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Colonialism is considered a factor in ethnic and religious conflict across the world. The legacy of discrimination, unequal power relations, and economic distribution, coupled with territorial disputes, led to suspicion and mistrust among competing ethnic groups. In these conflicts, civilians, a majority of whom are women, children, and sexual minorities, are killed or experience violence at higher rates than the rest of the population. The social sciences examine the context and human experience of war, including the ways that colonialism has overtly and covertly influenced the development of identity, nationalism, and state formation. Beginning with an overview of colonialism, this entry discusses the ways in which the destabilizing influence of colonialism created a legacy of ethnic and religious conflict that continues to impact the development ...

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