of these articles has politically dependent areas to the article, further meanings under colony (term clarifying)

than colony (of lat. colere, i.e. originally in the sense of “country orders”) designates one “cultivates” in the modern times a foreign dependent area of a state without own political and economic power.

Conceptually colony is connected closely with Kolonisation . With the Kolonisation concerns it in the core a colonization. The colony is therefore in a broader sense a person federation in an area outside of the traditional settlement area. Within the field of the policy with it in addition a political dependence is connected to the “motherland”.

The formation of colonies is a substantial instrument of the power expansion of imperialistic states.

“Motherlands” and colonial territories 1945.

Table of contents

antique colony term

colonies in the original sense of the planting city already gave it in the antique one. Thus some colonies in the Mediterranean area particularly became from the Greek cities (e.g. Syrakus on Sicilies and based in the area of the black sea. This independently of the nut/mother cities politically, remained connected however by trade relations and religious contacts closely with the nut/mother cities in Greece.

Nevertheless the today's colony term is to be applied only with caution to antique conditions. The old historian Moses Finley expressed itself critically already early over the application of the today's colony term to antique conditions (Lit.: Finley 1976 S. 167 FF.) and in connection with the Greek settlement Siziliens implemented: “Das Wort >>Kolonisation<<, which the historians use usually for the description of this process, actually misleads in, since it lets think of the establishment of dependent municipalities in overseas. The emigration from Greece, arranged after the west, was certainly an organized movement, those from different >>nut/mother cities<< was equipped, armed and planned, but was from the beginning the effect, - after everything which we - also the intention of this movement can say not colonizing the country; rather men of the nut/mother cities should be requested to it, forced every now and then to pull into new, independent and independent municipalities.“(Lit.: Finley 1989 S. 14).

In order to avoid problems with the modern colonial term, does not become frequently from one e.g. “Colony of Athens”, but a “establishment of Athens” or a “establishment by attische settlers” spoken, if one describes these antique colonies of Greek origin. Also the Romans knew this principle - with them there was the soldiers separated from the military service, those in the conquered areas country to management received and as settlers (lat. colonus) colonies based. Thus for instance the name of the city is derived Cologne directly from latin colonia .

forms of the expansion

around the term correctly to arrange to be able, it is thus necessary to represent first the different forms of the expansion which is the colony term neighbouring and is of which it to be defined:

  • The total migration, (exodus). Peoples leave their homeland and occupy another area, without a steering center in the old homeland stays. Such happened in the people migration time and the emigration of the cape Buren into the Oranje Free State and after Transvaal in the first half 19. Century. Buren at the cape stayed, but these did not have steering influence on the emigrants.
  • The individual migration, the classical emigration. It usually happens for economic or world-descriptive reasons. Contrary to the total migration the societies left remain intact. The emigrants do not create new colonies with subordinate position, but into the taking up societies are integrated. There they form frequently for enclaves in the new society like the Chinatowns in American cities. Voluntariness is not thereby necessary characteristic. The Huguenots can quite concern - emigration or the resettlement of African in the course of the slave trade forced emigrations, like.
  • The Grenzkolonisation. Among them becomes the development of country for the human use, which understood a shifting of the culture border into the wilderness. In all rule with it no education of independent political units is connected. Example is the expansion of the agriculture zones at expense of the Hirtenvölker inside Asia by the Han Chinese in 19. and early 20. Century. Likewise the development of the American continent of the east coast and the development of asiatic Russia fall since late 19. Century under it.
  • The overseas Siedlungskolonisation. With “overseas” only the separation from the motherland is meant by a larger distance over a sea. Typical example of it are the phönizischen and Greek “planting cities” of the antique ones beyond a sea without large military expenditure. Here it came by the transportation problems over far sea distances to independent community. Also the beginnings of the English settlement of North America fall into this category (plan act ion) (Lit.: Bacon). They strove for autarcy. The country was considered abandoned. The native population was not subjected and was not made subjects, was by force back-pushed as in the Spanish possessions in America, but. The habitats remained separate.
    • One differentiates between three types:
    • Type I.: The again-English type. An agrarian population of immigrant settled with own forces a country and pushes the native population back. Thus homogeneous European settlements developed in North America.
    • Type II is mainly in Africa represented. A settler minority submits an already intact agricultural society, takes over their Landbesitz and continues to employ the previous gentlemen as farmhands. One remains dependent of the native Bevökerung. Autarcy is not aimed at, what must lead to the instability in principle. Examples are Algeria, Kenya, Rhodesien (Lit.: Mosley S. S. 5 FF., 237).
    • Type III.: That is the plan day economy operated by few immigrants by slaves, as she was operated in the Karibik, where 1770 black ones 90% of the total population placed (American Southern States 40%, north states 20%) (Lit.: Fogel S. 30 FF.)
  • the realm-forming conquest wars is the Roman form of the expansion. A people subjects another. Center of power remains the capital of the motherland. That does not have to flow however into a steady unit realm. The Arab-Muslim expansion in 8. Century led fast to independent centers of power. The same applies to the realm Dschingis Khans. The British Empire developed to three politically different things, the “white Dominions “, the colonies (” Dependencies “) and the Empire of India. Generally the existing social and organization relating to domestic affairs was maintained and adapted to the needs. The extermination of the Oberschicht with smashing the existing rule system, as it was done via the Spaniards with the invasion in Mexico, is the exception. The special attention was directed toward the economic exploitation by tribute collection. Therefore as fast as possible a new tax legislation was introduced. A settlement activity followed conquest rarely (e.g. in parts of the Roman realm, in Ireland or in Algeria). India is however the classical example of modern colonial rule without Kolonisation.
  • Base cross-linking is a special form of the maritime expansion, with which militarily protected commercial centres are formed. From these no Kolonisation of the hinterland and also no spacious military colonization goes out in all rule (the English power expansion of Bombay, WAD-race and to Calcutta out is an exception). The purpose is the safety device of the commercial hegemony. Examples are the trading bases of Genova in the Middle Ages, Portugal of trading bases in Goa, Macao, Malakka and Mozambique and the dutchmen in Batavia, Ceylon, Nagasaki. In 18. Century shifted the meaning of the trading bases to geopolitical and militärichen functions. The English overseas bases became fleet bases (after 1839 Aden, after 1801 Alexandria with Suez, starting from 1766 Bermuda, starting from 1730 Gibraltar, after 1814 Capetown, starting from 1814 Malta. In addition the “port colonies(Lit came.: Green field) Singapore and Hong Kong. They kept longest.

a definition of the colony

makes colonies and its forms the variety of the types of expansion difficult, because it must be close enough, around certain historical situations like temporary military occupation or the affiliation by force of border areas to modern territorial states (e.g. Elsass Lorraine 1871 - to exclude 1918) and to receive also a differentiating force of expression, which is lost with an indiscriminate application of the term to all expansion forms. Completely roughly one can as minimum content settlement or rule, when maximum content and rule regard settlement (Lit.: Pure hard S. 2). Osterhammel developed the following definition, which is also accepted in the professional world from all these types: Afterwards a colony is

a political thing, whose landstrange rule carrier in durable functional dependences to a spatially removed “motherland” or imperial center, again-created by invasion (conquest and/or Siedlungskolonisation) in tying to before-colonial conditions, which exclusive “possession” - claims on the colony lays “(Lit.: Osterhammel S.16; approving pure hard S. 348)

Afterwards there are three main forms of genuine colonies:

  • Rule colony: Usually this is the result of military conquest with the purpose of economic exploitation and the strategic security of imperial policy as well as national prestige gain. Further characteristics are a in terms of figures small colonial operational readiness level of civil servants, soldiers and buyers. These settle there not, but return after certain time to the motherland and from other officials are replaced. The government is done exclusive via the motherland. The native inhabitants have often no or only decreased citizen rights. Besides its own and purposeful development of the area does not take place. Most European colonies, between that the 16. and that 18. Century were based, corresponded to this type.
  • Base colony: It is the result of fleet actions with the purpose of the indirect commercial exploitation of the hinterland and/or a contribution for the logistics of sea-based display of power and informal control of formally independent States of (gunboat politics). To differentiate military base and trading base are here again between the type. In the first case soldiers form first a base, to which it pulls settlers in the course of the time also. In other words: “The trade follows the flag”. Turned around the developing process in the second case. Here buyers enterprises based, in order to establish the trade with distant regions. Only in the course of the time the state undertook the sovereignty over these commercial colonies, usually under the default to secure these militarily. In this way many colonies at the westAfrican coast, in addition, Netherlands India developed. (Lit.: Jakob, Schulz Weidner)
  • settlement colony: Typically this type is the result of a militarily supported settlement politics with the purpose of the use approves of country and cheap indigenous labor, whereby social and cultural ways of life are developed, which are quite placed in the motherland in question. Settlers from the motherland are durably present as residents Farmer or Pflanzer. This Kolonisten develops beginnings for self-government under ignoring the rights of the native population. The classical example for this is North America.
  • Penal colony: This serves for durable banishing of culpable ones into remote areas. The most well-known examples are Australia, Siberia and French Guyana. (Lit.: The Jakobs, Schulz Weidner)

the types are mutually exclusive not, on the contrary there are transition forms, which are to be assigned not clearly. Besides a development from a colony form is conceivable to the next. Thus Australia also a settlement colony developed and from many base colonies e.g. from the penal colony. at the African coast rule or settlement colonies became. (Lit.: Jakob, Schulz Weidner)

colonies and Dekolonisation

by after that 2. World war developed key word colonialism coined/shaped colony understanding equates colonies with the type of the rule colony , which was defined for the time of origin of the key word also as exploitation colony. The associated reproach reads that the motherlands regard the colonial country only under the goal of fastest and greatest possible profit, but on its own and purposeful development policy to well-being of the native peoples does without. (Lit.: Jakob, Schulz Weidner).

Parallel to it the right of self-determination of the peoples for the colonies, held in the Charter of the United Nations 1946, opened the way to independence by Dekolonisation. The member states of the United Nations put on for it 1946 a list, on which they listed all dependent areas. It was left however to them, which states announced it. 1960 defined the general assembly in resolution 1541 (XV) as areas, which are applicable as colony for the Dekolonisation, such, as well as which lay separately from the motherland geographically ethnical and/or cultural differences exhibit.

Disputed is however the status of those dependent areas, which were not taken up 1946 on the list of the colonies, since for these the UN-resolutions did not apply. This e.g. applies. for Neukaledonien, west Papua, Osterinsel, Hawai'i and French Polynesien. (Lit.: Gonschor, S.3) in case of the west seeing era took place a completion of the status as colony by the retreat of Spain , before the population could notice however the right to self-determination, occupied Morocco the country.


  • Francis Bacon: OF of plan act ion [1625]. In: The Assays (John Pitcher Hrg.) Harmondsworth 1985, S. 162 FF.
  • Moses Finley: Colonie: At Attempt RK A Typology. In: Transactions OF the Royal Historical Society. 5th of series, 26 (1976)
  • Moses Finley and other one: History Siziliens and the Sicilian, Munich 1989.
  • Rober William Fogel: Without Consent or Contract.: The giant and case OF American Slavery. New York 1989.
  • Lorenz Gonschor: Colonialism and anti-colonial resistance in the Pacific of the present. Focus - short informations from the Pacific, 12/2003.
  • Ernst Grünfeld: Port colonies and colony-similar conditions in China, Japan and Kores. Jena 1913.
  • Ernst Gerhard Jacob, Willy Schulz Weidner: Colonies, in: State encyclopedia. Fourth volumes. Freiburg: Publishing house Herder, 1959, S. 1130-1137
  • Paul Mosley: The Settler Economies. Studies into the Economic History OF Kenya and Southern Rhodesia, 1900 - 1963. Cambridge 1983.
  • Jürgen Osterhammel: Colonialism. History forms consequences. Munich 2003 3. Edition. Chapter. I.
  • Wolfgang pure hard: Small history of the colonialism. Stuttgart 1996.

see also


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