European Colonialism: History and Consequences

VEDA, Publishing House of the Slovak Academy of Sciences
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This publication is based on a series of lectures given at the Institute of European and International Relations in the Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences of Komensky University in Bratislava. The language style used for the lectures has been modified to meet the requirements of a written text. The ten chapters of this publication are relatively short. The idea was to focus, not on an excessive number of details and historical facts but on some crucial features and consequences of colonialism, in particular European attitudes and ideas in the colonial context. We have confined ourselves to describing in rough outline the activities of the Portuguese, the Spanish, the French, the Dutch, and the British (those of the Swedes, the Danes, and the Brandenburgers were only of marginal importance). In the late nineteenth century the Germans, the Belgians, and the Italians began to engage in colonial activities as well, but we have left them largely aside, too, because it is important to look at colonialism over a longer period of time and to compare the earlier trade colonialism (1500-1800) with the later imperialism of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The process of decolonisation, an inevitable consequence of colonialism itself, was as important as the centuries of colonial rule. It resulted in the migration of millions of people from the former colonial territories to Europe. Perhaps this mass immigration helped to weaken the existing prejudices and racial notions among the European population in countries like Britain, the Netherlands, France, Spain, and Portugal. However, this is a hypothesis rather than an objective observation and probably racial prejudices are still much alive in many parts of Europe. They are based on longstanding stereotypical images of Asians, Africans, and others... (Preface)