What is an Example of Colonialism?

Vincent Barletta

December 27, 2022

Vincent Barletta

Colonialism is the exploitation and subjugation of another country by foreigners. It has been described as a form of economic exploitation, the dominance of a country by another country, and the linguistic and cultural enslavement of a people. There are many different aspects of colonialism, including the language of civilization, savagery, and barbarism, that are used to compel others to do the colonists’ work.

Economic exploitation

Economic exploitation is the process by which one group benefits at the expense of another. It can be a transactional or structural phenomenon. There are different accounts of how this occurs and how it compares to the other types of exploitation.

An exploited person will get less than she deserves. In some cases, the perpetrator will also harm her in some way. This is a particularly relevant issue in the context of colonialism.

One form of economic exploitation is sweatshops. A sweatshop owner may take advantage of workers by hiring them, paying them low wages, and ignoring their basic needs.

Domination by outsiders

Domination by outsiders is one of the many forms of colonialism. Typically, it refers to a state of affairs whereby the governing class of a former colony looks up to the dominant imperial class in politics and economics. It is also an inclusive term. For instance, outsiders have dominated in the Caribbean, South America, North America, and Europe.

Colonialism is an instrumental process involving three main elements. These include physical, human, and spiritual aspects. In particular, the process is the logical outcome of the conquest of a foreign nation by another. A colonial regime is established for the sake of its colony, but it inevitably affects the lives of the indigenous people.


It is a fact that the practice of subjugation has been an essential part of human history. Throughout the world, many people are oppressed. This oppression varies from violent persecution to the marginalization of indigenous voices. Often, indigenous people are forced into menial labor.

When an individual or group of individuals moves to a new land, it is known as colonialism. The colonizers do not integrate themselves with the local people. They do not seek to replace the indigenous people. Instead, they aim to exploit the resources available in the new country.

In the past, European colonies were located on the continents of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. However, these empires have broken up over the past couple of centuries.

Language of civilization, savagery, and barbarism

A hefty portion of the 19th century saw the rise of social evolutionism, a term coined by John Lubbock that promised to dispel the notion that all societies were the same. It also provided an alternative to the Christian/theological paradigm of cultural diversity. The following is a brief look at the history of the ‘civilization’ as we know it today.

One of the more interesting debates in the field was the merits of the French colonization of North America, particularly Canada. In addition to the question of legality, the nitty-gritty of the matter included slavery, forced labor, and quasi-feudal social structures.

Place names

Place names have been a critical component of colonialism in North America. They are essential not only because they reflect the social identities of various groups but because they provide a sense of territoriality and national ownership.

Examining the many place names found in US national parks reveals a troubling trend. These names perpetuate settler colonialism and endorse racist ideologies and white supremacy.

Interestingly, settler colonial place names are most frequently found in the most popular locations. The number of Indigenous characters is also relatively low. However, the proportion of Indigenous names increases per degree of longitude moved westward.

Influence of Marxism on colonialism

The influence of Marxism on colonialism is a matter of debate. During the nineteenth century, philosophers debated the legitimacy of colonialism. Some scholars argued that Europeans had a duty to “civilize” the world. Others believed that the indigenous peoples benefited from European civilization.

As more people were able to travel across oceans, the modern European colonial project emerged. It maintained political control, despite the dispersion of populations.

Colonialism was a form of exploitation. It involved forced labor, quasi-feudal systems of property and force, and slavery. All of these practices were considered undesirable by enlightenment thinkers.

Enlightenment thinkers defended the idea that every person is deserving of respect. They also recognized the possibility of cultural pluralism. The barbarity of colonialism challenged these beliefs.