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Who were the main contenders in European domination and when?

European domination of the New World began in the late 15th century. Spain, France, England, Portugal, and the Netherlands were the main contenders for the plunder of natural and human resources, and over the next few centuries European empires extended themselves around the globe.

Britain as an imperial power

During the 19th century, Britain emerged as the largest imperial power and by the turn of the 20th century the British empire ruled one quarter of the earth's surface. British colonial domination continued until the end of World War II. India gained independence in 1947 and other colonies followed. By 1980 Britain had lost all but a few of its political holdings.

Cultural Colonialization

This the inculcation of a country's system of government, education, culture, and values that denigrate the culture, morals, and even physical appearance of formerly subjugated people.

What effect does cultural colonialization have on the formerly colonized people?

1. Colonialism still has a residual effect.

2. There is a dynamic psychological and social interplay between what ex-colonial populations consider their native, indigenous, precolonial cultures and the British culture that was imposed
on them.
3. Postcolonial culture includes both a merger of and antagonism between the culture of the colonized and that of the colonizer that are now difficult to identify. The British intrusion into the government, education, cultural values, and daily lives of the colonial subjects was too complete to ever separate them again.
4. Even though the British retreated and left the colonized lands, their domination did not end.

Major effect of cultural colonialization?

Ex-colonials were left with a psychological inheritance of a negative self-image and alienation from their own indigenous culture, which had been forbidden or devalued for so long that much precolonial culture has been lost.

Colonialist ideology

the colonizers' assumption of their own superiority, which they contrasted with the alleged inferiority of native peoples, the original inhabitants of the lands they invaded


Othering is the practice of judging all who are different as less than fully human. It divides the world between us and them.

Often, the "other" is seen as not only inferior, but evil—the demonic other.
Sometimes, the "other" is seen as possessing a primitive beauty or nobility born of a closeness to nature—the exotic other.


the attitude of using European culture as the standard to which all other cultures are negatively contrasted

Example of Eurocentrism

First World (Britain, Europe, United States)
Second World (white populations of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and southern Africa)
Third World (technologically developing nations, such as India, Africa, Central and South America, and Southeast Asia)
Fourth World (indigenous populations subjugated by white settlers, such as Native Americans and aboriginal Australians)

Colonial Subjects

colonized persons who did not resist colonial subjugation because they were taught to believe in British superiority and therefore their own inferiority


Imitation of the colonizers in dress, speech, behavior, and lifestyle

Reflects the desire of the colonial subject to be accepted by the colonizing culture

Reflects the shame the colonial subject feels towards the native culture, which is believed to be inferior

Double Consciousness

a perception of the world that is divided between two antagonistic cultures, that of the colonizer and that of the indigenous community

This perception produces an unstable sense of self, a psychological limbo of feeling one does not belong to either culture.


the trauma of cultural displacement, belonging to no culture
One doesn't feel "at home" in either culture


an emphasis on indigenous culture, especially when Western influences have tried to eliminate that culture

From a nativist perspective, there is a big difference between a culture changing over time and a people being cut off from their culture.

Postcolonial Theory

an analysis of the effect invading cultures have on native cultures (and vice versa)


the exploitation of the cheap labor available in developing countries, often at the expense of those countries' own struggling businesses, cultural traditions, and ecological well-being

Cultural Imperialism

a direct result of economic domination, consisting of the takeover of one culture by another
The food, clothing, customs, recreation, and values of the economically dominant culture increasingly replace those of the economically vulnerable culture until the latter appears to be a kind of imitation of the former.

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