Notes by: ANU J
What is Colonialism?
Colonialism, dating back to the 1500s and 1600s, consisted of the colonization (creating
colonies of) new/development/poor countries. Some of the main colonizing superpowers of the
past have been the French, the English, the Dutch and the Spaniards. Each of these “mother
countries,” as they can be called, had several colonies around the world; for example, the
French had Morocco, the Spaniards took Mexico, and the English ruled in India. But how did
these superpowers become superpowers?
Explorers set out to find new lands, new riches and resources. Many of them came
across countries halfway around the world, which were filled with such riches – teas, spices,
textiles, coffees, precious metals, and so much more. None of these exotic items were available
in France or in Great Britain. When the English first found India, they discovered it to be rich in
exotic spices and luxurious textiles like cotton and silk.
At the time, in contrast to India, Mexico and Morocco, the European countries seemed
much more advanced or developed. These newly-found countries were almost backward in
their ways, yet so rich in desirable resources. Quite possibly, it became an issue of the ego; how
could such a developed and advanced country such as Britain not have everything in the world?
And so it began… the colonization of the less developed, less powerful, less prosperous
countries that were rich in precious resources.
The colonizing powers came in large numbers, which made it easier to invade (whether
subtly or forcefully) other countries. Furthermore, they came armed with advanced weaponry
(of the time), in case force was required. Upon entering the country, colonizing powers
attempted trade – a few advanced tools for lots and lots of precious resources. Often times, the
people agreed to this deal, for fear of being killed or imprisoned; it was the invader that had the
power in the country.
Professor: Marc Weinstein Course: Business, Government and Society (POLS 1090) Notes by: ANU J
When the English entered India, they used a clever tactic for gaining acceptance into the
new country: bribes. The English would bribe the local rulers, the rajahs and the princes of
India, with perks such as money, new tools, exemption from new colony rules, etc. Rajahs in
India (a lot of them, anyway) accepted such bribes so long as their rich and luxurious lifestyle
remained unchanged. In return, the English asked for the rajahs to be the li