultimately resulting in the transformation of the British EmpireBritish Empire,
overseas territories linked to Great Britain in a variety of constitutional relationships, established over a period of three centuries. The establishment of the empire resulted primarily from commercial and political motives and emigration movements (see
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 into the Commonwealth of NationsCommonwealth of Nations,
voluntary association of Great Britain and its dependencies, certain former British dependencies that are now sovereign states and their dependencies, and the associated states (states with full internal government but whose external relations are
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. In the 20th cent., many colonial areas came under international supervision through the mandatesmandates,
system of trusteeships established by Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations for the administration of former Turkish territories and of former German colonies.
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 system, or its successor, the trusteeship system (see trusteeship, territorialtrusteeship, territorial,
system of UN control for territories that were not self-governing. It replaced the mandates of the League of Nations. Provided for under chapters 12 and 13 of the Charter of the United Nations, the trusteeship system was intended to promote the welfare
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). The French empire was progressively dissolved, first with the creation (1946) of the French UnionFrench Union,
1946–58, political entity established by the French constitution of 1946. It comprised metropolitan France (the 90 departments of continental France and Corsica); French overseas departments, territories, settlements, and United Nations trusteeships; French
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 and then with its reorganization (1958) as the French CommunityFrench Community,
established in 1958 by the constitution of the Fifth French Republic to replace the French Union. Its members consisted of the French Republic, which included metropolitan France (continental France, Corsica, Algeria and the Sahara), the overseas territories
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. By 1990 most of the former colonies of the Western European powers had become independent nations. Those that had not were, with a few exceptions, relatively small islands or island groups; most were autonomous in internal affairs and remained colonies by choice.


For bibliography, see under colonizationcolonization,
extension of political and economic control over an area by a state whose nationals have occupied the area and usually possess organizational or technological superiority over the native population.
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 and imperialismimperialism,
broadly, the extension of rule or influence by one government, nation, or society over another. Early Empires

Evidence of the existence of empires dates back to the dawn of written history in Egypt and in Mesopotamia, where local rulers extended their
..... Click the link for more information.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an aggregate of attached individuals that originated as a result of incomplete division or budding. Formation of colonies is characteristic of certain unicellular algae and aquatic invertebrate animals. Colonies are diverse in shape, size, and arrangement of individuals; they may be free-swimming or attached. Among the free-swimming colonies in plants, a spherical shape is most common (for example, Volvox); there are also elliptical and, less frequently, cylindrical, filiform, and branched forms. Among attached colonies in plants there are filiform, saccate, saccate-lamelliform, and dendroid forms. Primitive colonies in plants are characterized by an even distribution of the cells within the body of mucus that unites them. In more highly organized colonies there is some differentiation; some cells move to the periphery of the colony.

In animals a true colony has a common body that does not belong to any one individual (zooid). Sometimes all the zooids in a colony have the same structure (monomorphic colony). More often there is morphological and physiological differentiation (polymorphic colony). Some individuals perform the functions of feeding; others, of defense; and a third group, of reproduction. As a result of this specialization, the zooids depend on one another and cannot exist outside the colony. The colony itself may be considered as an individual of a higher order. The individuality of a colony is determined by its morphology and the distinctive development characteristic of each species of colonial animals. In primitive colonies the individual zooids exchange nutritive matter (bryozoans, hydrozoans, the majority of coral polyps, and colonial ascidians). In highly organized colonies, such as pennatularians, a stimulus is transmitted from one zooid to another. In some, such as the Siphonophora and Pyrosomata, coordinated movements are observed.

These types of colonies must not be confused with the families of social animals (ants, bees, and termites) whose individual members are not attached to one another. Societies of animals with individuals that touch each other but do not have a common body should not be classified as colonies; the individuals of these societies originate from different parents (for example, the pseudocolony of the genus Cephalodiscus of the order Pterobranchia and the pseudocolony of some Mytilus). Sometimes the temporary cooperative settlements of certain birds that appear during the periods of reproduction and feeding of nestlings are called colonies.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A localized population of individuals of the same species which are living either attached or separately.
A cluster of microorganisms growing on the surface of or within a solid medium; usually cultured from a single cell.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. a body of people who settle in a country distant from their homeland but maintain ties with it
2. the community formed by such settlers
3. a subject territory occupied by a settlement from the ruling state
4. Zoology
a. a group of the same type of animal or plant living or growing together, esp in large numbers
b. an interconnected group of polyps of a colonial organism
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
As it stands now, the city has been effectively dividend on lines not dissimilar to apartheid South Africa, with trams connecting only Jewish areas and those stolen for colonists.
31, 2022 expired on August 2013 because of the deduction of proper allowances for good conduct, colonist status and preventive imprisonment.
An investigation by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz entitled How does the US help fund pro-settler colonist IDF troops?' reported that an organisation named Task Force to Save the Nation and the Land has offered 1,000 Israeli New Shekels for every day an Israeli soldier spends in prison for disobeying orders to evacuate colonists.
The festival honors the Colonists, especially this year, which marks the 75th anniversary of the settlers' arrival, said Jillyan Webb, executive director of the Palmer Chamber of Commerce.
On the other hand, the same officials wished to maintain control over the colonists on the frontier.Penn asserts that, particularly in the case of the 1739 uprising, "it was the governemnt's success in crushing Khoisan resistance ...
Implicit within Hakluyt's vision was the view that the Native Americans and the colonists would live together in peace and community once the American Indians had accepted Christianity.
The skeleton might also have belonged to any of four other prominent male colonists who died in their mid-30s between 1607 and 1610, Kelso says.
Ron Blindell, 47, a railway company manager from Hungerford whose father, of the same name, owned the Ken Cundell-trained grey Stalbridge Colonist at the time of his Newbury triumph.
Foucault observes that there was a long French tradition for claiming success in transforming outlaws into "normal" citizens: "la surveillance et avec elle la normalisation devient un des grands instruments de pouvoir" (Foucault 1975 186) Furthermore, Genet's biographer, Edmund White, presents the discipline imposed on the colonist at Mettray as involved in the game of being and not being seen: "the principle was stressed of making all the inmates invisible to one another but visible to one centrally placed supervisor" (White 1993 65) Despite the tradition and the game, the colonists in Genet's Mettray construct their own network "dans la maison de correction de Mettray ou l'homosexualite etait reprouvee, evidemment" (Genet 1990 45).
One notable disaster occurred in 1859 when British colonist Thomas Austin imported 24 rabbits for sport hunting.
It is perhaps the finest chronicle composed by an early Spanish colonist, and is certainly exceptional in its broad-based research, its generally dispassionate tone, and its discussion of so many elements from both the native culture and the process of conquest.