What do you understand by a colonial system and identify the factors promoting it? Elaborate on the major countries that got benefitted from colonialism and why?

Mentor’s comment-

  • In the introduction define what colonialism is.
  • In the body present the factors that led to colonialism across the world such as; demand for raw materials, need for market, spread of Christianity and western Ideals etc. Explain the countries it benefitted to and the underlying reasons for the benefit such as – The peak of colonialism was during 18th and 19th century, during which entire world was dominated by a few powers only. While in the initial period it was Spain and Portugal which was the dominant power, later it was Britain and France which ruled most of discovered world.
  • Conclude with its overall impact.

Colonialism is the “the system or policy of a nation seeking to extend or retain its authority over other people or territories”.

Two types of Colonization:
 Settler colonialism is that type of colonialism wherein a large number of the immigrants, often motivated by religious, political, or economic reasons, settle in a new place and dominate the local indigenous population in economic, political as well as social aspects.
 Exploitation colonialism involves relatively less number of immigrants and predominantly focuses on exploitation of the resources of the colonial country.

Causes of Colonialism and countries that benefitted:
 Economic Consideration: The countries like England, France, Spain and Portugal established their colonies primarily for the economic benefits.

 Mercantilism: The policy of Mercantilism was based on the premise that the economic development of the mother country (Metropolis) was most important and the colonies should be governed in such a way that they lead to the benefit of the mother country.
 European Rivalry: The exploration and colonization was started by Spain and Portugal. Gradually, other countries like France and England also entered the race. Acquiring new colonies became a thing of national pride. Moreover, due to various economic benefits of colonization, a stage of ‘competitive colonialism’ started among the European powers.
 To Spread Christianity: During the Age of Discovery; the Catholic Church started a major effort to spread Christianity in the New World by converting indigenous peoples. As such, the establishment of Christian missions went simultaneously with the colonizing efforts of European powers such as Spain, France and Portugal.
 Push Factors: The enclosure movement, taking land out of cultivation and converting it into pastureland for sheep, was creating a surplus population. Sheep raising, more profitable than traditional agriculture, required fewer labourers. The new lands in America gave these unemployed a place to work.
Impact of Colonialism:
 Columbian Exchange: The term Columbian Exchange refers to the widespread exchange of plants, animals, culture, human populations, technology, and ideas that occurred between the new world (Americas) and the Old World (Eurasia) in the 15th and 16th centuries, as a result of European colonization and trade.
 Slave Trade: To effectively utilize the resources, colonizers needed immense amount of labour. During the initial years, the European settlers met labour requirements by enslaving the native populations. However, the decline in the native population led to importing slaves from Africa which emerged as a lucrative alternative.
 Boost to Mercantilism: Mercantilism, in a way, was both the cause as well as the effect of colonialism. Mercantile economic policies were definitely an impetus for the start of colonization. But subsequently, the benefits due to colonial exploitation further reinforced the
ideology of mercantile capitalism and augmented its spread across Europe. As a result, these countries saw very rapid increase in trade volume while colonies suffered proportionally.
 Deindustrialisation of markets: the effect on third world countries of social and economic change caused by skewed industrial revolution of first world countries. This led to rising unemployment in various sectors of economy of various nations.
 Economic impact of colonialism is the ‘drain of wealth, led to control over production and trade, the exploitation of natural resources, and the improvement of infrastructure.
The process of colonialism typically involved the relocation of populace to a new terrain, where the arrivals lived as permanent settlers while maintaining political fidelity to their country of origin. Colonialism is a practice of authority, which involves the suppression of one people to another. Decolonization is the opposing of colonialism.

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1 year ago


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bhupender Kumar
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