Colonialism and imperialism

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

In both systems, for example, control or dominance is exercised over nations or territories alien or remote from that of the power itself, and in both also, the powers obtain economic, political and military benefits from this situation of subjection. But how does each act?

What is colonialism?

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

In colonialism, the domination of the local or indigenous population always occurs by the imposition of force , which, at times, can have serious consequences, such as the massacre of the population that opposes it and even the destruction of cultural heritage. of a people or nation, such as genocide.

In this way, the colonial territories are subject to a regime of political, economic and military dependency, and do not enjoy freedoms or the right to self-determination.

Meanwhile, its economic resources are indiscriminately exploited by the power, and the local population is subjected militarily, politically and culturally, to the point that, on occasions, it is even imposed another language and another religion, in addition to the laws and regulations. institutions of power.

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

What is imperialism?

Imperialism, for its part, is a regime of political control in which a power extends its influence over other peoples or states, either through force (militarily), or through 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 places, settlement of uninhabited territories, etc.

In imperialism there are social and political dynamics of inequality: one nation imposes itself on another with the objective of directly or indirectly exercising political control over it and managing its economic resources, justifying this in a supposed racial or cultural superiority.

In modern times, imperialism is rather understood as the process of expansion of an economic power in order to obtain raw materials and cheap labor, as well as a market for its exports.

Historical examples of imperialist powers are Rome, Greece, Egypt or Great Britain.

Differences between colonialism and imperialism

Although it is clear that the similarities between both systems are multiple, it is also important to point out that colonialism and imperialism differ in that while the former is exercised formally and directly by the power, the latter can use, in addition to the aforementioned mechanisms. , from other methods of political, economic or military control and domination, not necessarily formal and direct, which in the same way come to reduce or limit the sovereignty, independence and freedom of the nations subordinate to their power.

Thus, all colonialism is a form of imperialism, while not all imperialism is, strictly speaking, colonialism, since colonialism is just one of the facets that imperialism can assume.

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