1

COLONIZATION OR IMPERIALISM

Gold or Christ

Colonization is associated with the occupation of a foreign land, with its being brought under cultivation, with the settlement of colonists. If this definition of the term “colony” is used, the phenomenon dates from the Greek period. Likewise we speak of Athenian, then Roman “imperialism”. Has there been any change in the meaning of this term?

Western historical tradition, however, places the date of the colonial phenomenon at the time of the Great Discoveries. For example, according to the Histoire de la France coloniale, published in 1991, the “real colonial adventure” began with the explorers of the fifteenth century, when Jean de Béthencourt received from Henry IV, King of Castile, the Canary Islands as fief. It goes on to say that the exploration and discoveries in America took place later: the Bay of Rio de Janeiro and the Florida coast were occupied towards the middle of the sixteenth century, prior to any interest being directed towards Canada, during the reign of Henri IV and thanks to Champlain. This way of looking at colonization is equally valid for Portugal, Spain and England. That is, historical tradition links the expansion of these countries to the discovery of distant lands in the West Indies, followed by the installation of trading-posts along the routes of Africa, India and Asia.

Thus terms such as “colonist” and “colonization” disappear from the vocabulary of the history covering the period from the Roman era to the fifteenth century. The exceptions, during these twelve centuries, are the colonies or trading-posts which Venice or Genoa established on the other side of the Mediterranean or on the Black Sea, but still a good way from home.

However the case of Russia needs to be thought about. “Colonization is the essential element in our history”, wrote the historian M. Kluchevski in 1911. “Its development explains the growth as well as the changes experienced by the state and the society since the time of Rus, the Russia of the Dnieper.” Beginning in the twelfth century, the incursions of Novgorod, then those of Suzdal in the direction of the Urals and beyond,

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Colonization: A Global History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • 1 - Colonization or Imperialism 1
  • 2 - The Initiatives 24
  • 3 - Conflicts for an Empire 52
  • 4 - A New Race of Societies 104
  • 5 - Rose-Coloured Legend and Pitch-Black Legend 163
  • 6 - The Vision of the Vanquished 186
  • 7 - The Movements for Colonist-Independence 211
  • 8 - Leaven and Levers 239
  • 9 - Independence or Revolution 262
  • 10 - Liberation or Decolonization 305
  • 11 - Decolonization Halted 344
  • Chronology 361
  • Filmographic Selection 370
  • Bibliography 376
  • Index 390
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