Before the expansion of early modern European powers, other empires had conquered and colonized territories, such as the Romans in Iberia, or the Chinese in what is now southern China. Modern colonial empires first emerged with a race of exploration between the then most advanced European
maritime powers, Portugal
, during the 15th century.
The initial impulse behind these dispersed maritime empires and those that followed was trade
, driven by the new ideas and the capitalism
that grew out of the European Renaissance
. Agreements were also made to divide the world up between them in 1479
, and 1494
. European imperialism
was born out of competition between European Christians and Ottoman
Muslims, the latter of which rose up quickly in the 14th century and forced the Spanish and Portuguese to seek new trade routes to India
, and to a lesser extent, China.
European colonial empires
Portugal began establishing the first global trade network and one of the first colonial empires
under the leadership of Henry the Navigator
. The empire spread throughout a vast number of territories distributed across the globe (especially at one time in the 16th century) that are now parts of 60 different sovereign states
. Portugal would eventually control Brazil
, territories such as what is now Uruguay
and some fishing ports in north, in the Americas
, Portuguese Guinea
, and São Tomé and Príncipe
(among other territories and bases) in the North
and the Subsaharan Africa
; cities, forts or territories in all the Asian
Subcontinents, as Muscat
(amongst other bases) in the Persian Gulf
and Daman and Diu
(amongst other coastal cities) in India
; Portuguese Ceylon
, bases in Southeast Asia and Oceania
, as Makassar
and others in the Moluccas
, Portuguese Timor
; and the granted entrepôt
-base of Macau
and the entrepôt-enclave of Dejima
) in East Asia
, amongst other smaller or short-lived possessions.
The territorial evolution of modern colonial empires and some of their successor states (such as USSR, Turkey)
During its Siglo de Oro
, the Spanish Empire
had possession of Mexico
, South America
, the Philippines
, all of southern Italy
, a stretch of territories
from the Duchy of Milan
to the Netherlands
, and Belgium
, parts of Burgundy
, and many colonial settlements in the Americas, Africa, and Asia. Possessions in Europe, Africa, the Atlantic Ocean
, the Americas, the Pacific Ocean
, and East Asia qualified the Spanish Empire as attaining a global presence. From 1580 to 1640 the Portuguese Empire
and the Spanish Empire were conjoined in a personal union
of its Habsburg monarchs
during the period of the Iberian Union
, but beneath the highest level of government, their separate administrations were maintained.
The British Empire
, consolidated during the period of British maritime hegemony in the 19th century, became the largest empire in history by virtue of the improved transportation technologies of the time. At its height, the British Empire covered a quarter of the Earth
's land area and comprised a quarter of its population. During the New Imperialism
, Italy and Germany also built their colonial empires in Africa
It is worth noting that, from the 16th to 19th century, there were also large non-European empires, most notably the Qing Empire
of China, which conquered a huge area of East and Inner Asia, and the states of the Age of the Islamic Gunpowders
, Mughal India, the Ottoman Empire
in Asia Minor and Southwest Europe, and Safavid Iran. The British replaced the Mughals in India, and after the Boxer Rebellion
in 1901, Imperial China
made concessions to the Eight-Nation Alliance
(all the Great Powers
of the time). By the end of the 20th century most of the previous colonial empires had been decolonized
, though the modern nation-states of Russia and China inherited much of the territory of the Romanov and Qing empires, respectively.
The chart below shows the span of some European colonial empires.
- Black lines mark the year of the empires largest territorial extent of land area.
- Red represents the empire is a monarchy.
- Blue represents the empire is a republic.
List of colonial empires
This section needs expansion
. You can help by adding to it
. (March 2021)
Other countries with colonial possessions:
- United States of America (1817–present)
- Colonies of the Habsburg Monarchy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire (1719–1750, 1778–1783, 1901–1917)
- Duchy of Courland and Semigallia (a vassal of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, 1637–1690)
- German colonial initiatives (1683–1721)
- Italy and the colonization of the Americas
- Kingdom of Scotland (1621–1707)
- Sweden-Norway (1814-1905)
- Kingdom of Morocco (1975–present)
- Muscat and Oman (1652–1892)
- Tsardom of Russia, Russian Empire, Soviet Union, and RussianFederation (1547–1721) (1721-1917) (1917–1991) (1991-present)
- Chinese Empire (from Qin dynasty to Qing dynasty), Republic of China, and People's Republic of China (221 BC- Present)
- Imperial Chinese Tributary System
- Korea (in part of Joseon dynasty)
- Hainan (since the Han dynasty)
- Manchuria (during the Tang, Liao, Jin, Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties)
- Inner Mongolia
- Outer Mongolia (during the Tang, Liao, Yuan, Northern Yuan, and Qing dynasties)
- Taiwan (during the Qing dynasty)
- Tibet (during the Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties)
- Vietnam (during the Han, Xin, Eastern Wu, Jin, Liu Song, Southern Qi, Liang, Sui, Tang, Wu Zhou, Southern Han, and Ming dynasties)
- Central Asia (during the Tang, Western Liao, and Qing dynasties)
- Indian Empires, Republic of India
- Kingdom of Siam
- Empire of Brazil, Brazil
Directly controlled territory of the United States at its greatest extent (1898–1902)
Austro-Hungarian colonies and concessions throughout history
Duchy of Courland and Semigallia
Couronian settlements in Africa
Map of the Hospitaller order's territories in the Caribbean
Couronian settlements in Americas (New Courland on Tobago
Map of Morocco and Western Sahara with the Southern Provinces in a darker color.
Notes and references
- ^ Encarta-encyclopedie Winkler Prins (1993–2002) s.v. "kolonie [geschiedenis]. §1.2 De moderne koloniale expansie". Microsoft Corporation/Het Spectrum.
- ^ Encarta, s.v. "kolonie [geschiedenis]. §1.1 Oudheid.
- ^ William D. Phillips, Jr; Phillips, Carla Rahn (November 12, 2015). "Spain as the first global empire". A Concise History of Spain.
- ^ Powell, Philip Wayne ([1991?]). Árbol de odio: la leyenda negra y sus consecuencias en las relaciones entre Estados Unidos y el mundo hispánico. Ediciones Iris de Paz. ISBN 9788440488855. OCLC 55157841
- ^ part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain before 1821.
- ^ .part of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata before 1810.
- ^ Gregory Smits (1999). Visions of Ryukyu: Early-Modern Thought and Politics. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 143–149·
- ^ a b Part of the Holy Roman Empire realm before 1804.
- ^ part of the Holy Roman Empire before 1736
- ^ The dependencies of Norway are uninhabited, thus as end date is taken the latest date of full Norwegian sovereignty extension to such territory, instead of the date of decolonization or integration in the administrative structures of the mainland. Bouvet Island claimed in 1927, under Norway sovereignty since 1930.
Peter I Island claimed in 1929, under Norway sovereignty since 1933.
Queen Maud Land claimed in 1938, under Norway sovereignty since 1957.
Peter I Island and Queen Maud Land fall under the scope of the Antarctic Treaty System since 1961.
Last edited on 23 June 2021, at 12:59
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