Introduction: structure of the lectures
• Definitions
• Chronology
• Analysis
Definitions 1
• Imperialism: process through which a state attempts to control the
economic and/or political and cultural makeup of another state.
• Colonialism: the most developed form of Imperialism whereby the
controlling state invades another state/region so as to exploit its
resources and/or for the purposes of large-scale immigration
• Colonialism: extension of territorial control
– through either settler colonies or administrative dependencies: indigenous
pop. (in)directly ruled or displaced
• Imperialism: extension of political control
– policy of extending control over foreign entities to acquire and/or maintain
– Colonialism is one way of achieving more general goal of imperialism
Definitions 2
• Colony
– Territory under direct political control through the extension of a
state’s sovereignty over territory beyond its original borders.
– Cf. Dependent Territory: formally cedes part of its sovereignty
• Protectorate
– P. established through formal agreement placing one state in an
unequal relationship with another. The latter ‘protects’ the
former (diplomatically, militarily), which accepts specified
– N.B.: UK often also controlled local government.
• Condominium
– Arrangement in which two (or more) states share sovereignty
over a third. E.g. Anglo-Egyptian Sudan (1899-1956)
Definitions 3: Mandates & Trusts (20th
• Mandates (post WWI)
– Def.: League of Nations Covenant (Art. 22) disposes of territories
of Ottoman & German Empires defeated in WWI.
– Mandates justified with necessary transitional period to ‘prepare’
for independence.
– Only Mandatory territory still not independent: Palestine
• Trusts (post WII)
– UN Charter (ch. 11-13) establishes control of “non self-governing
territories” intended to “promote the welfare of the native
inhabitants, and advance them toward self-government.”
– N.B. Justification for Trusts virtually identical to that for
Colonialism and the ‘Imperial Age’
• Process was both extensive (in many parts of the world)
and intensive
• Where: European Empires in the Americas, South and
South East Asia, and Africa
• Who: Spain, Portugal, Britain, France, Holland, Belgium
and to a certain extent Germany and Italy
• When: era of exploration from the late 15th Century colonial empires reach their peak in the 19th Century,
formal independence comes mostly after WW2.
• How: underpinned by superior military might and
apparatus for control – threat and use of violence never
far from the surface
• Why: motivated by economic interests (new materials to
be exploited)
Types of Colonial Rule
• 1. Economic Companies: East India Trading Co./VOC/
French trading co.
 European nations allowed the establishment of private
companies that were granted large territories to administrate in
the target country
 Companies set up own systems of taxation & labour
 European powers who provided charters for these companies
 companies took responsibility for all of the expenses related to
establishing & administering the colonies.
 European countries political benefit of having additional
colonies, but not the expense
Types of Colonial Rule
1. Economic Companies (cont.)
 Companies took responsibility for all of the
expenses related to establishing & administering
the colonies.
 European countries: political benefit of having
additional colonies in Africa, but not the expense
 companies were eventually unsuccessful in that
they were unable to generate consistent profits
for their shareholders. Governing a colony was
 By 1924, all Company rule was replaced by
various forms of European colonial governance
Types of Colonial Rule
2. Direct Rule
 French, Belgians, Germans, & Portuguese in governing
African colonies.
 Centralised administrations (usually in urban centres) , that
stressed policies of assimilation.
 Colonialists’ intention of "civilising" African societies so they
would be more like Europe.
 As part of this strategy, colonialists did not try to negotiate
governance with indigenous rulers & governments.
 Indigenous authorities- subordinate place in these
 Direct rule also used the strategy of "divide and rule" by
implementing policies that intentionally weakened
indigenous power networks & institutions
Types of Colonial Rule
3. Indirect Rule
 British used indirect rule to govern their colonies.
 This system of governance used indigenous rulers
within the colonial administration, although they
often maintained an inferior role.
 More cooperative model than direct rule
• Indirect rule increased divisions between ethnic
groups & gave power to certain "big men" who
had never had it before in pre-colonial history.
 Consequences of these significant changes in
social organisation & identity are still being felt
Types of Colonial Rule
4. Settler Rule
 Settler rule refers to the type of colonialism
(mainly in southern Africa) in which European
settlers imposed direct rule on their colonies.
 Settler colonies differed from other colonies- a
significant number of immigrants from Europe
settled in these colonies.
Types of Colonial Rule
4. Settler Rule (continued)
 To thrive in the colonies, settlers demanded
special political & economic rights, & protection.
 Security & prosperity for settlers depended on
economic exploitation & political oppression of
the population that vastly outnumbered the
 Consequently, settler rule was characterised by
its harsh policies toward indigenous populations.
Types of Colonial Rule
4. Settler Rule (continued)
Southern Africa: South Africa, Southern &
Northern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe & Zambia),
Angola, Mozambique, & South West Africa
Settlers from Holland, Britain, Germany, &
Portugal colonised these areas.
in Algeria, French colony in North Africa.
Australia, New Zealand, North America
Chronology: 15th-17th Century
• Spain & Portugal divide world:
Treaty of Torsedillas (1494)
• Portugal: trader colonialism
– Informal, settlements/outposts
– coast of Africa & Asia;
– 1st & longest-lived global empire
Portuguese Empire at height, 16th C
• Spain: settler colonialism
– try to assimilate local cultures 
deeper impact
– South & Central America
• Debate: Do Amerindians have
souls…?…or rights? (slavery!)
Spanish Empire at height, 1790
Chronology: 18th Century
• The Netherlands
– trader C: Dutch Indies Trading
Cos., followed by state
– Rise in patriotism (struggle against
• Britain
– Migration: wars of religion  start
‘afresh’ (N.Am.)
– Slave trade: agricultural economies
(sugar, cotton, tobacco)
– Gain: New France (1760), Aus. (1788),
NZ (1840)
– Lose American colonies (1776-83)
– 1757: UK E. India Co. conquers Bengal
Dutch Empire, 18th Century
 France: Fall of 1st Empire
 …Rise of Nationalism
 Industrial Revolution
‘First’ British Empire, 1760
Chronology: 19th Century
 Scramble for Africa
‘Long Depression’ (1873-96)
+ protectionism↑
African markets solve deficits
Increasing strategic rivalries
British Empire, 1921
…Informal  formal col. • Britain: mass migration
– India: 1857 ‘Mutiny’  direct rule
– Africa: ‘Cape to Cairo’
– Divide & Rule: Ireland, India, Zimbabwe
Uganda, Iraq
• France
– Algeria 1830 (settler/assimilation)
– Indochina, French Africa
French Empires: First Empire (■15th18th C) and Second (■19th-20th C)
Chronology: 20th Century
 UK, France, and WWI
 Ottoman fall: Sykes-Picot, 1916
 League of Nations:
 Liberal discourse, Colonial Practices…
 …Revolutionary consequences (soon)
 Italy: Libya, Eritrea, Somalia
 Fascism & Roman Empire
• Japan: ‘Co-Prosperity Sphere’
– Econ. & ideological reasons
– ‘anti-imperial imperialism’
• WW2…beginning of end…
• United Nations Trusteeship Council
League of Nations Mandates, 1920
Military dimensions of Empire
Superiority in military technology is vital, as it
allows force projection, and thus leverage:
Naval technology: Control of the seas: Spain &
Portugal (15-17th C); Ned., UK, France (18thC)
extract and enforce favourable terms of trade (e.g.
control vastly superior numbers of native inhabitants.
e.g.: importance of Suez Canal
Industrial revolution  military technology
(cannons, repeat rifles, coal- & oil-powered
commercial & military navies) & mass production
UK, France
Economic role of Colonies
• trader colonialism: metropolitan states drawn in to protect
‘terms of trade’ (i.e. trading companies’ profits)
– Slavery: settler colonialism relied on ‘cheap’ labour, either subjugated
locals or ‘imported’ slaves
– Trading companies: Granted monopolies by metropole, had own armed
forces and independent foreign policy
• E.g.: UK’s East India Trading Company
• re-structuring local economies
– provide raw materials (e.g. Egyptian & American cotton, Caribbean
sugar) or luxury goods (S. American gold, Chinese opium)
– provide markets for metropolitan economies (Sheffield textile mills)
– fund local elites’ reform (Muhammad ’Ali’s new Egyptian army)
• Economics, poverty and revolution
– industrialisation  (urbanisation & pauperisation) = increase in
inequality  social & political tensions
– E.g.: Egypt 19-20C, Iran under Shah
Religion: Missionaries in 19th
Relationship between colonialism & religion:
Missionaries opposed the more cruel aspects
of colonialism but they did support their
country’s role in target country.
This legitimised colonial rule
To spread Christianity
To civilise natives
British Colonial Structures
Secretary of
State for
Colonial Office
Secretary for
Foreign and
Dominion Affairs
Structure of British Colonialism
Colonial Office
Governor or
High Commissioner
Executive Council
Legislative Council
Colonial Administration
Government Secretary/
Provincial Officer
l Commissioner
Provincial Education Officer
District Commissioner
“Tribal” Administration
Paramount Chief
Head Man
Traditional Government
Two Structures
National Systems
Chief (King)
Native Councils
Traditional Meeting
Judicial System
Imperial Systems
Inner Council
Outer Council
And Headmen
Indirect Rule System
French Colonialism
• Meaning of Assimilation
Direct Rule
Use of Traditional Authorities as French Administrators
Replacement of Traditional Authorities by Soldiers
In Practice Assimilation was Association
British and French administrative Practice not that
different in rural Africa
French Colonialism
• The Concept of Permanent Association
• Goal a French Language Union (Political Economic
and Social)
• Paris and A Single, highly centralized system- World
• Facade of Direct Rule
French Colonial Structures
France Overseas: Indochina, Caribbean
North Africa: Tunisia, Morocco, the Department of
L’Afrique Occidentale Francaise (AOF)
L’Afrique Equitoriale Francaise (AEF)
The Mandates: Togo, Cameroons
French Colonial Structures
French Executive
And Cabinet
French National
( Nominal African
Ministry of
Overseas Affairs
French Civil and
Colonial Services
French Colonial Structures
Governor General
Of the Federation
Old Communes:
and Staff
St. Louis
Rep. in French
French Colonial Structures
De cercle
de subdivisions
District Chiefs
And Headmen
French Decolonisation
• The Concept of the French Union
• France and World War II: French Africa
and Vichy
• Socialist Governments and Socialist Empires
• Collapse of Federation, the Loi Cadre of 1956
• DeGaulle and the 1958 Referendum
Political impact of Colonialism
• Arbitrary boundaries: historically separate, if not antagonistic
cultures, languages, ethnicities and political systems
– E.g.: Lebanon, Nigeria, Maghreb, Afghanistan –cf. Kurdistan’s
• Loss of ‘experience’: robbed of organic political development for
• Strategies of rule
– divide & rule  internal divisions both before and after
• India, Iraq
– Assimilation (settler colonialism, longer-term effects on
indigenous cultures)
• Algeria, North & South America, Australia, Southern Africa
– Association (trading outposts, shorter-term effects)
• Macao
Dilemmas/ambiguities of ‘modernity’
• How to separate ‘modernity’ from Westernisation
and ‘Westoxification’ (cultural imperialism)?
• Loss of language and values – can they be retrieved
after centuries?
• ‘Modernisation’ equated with ‘Westernisation’, and
used as excuse for domination by colonial powers
and local elites…
• E.g. Iranian Revolution, ‘Beijing consensus’
How was colonialism justified by invaders in
‘moral’ terms?
• Racial arguments: were native populations
subhuman/less human? No moral obligations
• Religious arguments: non-Christians were
worth less in the eyes of God and they had
less moral worth
• Cultural arguments: inferior cultures would
benefit from influence of superior ones:
colonialism carried a ‘civilising mission’
• Timeline
– From trade to settlement and industry
– Self determination (UN) is a recent concept
• Hidden world history?
– History written by the victors of colonialism, myths of the
benefits of colonialism, silenced voices of the colonised
• Aspects & Consequences
– Military, Economic, Political legacies are clear: will become
apparent in later parts of the course
• The Contradictions of Decolonisation...
– Decolonisation is successful but emancipation is partial
– Is colonialism replaced by a more subtle form of Neo-Imperialism?
IR1001 – Week 2
Dr. C. Heristchi
F43 EWB,
Consultation times: Wednesdays 10amnoon

Colonialism - CLIO History Journal