Colonialism is the policy of a nation seeking to extend or retain its authority over other people or territories. Colonialism involves unequal relationships between the colonial power and the colony and often between the colonists and the indigenous peoples.
The European colonial period was the era from the 16th century to the mid-20th century when several European powers established colonies in Asia, Africa, and the Americas. At first the countries followed a policy of mercantilism, designed to strengthen the home economy at the expense of rivals, so the colonies were usually allowed to trade only with the mother country. By the mid-19th century, however, the powerful British Empire gave up mercantilism and trade restrictions and introduced the principle of free trade, with few restrictions or tariffs....LESS