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Thursday, October 26, 2006


Colonialism is the extension of a nation's sovereignty over territory beyond its borders by the establishment of either settler colonies or administrative dependencies in which indigenous populations are directly ruled or displaced. Colonizers generally dominate the resources, labor, and markets of the colonial territory and may also impose socio-cultural, religious and linguistic structures on the conquered population (see also cultural imperialism). However, though colonialism is often used interchangeably with imperialism, the latter is sometimes used more broadly as it covers control exercised informally (via influence) as well as formally. The term colonialism may also be used to refer to a set of beliefs used to legitimize or promote this system. Colonialism was often based on the belief that the mores and values of the colonizer were superior to those of the colonized. (This can also be called ethnocentricism). Some observers link such beliefs regarding values to racism, and to pseudo-scientific theories dating to the 17th and 18th centuries. In terms of race, this led to a sort of proto-Social Darwinism that placed Caucasians at the top of the Animal Kingdom, "naturally" in charge of dominating and civilizing non-European indigenous populations. In terms of values, this led to cultural hegemony, chauvinistic jingoism, missionary zealotry and blindly patriotic nationalism in the colonies, especially among the colonizers READ

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