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Colonization

Colonization can be defined as a process whereby people from one territory establish, maintain, attain, and expand their power and sovereignty over the other. The governmental as well as economic life of the colony is declared and changed by the metropolis. It should be noted that colonialism is a phenomenon of unequal relationships where metropolis usually represses rights of the colony and its population. The term colonialism is generally ascribed to European states’ colonization of other countries between the 15th and 20th centuries. In this period, motivation for colonization included various factors – strengthening of metropolis, expected profit, the expansion of the metropolis’ territory, as well as political, economic, and social impacts on the colony. Therefore, colonization is a superiority of one state over another motivated mostly by territorial, political, and economic prosperity. Although colonization is a phenomenon characterized by exploitation, bloodshed, and slavery, it also has a positive outcome that can be recognized through creation of new civilizations and great cultural impact on colonial societies.

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Spain, Portugal, France, England, and the Netherlands have occurred throughout the history as five principal powers. These countries were motivated by three common motives: a desire for profit, religion ambitions, and craving to expand the territory. The contemporary United States of America exists today due to the colonization done by these five major nations. From the late 15th century on, Spain, France and England expanded their power in America throughout the centuries to come. It should be kept in mind that, in 1607, the first successful colony of Jamestown, Virginia, was established by James I of England in America (January, 2001, p.22). English motivation for Jamestown colonization was induced by numerous reasons: to establish the search for precious metals such as gold and silver, detect the way to the Pacific Ocean, benefit from the natural resources of the land, and arrange Indian trade. Nevertheless, the colonization of Jamestown had both positive and negative outcomes The production of tobacco became the biggest success of English colonization because it required a lot of resources, especially human ones, and thus it provided many people with work. Although the profit of tobacco was a positive outcome, it also furthered the establishment of slavery that negatively affected American society for years that followed.

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There were many other colonial settlements not only within America but outside as well. African land was rich in such valuable resources as diamonds, gold, coffee and cocoa, which were hard to find in Europe (Crowder, 1968, p.205). Starting from the late 16th century and continuing up to the middle of the 19th century, lands of West Africa were an important component of the slave trade conducted firstly by such powerful nations as the Portuguese, then by the Dutch, and ultimately by the British and French. Despite the establishment of the trade port in St. Louis in 1659 by the French, the participation of France in West Africa increased only in the late 19th century. According to Boahen et al. (1986), France regarded West African territories “as mere provinces overseas”, which it could influence (p. 123). It should be noted that the French were motivated by a desire to bring more and more land under their control. France, when compared to England, was also interested in markets, raw materials, and cheap labor that could benefit the establishment of power, profit, and strategic advantage. Thereby, slavery that brought numerous diseases became the negative outcome of the French colonization of Africa, similar to the English colonization of America. Nonetheless, France benefited from expanding into Africa and trading of natural resources and slaves while native inhabitants were involved into a new culture and language that had been used to present days.

In addition, many colonizing processes represent cultural exchange that may have peaceful or aggressive character. Therefore, the cultural blending can be considered as the most important aspect of colonization. The most obvious example of a colonist culture is English influence on the United States that caused great damage to tthe native dwellers. The English language, art, and literature of the United States can be recognized as the major consequences of the English colonization among other impacts on American society that are still seen today (Taylor, 2002, p.467). The most productive effect of cross-cultural exchange during colonization is the birth of several different civilizations and cultures. For example, colonization in America was maintained by several different nations – the English, the Spanish, and the French – which brought their culture with them. For instance, American variant of English is the language of communication in the modern United States while French and Spanish are spoken in Canada and Mexico respectively. Consequently, the European culture also exerted great influence on the culture of the Native Americans, who supported the establishment of a new civilization. Nonetheless, such culture blending also had a negative impact on the society of colonized America because it partially destroyed the culture of the Natives without giving it an opportunity for further development as well as brought bloodshed, warfare, and slavery into the land, and thus numerous deaths of peaceful populace.

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The European presence in the Islamic world was largely introduced with a great impact on culture of the latter. European art was known among court artists that carefully copied some motives or even the whole composition of the engravings in Bible and illustrations presented in the 16th century by Jesuit missionaries (Watson, 2003, p. 184). Moreover, Indian artists borrowed different techniques from Europian colonizers, which they applied to their own works. For example, the depiction of flowers and plants was affected by their illustrations in European books about herbs. The great impact on Islamic culture, especially on art, was exerted by French colonization. Oil paintings and the life-size portraits of Louis XIV found their echo in Zand and Qajar state portraits, Persia (Watson, 2003, p. 241). The influence of the French Baroque can be found in Turkish drawings, artists of which were captivated by motives of French art, and thus integrated it into the local culture.

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