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Colonialism is a system of a country or a society controls the people and resources of another territory. The country or power exercising such control is called the colonial power while the external territory controlled by it is called the colony. A colony is usually far removed from the colonial power controlling it.
Over thousands of years in history colonialism has taken many different forms. However the term is most commonly applied to the conquest domination of overseas territories by some European countries starting in sixteenth century. The colonial system across the world came to an end following World War II.
Since we at enotes are in the United States, let us not overlook American Colonialism, the period in which there were thirteen colonies under the rule of Great Britain. Beginning in the last sixteenth century, England, Scotland, France, Sweden, Spain and the Netherlands began to colonize eastern North America. While many early attempts failed, there were, nevertheless, some successful colonies established. Four distinct regions that became the Eastern United States were separate colonies: New England, the Middle Colonies, the Chesapeake Bay Colonies, and the Lower South.
While most of America's colonies were formed by the English, there were several that were formed by the Spanish and French, but most of these were abandoned because of hurricanes and other bad weather, disease, or famine.
Colonialism refers to the practice of one nation establishing its presence in another. Oftentimes, ths is done by force or by being the first to discover a new nation. For example, by virtue of its supreme navy, England was able to stake its claim to the new world, what we now call America. The colonies were thus controlled by England. Another example would be England colonizing India for about two centuries. In the first case, England was able to navigate its way to the colonies first and establish its roots in places such as Jamestown and Plymouth. In the case, Hindustan had been around for centuries, but England was able to enter and through force and persuasion establish its presence in the nation. Colonialism was a large part of the economic philosophy of mercantilism, which argued that a nation's economic state had to be assessed through ensuring greater exports than imports. Colonialism worked well under this philosophy because through colonizing, the parent nation had an open outlet for all of its goods. The colony had but little choice to accept all of the imports, helping the host nation's economic status improve. It is complex to assess whether or not colonialism was entirely good or bad. A strong case could be made for either. Probably more of a persuasive case can be made that it was destructive to the indigenous people of the nation being colonized.
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