During the period of European expansion into the rest of the world, the word colony was used for two kinds of territory:

  • 1) Those in North and South America and Australia where Europeans went to settle, hoping for a better life than at home, or as prisoners;
  • 2) Those territories in Africa and Asia where Europeans ruled but settled in only small numbers. All of them have now become independent of the metropolitan power.
  • The last colonies were those of Soviet Central Asia, now independent, and Tibet.

It is speculation to discuss whether colonies were inevitable, constructive or destructive in the context of human history as a whole, though most of the colonized experienced them as destructive and their descendants continue to remember them as a period destructive of their cultures. (But some remember the time before Independence as peaceful.) Possibly a new synthesizing world culture will now incorporate the formerly separated cultures brought together as a result of the European expansion.

Last revised 4/09/09


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