Politics in Minutes (2016)

Imperialism and colonialism

Some nations assert their superiority over others, by extending their borders and invading their neighbours to build empires. This urge for imperialism is driven by a desire for not only ideological dominance, but also economic gain, through acquisition of resources and territory. And with advances in transportation, empires have been built not simply by expanding into neighbouring countries, but also by colonizing more distant ones. Spain and Portugal, for example, colonized South America, while other European powers acquired territories in North America and Asia, and later with the ‘Scramble for Africa’, global empires were formed. This kind of colonialism established networks of international trade that survived the empires themselves. Even after independence, colonies maintained trading and cultural links with their former masters, and with one another, sometimes formally as in the formation of the British Commonwealth. The influence of colonialism was also reflected in the political and cultural institutions of the newly independent nations.


The 1948 voyage of the Empire Windrush began a wave of migration into post-War Britain from across its dwindling Empire.