Difference Between Colonialism and Imperialism

Difference Between Colonialism and Imperialism

The concepts of colonialism and imperialism describe one’s superiority, domination and influence upon a person or group of people. Although these two concepts are interrelated, some scholars insist that there is a distinctive difference between colonialism and imperialism. Colonialism is the practice of acquiring partial or full control over another country and exploiting it economically. Imperialism is the ideology that drives colonialism. Thus, the key difference between colonialism and imperialism is the fact that imperialism is a concept whereas colonialism is a practice.

This article explains,

1. What is Imperialism?
     – Definition, Characteristics, Types

2. What is Colonialism?
     – Definition, Characteristics, Types, Impacts

3. What is the difference between Imperialism and Colonialism?

Difference Between Colonialism and Imperialism - Comparison Summary

What is Imperialism

Imperialism is a policy of extending a country’s power and influence through military force or diplomacy. In other words, it refers to the practice by which a country increases its power by gaining control over other areas of the world. The term imperialism is derived from Latin imperium, meaning supreme power.

There is no exact definition of imperialism, and many scholars have put forth different views to explain the concept of imperialism. But it is generally accepted that imperialism occurs when a strong nation takes over a weaker nation and dominates its political, economic, and cultural life. Generally, this term is applied to the political and economic dominance of Africa and Asia by the Western countries in the 19th and 20th centuries. The term imperialism also emphasizes the control one group (a state power) has over another group of people.

Types of Imperialism 

There are two forms of imperialism known as formal and informal imperialism. Formal imperialism refers to the complete colonial rule or the physical control. Although less direct, informal imperialism is also a powerful form of dominance, which is less costly than directly taking over territories. In informal imperialism, the control is less subtly spread through ownership of private industries, technological superiority, uneven trade agreements, and offering loans that cannot be repaid.

Main Difference - Imperialism vs Colonialism

A satirical political cartoon reflecting America’s imperial ambition

What is Colonialism

Colonialism is the practice of acquiring partial or full control over another country and exploiting it economically. Colonialism results in a set of unequal relationships between the colonizers and the colonized (natives of the colony) and between the colonial power and the colony.

If we take a look at instances of colonialism in the history, several European countries such as the Great Britain, France, Spain, Portuguese, and Netherlands established colonies in Asia, Africa and the Americas during the period from 16th century to mid-20th century.

Types of Colonialism

Colonialism too can be categorized into two main types known as settler colonies and dependencies  

Settler colonies involve foreign people moving to a new region. This is a large scale immigration, motivated by economic, political or economic reasons. Europeans moving to the Americas, Australia, and New Zealand is an example of settler colonialism. The original residents of these regions are often forced to move to other regions or exterminated.

Dependencies are colonies where a small number of colonizers act as the administrators over the native population. This does not involve large-scale immigration. Egypt, British Raj (where British controlled India), and Dutch East Indies (where Netherlands controlled a part of the East Indies) are examples of dependencies.

Impact of Colonialism

Colonialism has both negative and positive impacts. Some of the negative impacts of colonialism include

  • Creation of unequal social relations
  • Economic exploitation of a country
  • Spread of virulent diseases
  • Enslavement and exploitation of the native population
  • Endangerment and obliteration of culture, religions, literature of native people

Positive impacts of colonialism include,

  • Medical advances
  • Improved infrastructure
  • Abolishment of oppressive cultural practices
  • Technological progressDifference Between Imperialism and Colonialism - 02

Difference Between Imperialism and Colonialism

Definition

Imperialism is a policy of extending a country’s power and influence through military force or diplomacy.

Colonialism is the practice of acquiring partial or full control over another country and exploiting it economically.

Concept vs Practice

Imperialism is the ideology that drives colonialism.

Colonialism is a practice of extending territories, forming colonies and settlements, and exploiting the resources of them.

Types

Imperialism can be categorized into formal and informal imperialism.

Colonialism produced two main types of colonies: settler colonies and dependencies. 

Scholars on the difference between Imperialism and Colonialism

Edward Said states that imperialism involves “practice, the theory and the attitudes of a dominating metropolitan center ruling a distant territory” whereas colonialism involves ‘implanting of settlements on a distant territory.

Robert J. C. Young suggests that colonialism is a practice while imperialism is the concept that drives it.

Reference:

Gilmartin, Mary. “Colonialism/Imperialism.” Key Concepts in Political Geography. Carolyn GallaherCarl T. Dahlman and Mary Gilmartin. London: SAGE Publications Ltd, 2009. 115-123. SAGE Knowledge. Web. Key Concepts in Human Geography. 15 Dec. 2016.

Image Courtesy:

“Victor Gillam A Thing Well Begun Is Half Done 1899 Cornell CUL PJM 1136 01″ By Victor Gillam – Cornell University: Persuasive Cartography: The PJ Mode Collection (Public Domain) via

“Colonialism in 1945 updated legend” By AniRaptor2001 at English Wikipedia via

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.


Related pages


difference between autotrophic and heterotrophic nutritiondarwinism and lamarckisminternal respiration refers toformation of adverbs from adjectivesproperties of diamagnetic materialsrelation between ton and kgwhat is the difference between phonemes and morphemessaffron color stands forself pollination vs cross pollinationexamples of positive economicswhat is the difference between a dominant and recessive genedefine producer surplusvalenciesagnostic and atheist differencethermosets vs thermoplasticsdefine homogeneous mixture and heterogeneous mixtureadverse or aversedefinition of metallic bondthermosetting plastic definitionwhat is the difference between autosomes and sexchromosomesgraphically adding vectorswhat is the difference between neurotic and psychoticdifference between polymer and monomerdifference between casein and wheyare moose and elk the same thing5 examples of concrete nounswhat is an open voweldifference between lymphocytes and phagocytesdefine trade offs economicsdifference between renewable and nonrenewable energyvernier caliper least count formulaintramolecular forces definitionwhat is cod and boddistinguish between an elastic and an inelastic collisionmass of beta particlewhat is the difference between hiragana and katakanadiploblasthow are electromagnetic waves different from mechanical waveswhat is the difference between a habitat and an ecosystempermitivity of free spacemicrometer screw gauge diagramwhat does donde eres meanwhat is the difference between polyp and medusadna replication prokaryotes vs eukaryotesstate and prove the law of conservation of momentumdefine static characteracculturated definitionexamples of a diamante poemtwo examples of pure substancessubordinating conjunctions and coordinating conjunctionsthird stage of photosynthesisc3 photosynthesis definitionslacks vs pantswhat is the difference between brown sugar and regular sugarpermeability and permittivitywallaby kangaroo comparisonwhat is the difference between professor and lecturerdifference between bourbon and brandyheterotrophs definitionmetonymyexamplescrocodile difference between alligatortragic comedies of shakespearecorrelation between inflation and unemploymentvernier caliper least count formulacell protoplasm is made up mostly ofdefine patronizeddifference between fundamentals and overtonescollect nounthe difference between a frog and a toadcodons and anticodonsribose fischerwhat is fertilization in plants definitionhow to identify pearlswhat is the difference between codon and anticodon