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Neocolonialism

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

Neocolonialism refers to the continuation of a colonial system in spite of formal recognition of independence of the formerly colonized nation. After World War II, when the European colonial system collapsed, the international community recognized the right to self-determination of peoples living under colonial rule. This right was used to justify and promote the transition of former colonies to sovereign states, causing a rapid emergence of newly independent countries through the transfer of power from empire to nation-state. As a result, the total number of independent countries increased considerably from the late 1940s to the mid 1970s.

Despite their newly recognized sovereignty, however, these decolonized countries became subject to de facto control by Western powers, mostly by the same former empires that had once formally ...

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