Give a brief explanation of colonialism and describe how it impacts life in the modern day.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Colonialism is a process where one nation takes control of land and resources in another territory. As the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy website describes, colonialism involves the subjugation of one people to another. Colonialism is heavily driven by economics; the dominant colonist nation exploits the local resources and labor of...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Colonialism is a process where one nation takes control of land and resources in another territory. As the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy website describes, colonialism involves the subjugation of one people to another. Colonialism is heavily driven by economics; the dominant colonist nation exploits the local resources and labor of the colonized area and peoples. Many nations of the world have a history steeped in colonialism, either as colonists or colonized.

For example, the United States can trace its origins to a colonial period. People from Europe-- primarily British, in this case-- traveled to North America in search of better economic opportunities. The military power of Great Britain was used to seize land from the First Nations peoples who already lived there. Valuable crops like tobacco and cotton were planted on a mass scale, and labor was provided in the form of slaves from other colonized regions of the world. Many people who live in the United States today are descendants of those early colonists who came over from Europe, or are the descendants of slaves who were captured and forced to labor for the benefit of a nation they had no claim to. 

The nation of Haiti is a great example of post-colonialist society and rejection of colonialism. The oppressed agricultural workers there overthrew the rule of the French elites. Since then, Haiti has had a troubled economy-- their revolution bought their freedom, but sacrificed much of their promised economic growth and infrastructure. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team