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Difference between colonialism and imperialism

Colonialism and imperialism are two domination systems or political, military, economic and cultural influence which, although they are not the same, share some characteristics.

In both systems, for example, it is exercised control or dominion over foreign nations or territories or remote to the own power, and, in both also, the powers get benefits economic, political and military of this situation of subjection. But how does each act?

What is colonialism?

State Library of Queensland Archives, Australia
England exercised colonial and imperial rule over South Africa for much of its history.
Photo: Cape Town, South Africa (1905). State Library of Queensland Archives, Australia.

Colonialism is a system of political and military domination in which a power, called a metropolis, exercises a formal and direct control over other territoriescalled colonies.

In colonialism, the domination of the local or indigenous population always goes through the imposition of force. This can sometimes lead to serious consequences, such as the massacre of the population that opposes it and even the destruction of the cultural heritage of a people or nation such as genocide.

In this way, the colonial territories they remain subject to a regime of political, economic and military dependence, and have no freedoms or right to self-determination.

Meanwhile, their economic resources are exploited indiscriminately by the power. The local population is subjugated militarily, politically and culturally. Sometimes, another language and another religion are even imposed on him, in addition to the laws and institutions of the power.

one historical example of colonialism it was practiced by Spain or Portugal, in America.

What is limperialism?

Imperialism is a regime of political control where a power extends its influence over other peoples or states. Well by means of force (military), well through the economic, cultural or political influence.

The reasons that move the imperial powers to control other States, nations or territories are diverse. Exploitation of economic resources, cultural subordination, strategic occupation of military positions, settlement of uninhabited territories, etc.

Imperialism produces social and political dynamics of inequality. A nation imposes itself on another with the aim of directly or indirectly exercising political control over it and managing its economic resources, justifying this in an alleged racial or cultural superiority.

Imperialism is understood as the expansion process of an economic power to obtain raw materials and cheap labor, as well as market for their exports.

Historical examples of imperialist powers it is constituted by Rome, Greece, Egypt or Great Britain.

Differences between colonialism and imperialism

While it is clear that the similarities between both systems are many, it is also important to point out that colonialism and imperialism have differences. The first is exercised formally and directly by the power.

The second can also use methods of political, economic or military control and domination. They do not necessarily have to be formal and direct, but, in the same way, they come to quarter or limit the sovereignty, independence and freedom of the nations subordinated to their power.

Thus, all colonialism is a form of imperialism, while not all imperialism is colonialism. Colonialism is only one of the facets that imperialism can assume.

See also:

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