Imperialism and Colonialism: Essays on the History of European Expansion

Imperialism and Colonialism: Essays on the History of European Expansion

Imperialism and Colonialism: Essays on the History of European Expansion

Imperialism and Colonialism: Essays on the History of European Expansion

Synopsis

This work provides readers with a number of articles and essays on the general subject of European expansion. Part I discusses colonialism and contains two studies on colonial wars, an essay on the now hotly debated subject of the relationship between science and imperialism, and a study on the role the Netherlands played as a colonial model for such European powers as Britain, Germany, Belgium, and France. Part II contains an historical article about the debate on French imperialism, an essay on whether or not the Netherlands fits in with the general theory of imperialism, and two case studies on Africa. Part III discusses decolonization and its impact on the writing of European overseas history. Essays in this part include topics such as the first model to explain why decolonization took so many different forms, the consequences of the loss of empire for the Netherlands, and two essays which present an overview of the new trends in the writing of European overseas history after decolonization.

Excerpt

The words that appear in the title of this book, imperialism and colonialism, are well-known expressions often used in political debate and mostly with strong, negative connotations. The word expansion, on the contrary, is a much less commonly used term and has no special connotations. It is more a term for the professionals. All three words, however, refer to the same phenomenon, albeit in some slightly different forms. All three words also have their histories.

The word imperialism has such a long and complicated history that an entire book has been devoted to it. Let us simply observe that the word originated in France in the nineteenth century, where it referred to the political friends of Napoleon III and the Second Empire before crossing the Channel, where it was used in the debate concerning the future of the British Empire. Only in 1902, when J. A. Hobson published his book Imperialism: A Study, did the word imperialism develop into a concept with a specific meaning. From that time onward it has referred to a specific form of colonial exploitation, connected to a particular stage in the development of capitalism. From then on the term has also become en vogue both in political debates and in scholarly discussions, and it remains so today. According to the International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, "the concept refers primarily to attempts to establish or retain formal sovereignty over subordinate political societies, but it is also often equated with the exercise of any form of political control or influence by one political community over another."

Colonialism is a somewhat younger term, although its sister, colonization, is of much older date. But colonization is a technical term, originally only used to describe the phenomenon of people migrating to other parts of the world and starting there a new life as settlers (coloni). Colonialism, like imperialism, came over from France, where it was used for the first time in the title of Le Colon ialisme . . .

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