In , a colony is a subject to a form of foreign rule. Though dominated by the foreign colonizers, colonies remain separate from the administration of the original country of the colonizers, the ' (or "mother country"). This administrative colonial separation makes colonies neither incorporated territories, nor s. Some colonies have been organized either as that are , or as controlled by . The term colony originates from the ', a type of Roman settlement. Derived from ''colon-us'' (farmer, cultivator, planter, or settler), it carries with it the sense of 'farm' and 'landed estate'. Furthermore the term was used to refer to the older Greek ''apoikia'' (), which were . The city that founded such a settlement became known as its ' ("mother-city"). Since early-modern times, historians, administrators, and political scientists have generally used the term "colony" to refer mainly to the many different of particularly European states between the 15th and 20th centuries , with and as corresponding phenomena. While colonies often developed from s or s, such areas do not need to be a product of , nor become colonially organized territories. Some historians use the term ''informal colony'' to refer to a country under the ''de facto'' control of another state, although this term is often contentious.


The word "colony" comes from the Latin word , used as concept for military bases and eventually cities. This in turn derives from the word , which was a Roman . The terminology is taken from architectural analogy, where a column pillar is beneath the (often stylized) head , which is also a biological analog of the body as subservient beneath the controlling head (with 'capital' coming from the Latin word , meaning 'head'). So colonies are not independently self-controlled, but rather are controlled from a separate entity that serves the capital function. Roman colonies first appeared when the conquered neighbouring . These were small farming settlements that appeared when the Romans had subdued an enemy in war. Though a colony could take many forms, as a trade outpost or a military base in enemy territory, such have not been inherently colonies. Its original definition as a settlement created by people migrating from a central region to an outlying one became the modern definition. Settlements that began as Roman colonia include cities from (which retains this history in its name), to . A tell-tale sign of a settlement within the Roman sphere of influence once being a Roman colony is a city centre with a grid pattern.

Ancient examples

* formed as a n colony * formed as a n colony * was a colony of the of * was a n colony * was a n colony * formed as a colony * was a n colony * formed as a colony, and its modern name refers to the Latin term "Colonia". * formed as a colony during the Hellenistic era by Alexander the Great in 330 BC.

Modern historical examples

* : a colony of from the 16th century to its independence in 1975. * gained its independence from Spain in 1810. * was formed as a in 1901 from a of six distinct British colonies which were founded between 1788 and 1829. * : was a colony of Great Britain important in the Atlantic slave trade. It gained its independence in 1966. * : a since the 16th century. Independent since 1822. * : was colonized first by France as (1534–1763) and England (in , 1582) then (1763–1867), before achieving and losing "colony" designation. * : a colony of from 1908 to 1960; previously under private ownership of King Leopold II. * was formed in October 1887 from Annam, Tonkin, Cochinchina (which together form modern Vietnam) and the Kingdom of Cambodia; Laos was added after the in 1893. The federation lasted until 1954. In the four protectorates, the French formally left the local rulers in power, who were the Emperors of Vietnam, Kings of Cambodia, and Kings of Luang Prabang, but in fact gathered all powers in their hands, the local rulers acting only as figureheads. * : Contact between Europe and Ghana (known as ) began in the 15th century with the arrival of the . This soon led to the establishment of several colonies by European powers: (1482–1642), (1598–1872), (1650–1663), (1658–1850), (1685–1721) and (1821–1957). In 1957, Ghana was the first African colony south of the Sahara to become independent. * was a colony of from 1721 and was a colony of from 1814 to 1953. In 1953 Greenland was made an equal part of the Danish Kingdom. Home rule was granted in 1979 and extended to self-rule in 2009. See also . * : a colony of Portugal since the 15th century. Independent since 1974. * was a British colony (from 1983 British Dependent Territory) from 1841 to 1997. Is now a of China. * India was an imperial political entity comprising present-day India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and the with regions under the direct control of the Government of the United Kingdom from 1858 to 1947. From the 15th century until 1961, () was a colony of . and were part of from 1759 to 1954. Small Danish colonies of , and the ) from 1620 to 1869 were known as . * was a Dutch colony which differs in each region, but gain full independence as a whole nation in 1949. * was part of the in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It became an English colony in 1655; independence in 1962. * a colony set up in 1821 by American private citizens for the migration of . Liberian Declaration of Independence from the on 26 July 1847. It is the second oldest black republic in the world after . * was a Portuguese colony (from 1976 a "Chinese territory under Portuguese administration") from 1557 to 1999. In 1999, two years after Hong Kong, it became a of China. * was colonized initially by the and captures Malacca. After 1511, where the Portuguese Empire had colonized Malaysia, Britain establishes colonies and trading ports on ; Penang is leased to the . The encountered with Malaysia when it was looking for spices to trade with. * was a British and later a from the French Revolutionary Wars in 1800 to independence in 1964. * : a colony of Portugal since the 15th century. Independent since 1975. * , previously a colony of Spain from to 1898 as part of the , was a colony of the United States from 1898 to 1946. Achieved self-governing status in 1935; independent in 1946. * was a colony of Spain from 1493 to 1898, when it passed to be a colonial possession of the United States, classified by the United States as "an unincorporated territory". In 1914, the Puerto Rican House of Delegates voted unanimously in favor of independence from the United States, but this was rejected by the U.S. Congress as "unconstitutional" and in violation of the U.S. 1900 . In 1952, after the US Congress approved Puerto Rico's constitution, its formal name became "Commonwealth of Puerto Rico", but its new name "did not change Puerto Rico's political, social, and economic relationship to the United States." That year, the United States advised the United Nations (UN) that the island was a self-governing territory. The United States has been "unwilling to play in public the imperial role...apparently it has no appetite for acknowledging in a public way the contradictions implicit in frankly colonial rule." The island has been called a colony by many, including US Federal judges, US Congresspeople, the Chief Justice of the Puerto Rico Supreme Court, and numerous scholars.Angel Collado-Schwarz. ''Decolonization Models for America's Last Colony: Puerto Rico.'' Syracuse University Press. 2012. * consisted of territories and colonies by various different African and European powers, including the Dutch, the British, and the Nguni. The territory consisting the modern nation was ruled directly by the British from 1806 to 1910; became self-governing dominion of in 1910. * : a British colony from 1815 to 1948. Known as . Was a until 1972. Also a in the 16th–17th centuries, and a in the 17th–18th centuries. * has a complex history of colonial rule under various powers, including the (1624–1662), (1626–1642), (1683–1895), and (1895–1945).
/ref> The (pre-1624) inhabitants of Taiwan are the ethno-linguistically , rather than the vast majority of present-day , who are mostly ethno-linguistically . Twice throughout history, Taiwan has served as a ''quasi'' for Chinese , the first instance being the (1662–1683) and the second instance being the present-day (ROC), which officially claims or from the , having in 1949 during the final years of the (1927–1949). The ROC, whose ''de facto'' territory consists almost entirely of the and , continues to rule Taiwan as if it were a separate country from the (consisting of , Hong Kong, and ). * The was formed from a union of thirteen British . The was the first of the thirteen colonies. All thirteen declared independence in July 1776 and expelled the British governors.

Current colonies

The maintains the , which identifies areas the United Nations (though not without controversy) believes are colonies. Given that have varying degrees of autonomy and political power in the affairs of the controlling state, there is disagreement over the classification of "colony".

See also

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *



Further reading

* Aldrich, Robert. ''Greater France: A History of French Overseas Expansion'' (1996) * Ansprenger, Franz ed. ''The Dissolution of the Colonial Empires'' (1989) * Benjamin, Thomas, ed. ''Encyclopedia of Western Colonialism Since 1450'' (2006). * Ermatinger, James. ed. ''The Roman Empire: A Historical Encyclopedia'' (2 vol 2018) * Higham, C. S. S. ''History Of The British Empire'' (1921
online free
* James, Lawrence. ''The Illustrated Rise and Fall of the British Empire'' (2000) * Kia, Mehrdad, ed. ''The Ottoman Empire: A Historical Encyclopedia'' (2017) * Page, Melvin E. ed. ''Colonialism: An International Social, Cultural, and Political Encyclopedia'' (3 vol. 2003) * Priestley, Herbert Ingram. (''France overseas;: A study of modern imperialism'' 1938) 463pp; encyclopedic coverage as of late 1930s * Tarver, H. Micheal and Emily Slape. ''The Spanish Empire: A Historical Encyclopedia'' (2 vol. 2016) * Wesseling, H.L. ''The European Colonial Empires: 1815–1919'' (2015).

External links

Non-Self-Governing Territories Listed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2002

Non-Self-Governing Territories Listed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012

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