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Colonialism

  • By: Barney Warf
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Intimately associated with the development of capitalism was Europe's conquest of the rest of the globe. This process, often euphemistically called the “Age of Exploration,” can be viewed as the expansion of capitalism on a global scale. If the geographies of capitalism are typified by uneven spatial development, then colonialism involved the construction of uneven development on a global scale, with Europe at the center and its colonies on the world periphery. This theme is found in many theories of world development, such as world-systems theory.

Colonialism was simultaneously an economic, political, and cultural project. It was also an act of conquest, by which a small group of European powers came to dominate a very large group of non-European countries. Culturally, as Edward Said points out, ...

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