Which European countries never had colonies?
Colonialism / colonies
The colonies of the German Empire in the 19th century. (& copy picture-alliance / imageBROKER)
Subjugation of other countriesOver the past 200 years, many European states have subjugated countries in other parts of the world. These countries could not defend themselves against the overwhelming power of the Europeans and became so-called colonies. This policy of conquest is known as "colonialism". The term comes from the Latin word "colonia", which means "settlement outside the Roman citizen area".
Exploitation of the coloniesThe countries were often only subjugated because the conquerors wanted to have the treasures of the foreign countries for themselves. It could be gold or diamonds. Spices, tea, coffee, tobacco or fruit were also bought for little money in foreign countries and then sold for a lot of money in their home countries.
Colonial powersThe first colonies were conquered by the great seafaring nations Great Britain, Spain, Portugal, France and the Netherlands. Germany, which was not one of the great seafaring nations, had few colonies in Africa and Asia for a short time (until the end of the First World War). Spain, on the other hand, had large colonies in Central and South America and England in Asia and the Middle East. The colonies were administered by German, French, English and Spanish officials.
Consequences of colonialismThe people who lived in the colonies were subject to foreign rulers and often had no rights of their own. Until the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, more than half of all people in the world lived in colonies. Only after the end of the Second World War in 1945 did the European states gradually give up their colonies again, so that these countries became independent. Many of them still suffer from the fact that they were ruled by foreign states for so long.
Source: Gerd Schneider / Christiane Toyka-Seid: The young politics encyclopedia from www.hanisauland.de, Bonn: Federal Agency for Civic Education 2021.
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