The major stages of European expansion from the 16th to the 20th centuries

From Baripedia

This is a long period, four and a half centuries, so we have to cut out this base period. Our geographical coverage is wide, America, Asia, and Africa.

European colonization sometimes concerns one region and sometimes another. For example, European colonization in America lasts from the beginning of the 16th century until the beginning of the 19th century. On the other hand, the last large region to have been subjected to the colonial yoke, i.e. sub-Saharan Africa, lasted from 1890 until the 1960s.

As these are not the same periods, distinctions must be made. It is necessary to set milestones that will serve us for the future, we must put in boxes the phases of major stages and the regions concerned.

In the middle of the 19th century, a very large part of Asia was not under European colonial domination and sub-Saharan Africa was not concerned by colonial domination. Above all, it is necessary to establish a chronology in which chronological and geographical breakdowns appear.

It is also necessary to establish terms of comparison. America is colonized in a certain way, i.e. the phenomenon of European domination takes on particular forms, characteristics specific to a particular moment. We need to isolate them, because the processes are different. It is comparisons that allow us to identify the particularisms and singularities of colonisation.

Sometimes we go out of the cases and take something that is revealing, that evokes something.

Periodization begins at the very end of the 15th and the beginning of the 16th century. At that time, things happen that have extensions. For historians, the events that count are those that have extensions. We start things at that period because there are two major events at that time that are turning points in the history of humanity.

The first event is the beginning of the 1490s, which is marked by the discovery, or rediscovery, of America by Christopher Columbus on October 12, 1492.

A little later, at the end of the 15th century, on 27 May 1498, Europe discovered that the earth was larger than had been imagined until then. A very large new portion of the planet was added to the known world; this part of America would be colonised in its entirety.

Le contournement de l'Afrique par Vasco de Gama.
Premier voyage (1497-1499).

The second discovery is that, not of a continent, but the eventual discovery of a new sea route. Until 1498, land routes were used to get to Asia. The European deep-sea ships, first Portuguese, made this discovery possible by Vasco de Gama.

European ocean-going ships could not go beyond certain latitudes, but technology, science, and a relentless effort made it possible for Europeans to reach Asia directly into the sea.

All these Asian entities and mainly the Ottoman Empire became a secondary route. This new route allows the transport of goods, of course through this new route Vasco de Gama arrives in an Indian port called Calicut which is a trading centre for spices, which is what the Europeans are looking for.

Columbus is looking for China, looking for glory, maybe he wants to get the glory of the lord, but this adds to the myth of the Eldorado.

These are two major events in the 1490s; Europeans discover and then get their hands on America.

The Europeans manage to circumnavigate Africa by the Cape of Good Hope and reach the subcontinent through the Indian Ocean.

Adam Smith, in Research on the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations[7] published in 1776, dedicates a chapter dedicated to colonization, with an appreciation of these two events that we have just recalled, namely that the discovery of America and the discovery of the Route of the Indies by the Cape of Good Hope are the two greatest events in the history of humanity.

It is these two events that opened the European colonial epic from the beginning of the 16th century. These two events open a new era in the history of the New World, in the history of Africa because of the Atlantic slave trade and of course in the history of Asia and Europe.

In the Atlantic basin, men of sandstone or of strength will circulate. On the other hand, through the Cape of Good Hope and across the Indian Ocean and the Asian Seas will circulate goods.

America will be immediately subjected to the colonizers who will exploit it economically by intervening directly at the production stage. In Asia, on the other hand, the Europeans will be content to exchange, that is to say, to intervene at the level of trade.

America[edit | edit source]

South America and the Caribbean[edit | edit source]

The arrival of Christopher Columbus in America with two white banners emblazoned with a green cross and a yellow banner bearing the initials F and Y of the sovereigns Ferdinand II of Aragon and Ysabella of Castile.

The beginning of colonization began in America at the beginning of the 16th century. Between the arrival of Columbus and the era, conquistadors elapsed less than thirty years. This is very little because we have the example of Asia which allows us to highlight a particularity.

The arrival of Christopher Columbus in America is two and a half centuries later than the Europeans in Asia. This means that America does not have the consistency and resilience of Asia.

The colonization of America is very fast. Everybody more or less thinks that Europe, which set out to conquer the world through colonization, made conquests easily; this is true for America, the conquest by the Spaniards mainly concerns Central America, the Mexican plateau and South America in the Andes. Colonization lasted only about twenty years.

This lightning conquest was carried out by a few thousand Spaniards with limited means. In about twenty years, the Spaniards manage to throw down Aztec civilizations for Mexico, Incas for the Andes. These civilizations had in some areas a high degree of development.

Colonization leads to death, destruction of pre-Columbian civilizations, Aztec and Inca civilization collapses. Basically, the history of the world will be written from then on without these civilizations that existed taking part in it.

Not only does the colonial shock have such a destructive effect, but there is something in the Americas that is not found in Asia, namely the collapse of the human race.

In the early days of colonization, we see mainly looting. It is a predatory economy, the precious metals accumulated previously by the Amerindian societies are taken away, and then from the mid-16th and 17th centuries we enter into the development, that is to say the economic exploitation of the land with the establishment of the plantation system. This is one of the characteristics of America, namely the system of slave plantations. Sugar, cotton and other tropical products will be cultivated for export.

In the Caribbean, in Central America, in South America, the colonizer intervenes at the production level. The colonizer settles on land that he appropriates. Since there are no longer enough Amerindians for the workforce, the colonizer goes to look for them on the other side of the Atlantic.

The establishment of the labour-intensive plantation system is at the origin of the Atlantic slave trade; the African captive deported to America replaces millions of Amerindians decimated by the colonial shock. There are thus two characteristics peculiar to Latin America: the slave trade and the plantation system.

These characteristics persist to this day. They are very extroverted economies. Around 1800, when colonization was on the wane, exports from Latin America were 60 times higher than those from Asia and America and 2.2 times higher than those from Europe. The structures were therefore changed.

These are economies with a certain profile that they have kept to this day.

Colonial societies in terms of their composition do not resemble the original societies at all. On the one hand we have the collapse of the Amerindian population and on the other hand, as a sort of compensation, the arrival of European migrants and African captives, so that the population of Latin America at the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century has a very singular composition, namely 1/3 Amerindians, 1/5 white, 30% mixed race and 20% white.

No colonial society thereafter will resemble the composition so far removed from the origins of Latin America.

In other words, it is indeed a New World.

In South America and the Caribbean the starting conditions, implying the climate, the nature of the soils, the size of the population, the density of settlement, a whole series of factors allow the establishment of a system of exploitation which is the slave plantation.

The Rio Grande is part of the current border between Mexico and the United States; for geographers, the Rio Grande marks the border between North and South America.

Northern America[edit | edit source]

The states north of the Rio Grande have a different destiny. The first thing that catches the attention is that there is a gap, colonization is late. In South America the colonization is at the beginning of the XVIth century, in the United States and Canada today it starts from the XVIIth century.

First North-East America very sparsely populated, devoid of gold, the gold rush to California only dates from the nineteenth century.

Source: Based on B. Etemad, The Possession of the World. Poids et mesures de la colonisation (XVIIIe-XXe siècles), Complexe, Brussels, 2000, pp. 175, 303 and 308.
Note: Due to rounding, totals and subtotals may not always add up to the exact sum of their components.
a) 13 colonies in North America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa.

North of Rio Grande there are a maximum of 5 million individuals, while in the territories south of Rio Grande there are 55 million individuals.

There is a very low population density and a rather temperate climate that does not allow the cultivation of tropical foodstuffs; north of the Rio Grande there is not the same possibility of exploiting and exporting tropical foodstuffs.

The "Mayflower" in Plymouth Harbour painted by William Halsall (1882).

It is above all the form that colonization in North America will take that distinguishes it from South America, that is, settlement colonization. Immense areas very sparsely inhabited by human groups with a relatively low level of economic and technical development; white immigration will very quickly overwhelm what was in place, drive out, even massacre the Amerindians who have a very low capacity for resistance. In this case, we have the same phenomenon as in South America: a population collapse.

The best known episode is the arrival of the Mayflower, which however is not the first attempt to settle Europeans, the first attempt took place in Virginia in 1637. The Mayflower brought its puritans who formed a permanent colony in New England.

In the Pacific zone, implied Australia, New Zealand, things happen as in North America, we have at the beginning large expanses of land that bear a sparse population therefore extremely low population densities and populations that by the level of technical mastery are unable to contain the European advance.

In the Pacific, as in North America, colonization takes the form of European settlement. If we look at the composition of the population in terms of quantity, we have almost no first inhabitants, the Amerindians on the one hand and the Aborigines and Maoris on the other.

The vast majority of the population at the end of the colonial process was made up of Europeans in the Americas and the Pacific who came to the Americas, took over the land, settled there and are still there today.

To sum up, things started in America from the 16th century for the central and southern part, and from the 17th century for North America north of the Rio Grande.

Let us recall that certain characteristics are specific to European colonization in this region. Not only does the colonization begin here first and lasts a very long time.

While the colonization of sub-Saharan Africa lasts 80 years, the colonization of America lasts three and a half centuries. We are trying to see how long colonization lasts. In some parts of the world these differences matter. European domination lasts a long time in some parts of the world while in others it is very short.

The shortcoming is to retain the most recent phase of European colonisation by focusing on sub-Saharan Africa. This is not wrong, but there is a lack of perspective. Colonization shaped America much more than Africa because, among other things, it lasted a very long time for America.

Asia[edit | edit source]

There is a big difference between colonization in America and Asia. In the first case it goes very fast, and if it doesn't last long, if what was in place sometimes collapses, it's the resistance capacity of what is in place in America that is weak, there are differences in resistance regarding structures and their consistencies between Asia and America.

This question of the consistency, fragility and brittleness of the structures in place before the arrival of the colonizers will have to be dealt with afterwards.

In Asia, it takes a long time for European penetration to take place and, moreover, it does not take place in the same way, it is not in the same form.

European counters in India.

The Europeans penetrated Asia, but had to make do within a relatively long period of time, for two and a half centuries, with coastal support points, the Portuguese, the Dutch, the British, but also the French. There is no territorial hold, no direct control and administration of the populations, there is no intervention at the production level.

The Europeans have naval supremacy and will use this advantage to penetrate commercial networks. European penetration in Asia for two and a half centuries has to be content with merchant networks.

The challenge in Asia is to control the spice trade.

We have something that would, among other things, attract Europeans to the Americas, namely precious metals; what attracts Europeans to Asia is spices and the control of the spice trade, there is no control of production, there is no organisation of a forced population transfer involving more than 10 million African captives.

Vasco da Gama lands at Calicut, 20 May 1498.

In 1498, Vasco de Gama arrived in Calicut and the Portuguese entered the Gulf of Madagascar via the Cape of Good Hope. The Europeans, however, had no landmarks. It was pilots, Asian sailors who frequented the coasts of present-day Mozambique who informed, boarded ships to guide them.

In 1498, the first Europeans arrived in Calicut and only settled in ports with authorizations, they were like other merchants with the Orientals, the Chinese and other Asians. The Europeans were among others and tolerated.

Two and a half centuries passed between the arrival of Vasco de Gama and the first European territorial hold on a portion of Asian land.

When we present European colonization in Asia, we divide the period of penetration into two main phases: the first is a commercial penetration. For two and a half centuries Europe, benefiting from its naval supremacy, intensifies trade between Europe and Asia without going overland, there is no direct domination.

There is no direct domination, because the balance of power is not on land, but at sea, the balance of power on land is to the Europeans' disadvantage.

A Portuguese man attempted a land incursion into present-day India, Afonso de Albuquerque, who had nicknamed himself "The Portuguese". « the builder of Western domination in the East »[8] implied throughout Asia. This great builder, in 1510, tries to get his hands on Calicut, the Indian centre of the spice trade. He fails miserably, the Portuguese must withdraw.

Every time the Europeans set out to make incursions on land, they were pushed back because on land they were at a disadvantage, the balance of power was not in their favour. In other words, the structures in place in Asia are resistant. In India, there is the Mughal Empire at that time; until the beginning of the 18th century, it was a powerful unified empire that had a consistency and solidity that explains this difference with America, whose Aztec and Inca empires we will say are brittle.

This is why, and one could not understand things otherwise, between the moment when the Spaniards are Cortes who landed in 1519 north of the current Vera Cruz, and in 1521 he took Mexico City the capital of the Aztec empire, it happens only a short time. On the other hand, in Asia it was not two and a half years, but two and a half centuries between the first sea incursion and the first land seizure with direct administration.

It is a question of level of development. By the time the Europeans arrive in America and the time they arrive in Asia, they do not find structures that have the same consistency.

Carte Inde début XVIIIeme.png

In Table 3, we can see the demographic consistency; Asia is still a demographic giant. Asia had 260 million inhabitants at the beginning of the 16th century, around 1500 it was 260 million, whereas Europe had 100 million, while pre-conquista America had some 60 million.

The situation in India did not change much in the middle of the 18th century; there were many European trading posts. It is noticeable that the Europeans were only established on the coasts where they set up trading posts. The very word "comptoir" suggests that the activities that take place there are of a commercial nature. At no time should we imagine that Europeans organise production. The production of spices remains in Asian hands.

Around 1750, the European positions that appear on this map have multiple points scattered across the subcontinent, these positons are about the same as two and a half centuries earlier.

Lord Clive meets Mir Jafar after the Battle of Plassey[9], par Francis Hayman (c. 1762)

It was only in the middle of the 18th century following a battle, taking place in the province of Bengal not far from Calcutta, remained famous dating back to 1757. It is from this moment that the second phase begins; the first phase of the European presence in Asia goes from 1498 to 1757.

From the battle of 1757, the Europeans managed for the first time to gain a foothold, i.e. to get their hands on a portion of Asian land, namely Bengal. It was the British who won the battle. It was the first territorial hold; the British would later extend their direct domination to virtually the entire Indian subcontinent between 1790 and 1820.

The British conquest of India is considered to have been completed by the 1850s. It begins around 1750 and ends around 1850, nearly a century in order to take over the land. The Indian subcontinent is a mass.

At the same time that the Europeans, in this case the British in India, put their hand in, that is to say, conquer, control and administer land, colonize at the same time as they do from 1790 to 1820 marks the end of colonization in the Americas.

If we take the independence of the United States and the South American republics, this corresponds to the completion of colonization in the Americas.

At that time, we have a shift in the centre of gravity of European colonisation, which practically only concerned America at the end of the 18th century, and from the beginning of the 19th century it also concerned Asia.

It is interesting to look briefly at the conditions in which the British colonial conquest of India took place.

Carte pole de puissance dans le monde au XVIeme.png

It is carried out through a private commercial firm, the East India Company, also known as the East India Company. It is a royal company, that is to say that this private firm is granted a charter by the British monarchy which recognizes the monopoly of trade between the British Isles and all the territories east of the Cape of Good Hope.

Everything east of the Cape of Good Hope falls under the monopoly of the East India Company granted on December 31, 1600.

The question is intriguing, what we said earlier was that the Mughal Empire was unified, that the socio-economic structures and the economy itself were imposing. Asia compares with Europe.

If we look at things today, it hasn't changed much, if there is one region of the world that compares with the west, it's Asia. There was an interlude where Asia no longer compares and now we are seeing a catch-up with what existed before.

How is it that such an imposing empire has been put down by a simple private commercial firm? Because it was the company's army that fought the battle near Calcutta and won.

It was the East India Company that began to establish itself in Bengal and not just in its Calcutta trading post, administering the territory and beginning to ask local producers for products to suit the tastes of European consumers. It is the army of the East India Company that is nibbling away at the subcontinent.

The explanation lies in India. The Mughal Empire from the first half of the eighteenth century enters a phase of decline, Indian unity is lost, power is fragmented, the last Mughal emperor dies at the beginning of the eighteenth century reducing the gap between Indian land power and the means of action of the East India Company.

It is not the greatness of Europe, it is not its recent power, its capacity for penetration, but the decomposition of what was in place, the beginning of the degradation of the structures in place that allowed the Europeans to make their way and ultimately to take over the subcontinent.

The capture of India was colossal, and with it the British had a larger, more populated, and richer body of land than the Roman Empire in terms of its size.

We have two other takeovers in Asia that should be noted:

  • The Dutch, who were present from the early 17th century, especially in Java and Batavia. Java is topical because it is the only "European" city which is populated by 10% Europeans and 90% Asians. Batavia looks to the sea, but the city of Batavia has no land catch, it is turned towards the sea, towards maritime exchanges, there is no hinterland, it is only from the 1830s that the Dutch will advance and extend their domination to all the Indonesian archipelago.
  • The other important catch is Indochina which represents Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia today by the French. The occupation of Saigon by the French dates back to 1862, Indochina is the second half of the 19th century.

North Africa[edit | edit source]

The taking of Algiers dates back to 1830. It should be remembered that what corresponds to the territory of today's Algeria was under Ottoman domination since the beginning of the 16th century. If we consider the whole of the Maghreb, it is an area under Ottoman domination. Before the arrival of the French, only Morocco did not recognize the suzerainty of the sultan.

The French arrive in 1830, settle down, but the conquest lasts: there is resistance from the population. It is only in the 1870s that Algeria falls into French hands and stops the operations of conquest.

Basically, the European hold on North Africa dates rather from the last third of the 19th century: Tunisia fell in 1881, Morocco in 1912, Egypt fell under British control in the 1880s because the British wanted to control the Suez Canal and Libya fell into Italian hands in the 1910s.

In North Africa, we encounter an experience that will often hold our attention afterwards: the experience of the colonization of Algeria: the colonization of Algeria resembles neither that of America nor that of India.

There is one criterion of differentiation that should be retained, because it is convenient, it is the fraction of the European population in the total colonial population. This indicator is the percentage of Europeans in the total colonial population: Europeans are between 20% and 50% in the Maghreb, south of the Rio Grande is 20% and in the current United States and Canada it is 90%.

Whether we take the central or northern part of America, Europeans represent a substantial fraction, a lot in North America, reminiscent of the Pacific in particular. In Australia and New Zealand, it is the same thing, with Europeans accounting for more than 90% of the total. This is a type of colony.

On the other hand, we have colonies where Europeans are in very small numbers, as in India, we can generalize by taking colonial Asia from the beginning to the end of European colonization; Europeans residing in the colonized territories in Asia represent no more than 0.1% of the population.

To complete the picture with Africa, there are very few Europeans in Africa south of the Sahara, because throughout European colonisation, Europeans represent 0.4% of the total population.

At these two extremes, i.e. a type of colony where Europeans are rather present and a type of colony where they are in the minority or even not significantly represented. In other types of colonies such as India there are Europeans passing through as missionaries, soldiers, merchants, administrators who stay for a few years and then leave; at the time of decolonization, they all leave.

By dint of knowledge, we no longer notice it. When formal colonization ends in America, it does not mean that the colonial structures are destroyed, it means that colonization triumphs in America, because those who obtain, want and often acquire power through arms and indecency are often the Europeans.

Those who unilaterally declare the independence of the United States are not Amerindians, but Englishmen who want Great Britain to call them "Americans"; when one considers the British present in India until 1947, it would never have occurred to a British person to pretend to be called an "Indian" from London. By the time India's independence was declared, they were leaving again.

Basically, there are two types of decolonization: there is decolonization, which means the triumph of colonization, as in America and the Pacific, and there is decolonization, where Europeans who have not settled must go home.

Between these two types of colonies, of which Algeria is an example, we have a mixed type. In Algeria there are more, in relative terms, than in India or in the Asian colonies, but there are more Europeans in Algeria than in Asia at the same time there are far fewer than in the Americas or the Pacific.

This is why we do not know how to treat, or place Algeria in a colonial typology because what prevails and dominates is a mixed formula. This type of colony leaves a particular legacy.

We can see how cold figures or neutral indicators can lead to problems that are very delicate, sometimes painful.

Sub-Saharan Africa[edit | edit source]

There was no colonization in Africa south of the Sahara until the third of the 19th century, historians explain this by the fact that Europeans were not immune to certain diseases such as malaria and yellow fever. Until the 1880s and 1890s, there were only two types of Europeans who ventured out and exposed themselves to very high mortality rates, namely missionaries and scientists.

Africa south of the Sahara is therefore indeed the last great region to be invested, what is called the division of Africa dates from the 1880s and 1890s, but we will have the opportunity to repeat that Africa south of the Sahara and particularly West Africa is indirectly integrated into the Atlantic network, there is an exchange network that is established across the Atlantic and is the result of the great European discoveries.

More particularly, West Africa was integrated into this network as early as the 16th century, as the first African captives were shipped to America as early as the 1530s.

Integration is not achieved through products, but through men through this infamous trade.

Weighing European expansion[edit | edit source]

The reaction of the populations subjected to colonial aggression, i.e. the question of resistance and the differential hold of colonization on large regions are two remarks. In other words, European colonisation does not have the same power to penetrate and destroy and to rebuild anew everywhere. This difference should also be noted. On the other hand, decolonisation does not have the same significance everywhere.

Resistance: capacity of resistance[edit | edit source]

As far as resistance is concerned, one thing is certain, everywhere conquest has resistance as its corollary. Wherever there was colonial conquest, there was resistance. We discuss the diversity of different ways of resisting, of reacting. The diversity of resistance depends on two things:

  • the type of political and social organization: it makes us encounter resistance in different forms. The degree or ability to resist depends on the type of organization and social organization.
  • the degree of integration into the international economy at the time of the conquest: the contrast is striking, at the time of the conquest of America we find societies and economies totally isolated from the rest of the world. On the other hand, when we consider India, from the beginning of the 16th century to the middle of the 18th century, it is the Asian economy that was the most integrated into the international market.

Differential influence of colonization on the major regions that make up the current third world[edit | edit source]

We have to consider the areas colonized, but if we take this criterion all of America and all of Africa are colonized, whereas Asia is half the area of Africa. A certain number of territories are not colonized like Iran and Afghanistan, but are under influence.

Colonization has a demographic effect which is to change the composition of the population: the more the colonizer has a power of engulfment, the more the population will change in its composition. At the beginning of the 19th century, on the eve of the colonial ebb (Table 7), more than two thirds of the population of the Americas and of extracontinental origin. This share of the extracontinental population is even higher if we consider North America.

Sources : B. Etemad, L’héritage ambigu de la colonisation. Économies, populations, sociétés, Armand Colin, Paris, 2012, p. 217.
Sources : B. Etemad, L’héritage ambigu de la colonisation. Économies, populations, sociétés, Armand Colin, Paris, 2012, p. 218.

Table 8 shows that at the beginning of the 19th century it was more than 90% as in Australia and New Zealand.

Sources : B. Etemad, L’héritage ambigu de la colonisation. Économies, populations, sociétés, Armand Colin, Paris, 2012, p. 222.

With the Americas and the Pacific, we have two great regions of the world that are very similar in terms of their starting point. In these two great experiences of European colonization, what was in place was destroyed and instead the colonizer put something new in his image. Moreover, the American and Oceanic countries are called "new countries" from the European point of view. Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand are sometimes called "New Europe", that's what it is.

We are in a state of upheaval from top to bottom. On the other hand, on the eve of the Second World War, or the colonial ebb in Asia and Africa, if we use the same criteria, there are very few non-indigenous people in colonial Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

In Asia, Europeans represent 0.1% of the colonized populations and in Africa south of the Sahara 0.4%.

The demographic base of these colonies has not been reached. There are hybrid cases, of which we have seen an example with Algeria, but another appears at the southern tip of Africa, which is South Africa, where Europeans during the inter-war period account for 20% of the total population.

Decolonization does not mean the same thing everywhere...[edit | edit source]

Algeria and South Africa are categorized as "mixed colonies", but at the time of decolonization they had different destinies. The case of South-East Africa is totally atypical: Europeans settled in South Africa should have left the country just as Europeans from Algeria did.

At the beginning of the 1990s the situation was such that Europeans should have met a fate as tragic as that of the Europeans in Algeria in 1962. It was Mandela who was the difference, if Algeria had had a figure like Mandela in the National Liberation Front, probably the Europeans would still be there through their descendants.

The difference between the end of colonization in America and the Pacific does not have the same meaning as the end of colonization in Asia and Africa. One could just have a doubt, since the end of the Second World War the North American Indians and the Maori in particular have been asking for land back and have never been satisfied. There is no turning back, the balance of power is such that the populations have to make do with symbolic reparations.

For North America and the Pacific, the end of decolonization and the victory of the white colonist who seized the land, settled there and displaced the so-called "first" populations.

On the other hand, one may wonder about the situation in Latin America where European populations mix to varying degrees with Amerindians and Africans descended from slaves. In these Latin American countries, it is the descendants of Europeans who remain, remaining at the top of the political and social hierarchy.

Bolivia is the Latin American country where Amerindians represent the largest fraction of the population. In fact, the current president considers himself an Indian. At the National Museum of Bolivia, it is noted that all the presidents whose portraits are represented by paintings are all white. Until today, apart from the current president, the Creoles, those Europeans and Spaniards born there, have kept in their hands the political, economic and social power, they are the ones who wanted independence.

There is only one experience of decolonization where the white colonial order was brutally overthrown, which is Haiti in 1804 where independence was proclaimed. Black slaves and mestizos managed to overthrow the white colonial order. This is the only case of successful decolonization by "natives"; the black slaves and mestizos of Haiti are not natives per se.

The end of the so-called "old" American and Oceanic empires at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries marked the triumph of European colonization and the white man's seizure of the Pacific.

The independence of the Americas cannot be equated with decolonization; the term can be used for Asian and African countries whose decolonization process was not followed by significant European settlement. If Europeans have to leave, it is because they are not settlers, but expatriates. Their forced retreat, often towards European metropolises, is unavoidable since expatriates represent at most only 1% of colonised Africa and Asia.

To sum up, in America colonization lasted more than three centuries from 1500 to 1830 approximately, in Asia it lasted about a century and a half from 1800 - 1820 to 1945 - 1955, in North Africa from 1830 to 1860, i.e. one hundred and thirty years at the most, in Africa south of the Sahara colonization lasted from 70 to 90 years, from the 1890s to the early 1960s.

Annexes[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Etemad Bouda - SSP UNIL
  2. Bouda Etemad (auteur de Empires illusoires) - Babelio
  3. Publications de Bouda Etemad |
  4. Bouda Etemad | Armand Colin
  5. Bouda Etemad - Data BNF
  6. Bouda Etemad - BiblioMonde
  7. Adam Smith, Recherches sur la nature et les causes de la richesse des nations (1776) texte complet sur Les classiques des sciences sociales:
  8. Alphonse de Albuquerque - le « bâtisseur de la domination occidentale en Orient », surnommé également « le Terrible », l'« Achille» ou le « Mars portugais », dont les vaisseaux parve­nant au voisinage des côtes imposent, dit-on, silence et respect in La possession du monde: poids et mesures de la colonisation, XVIIIe-XXe siècles par Bouda Etemad ulr:
  9. Akhilesh Pillalamarri, T. (2015). 250 Years Ago, This Event Changed Everything in South Asia. The Diplomat. Retrieved 8 October 2015, from