Definition of COLONISATION


Colonisation is a noun that primarily refers to the process by which a foreign power establishes control over a territory or population, often leading to the exploitation, settlement, cultural assimilation, or political domination of the colonized region. It can be understood in various contexts:

Expansionist Endeavors: As a noun, colonisation describes historical ventures undertaken by European powers, such as Spain, Portugal, England, France, and the Netherlands, to establish colonies in Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Oceania during the Age of Discovery and subsequent periods.

Imperial Ambitions: Colonisation was driven by imperialist ambitions, economic interests, religious motivations, and geopolitical rivalries, leading to the subjugation, displacement, and marginalization of indigenous peoples and cultures.

Settlement and Governance: Colonisation involves the establishment of colonial settlements, trading posts, administrative centers, and infrastructure by the colonizing power, as well as the imposition of colonial laws, institutions, and administrative systems.

Social Hierarchy: Colonial societies were often characterized by hierarchical structures based on race, ethnicity, class, and gender, with colonizers occupying positions of privilege and authority, while indigenous peoples and enslaved populations faced discrimination and exploitation.

Cultural Assimilation: Colonisation resulted in cultural exchanges, syncretism, and assimilation between colonizers and indigenous populations, leading to the adoption of new languages, religions, customs, technologies, and social practices.

Economic Exploitation: Colonized territories were subjected to economic exploitation through the extraction of natural resources, forced labor, plantation agriculture, trade monopolies, and the imposition of unequal trade relations, leading to economic dependency and underdevelopment.

Legacy of Colonisation: The legacy of colonisation persists in contemporary societies, influencing political structures, social relations, economic disparities, ethnic tensions, and cultural identities, with ongoing debates over reparations, restitution, decolonisation, and indigenous rights.

Resistance Movements: Colonisation sparked resistance movements, uprisings, revolutions, and anti-colonial struggles among colonized peoples, seeking to reclaim sovereignty, autonomy, and cultural heritage, and to challenge colonial oppression and exploitation.

In summary, colonisation is a noun that describes the historical process of foreign domination, settlement, and exploitation of territories and populations, with enduring impacts on culture, society, politics, and economics, shaping the course of history and influencing contemporary debates on decolonisation, justice, and reconciliation.


Both colonisation and colonization are correct, depending on the variant of English:

  • Colonisation is the preferred spelling in British English.
  • Colonization is the preferred spelling in American English.

Choose the spelling that aligns with the variant of English you are using.

Examples of COLONISATION in a sentence

  • Colonization refers to the process by which a foreign power establishes control over a territory and settles it with colonists.
  • European colonization of the Americas led to significant cultural, political, and economic changes in the region.
  • The history of colonization is often marked by exploitation, conflict, and the displacement of indigenous populations.
  • The British colonization of India had profound effects on Indian society, politics, and culture.
  • Some scholars argue that the legacy of colonization continues to shape global power dynamics and socioeconomic disparities.
  • The process of colonization often involves the imposition of new laws, customs, and languages on the indigenous population.
  • Resistance to colonization has been a common theme throughout history, with indigenous peoples fighting to maintain their autonomy and sovereignty.
  • The impacts of colonization can vary widely depending on factors such as the motives of the colonizing power, the nature of indigenous resistance, and the resources of the colonized territory.


The term “colonisation” has its origins in the Latin word “colonus,” which means “farmer” or “settler,” and the suffix “-ation,” indicating the process or action of. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Colonus (Latin): Referring to “farmer” or “settler.”
  • -ation: Denoting the process or action of.

Therefore, “colonisation” originally referred to the process of establishing settlements or colonies in a new territory, typically involving the migration and settlement of people from one region to another for various purposes such as economic exploitation, cultural expansion, or political control.


  • Settlement
  • Conquest
  • Occupation
  • Annexation
  • Expansion
  • Imperialism
  • Subjugation
  • Domination


  • Decolonization
  • Liberation
  • Independence
  • Sovereignty
  • Emancipation
  • Autonomy
  • Self-determination
  • Freedom


  • Colonialism
  • Colonizer
  • Colony
  • Imperialist
  • Indigenous
  • Resistance
  • Oppression
  • Exploitation

🌐 🇬🇧 COLONISATION in other languages

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