Colonial expansion is ... Definition, history and interesting facts

Thirty Years War 1618-1648 It is considered the first serious conflict in which the majority of states of the European continent participated. It was the result of the opposition of the Protestant and Catholic military and political bloc, complicated by the intervention of their foreign allies. The alignment of forces was as follows. The Hapsburg bloc (Catholic), which included Spain and Austria, opposed Holland, Russia, Denmark, France and Sweden. These countries formed a kind of anti-Habsburg coalition.colonial expansion this

Austrian failures

Expansionist aspirations have been characteristic of the Hapsburg since ancient times. However, their main purpose was the territory of the continent. This was due to the location of their own properties.

However, Frederick III crowned in 1452, who next year became an Austrian archduke, believed that the Habsburg dynasty was fully capable of conquering the whole world. He even came up with the motto AEIOU.His most common translation is: "All Land Submits to Austria." By his order, this abbreviation was carved on public buildings, and he himself inscribed books in this way.

At that time, acquired a specialmeaning the concept of "civilization". Colonial expansionactively began after the great geographical discoveries. Economically and politically more advanced countries sought to expand their holdings by establishing control over less developed territories.

After the discovery of new lands, Austria made several attempts to startcolonial expansion. Theseattempts were made up to the First World War. However, all of them were unsuccessful. The fact is that the Habsburg dynasty did not pay enough attention to the development of the merchant and military fleet and, moreover, was under constant pressure from more powerful colonial states, primarily the British Empire. All the energy of the central government was directed towards the management of a rather unstable multinational state. As a result, the Austrian colonial empire was not destined to arise.

Habsburg enlisted the support of the Pope of Rome, the Catholic princes of Germany and the Polish-Lithuanian state. However, in 1648 the Peace of Westphalia was signed, which actually meant the defeat of Austria. Sweden and France gained the territory of Germany, and the Roman Empire, having lost its prestige, became a conglomeration of separate principalities.colonial expansion of colonial countries

Beginning of European colonial expansion

In the XVII-XVIII centuries. European conflicts began. However, all of them were necessary only forcolonial expansion. itIt was a kind of means of maintaining European balance.

At the end of the XVII century. the Turks undertook a campaign against Europe. However, they were defeated in 1683 near Vienna. This defeat showed the weakness of the Turks.

In the XVII-XVIII centuries. the borders of European countries were constantly expanding. Now, single reconnaissance expeditions, so popular during the Great Discoveries, were practically not organized. Instead, the popularity began to gaincolonial expansion. ThisThe process began with the large-scale development of new territories. During it, the Europeans formed the foundation for the colonial system.

Developed powers rivalry

At the initial stagecolonial expansion europeansThey did not interfere in the social and political life of the conquered peoples. The conquerors sought primarily to establish economic control over the new territories.

Colonial expansion of European countriesaccompanied by rivalry of major powers. The countries practically all the time were fighting with each other for the richest and most profitable territories. At the turn of the XVIII-XIX centuries. England was considered the absolute leader in this confrontation. It was she who became the largest colonial country, pushing Holland first, and subsequently France.

Portugal and Spain retained their vast possessions in Latin America. However, these metropolises were rather weak, which soon led to the death of their empires.colonial expansion of European countries

Vast territories on the African continent remained undeveloped. Here, under the rule of Europeans, there were only small coastal areas.

Forms of operation

Colonial expansion of colonial countriesassumed different methods of operation. The use of slave labor was widely practiced on islands in the Caribbean and Latin America.The slave-owning plantation became the main type of economic activity here.

In Indonesia, the Dutch actively used the serf system. They forced the local population to grow cane sugar, coffee, spices.

Trading companies, in turn, also sought to get as much profit from the colonies. Therefore, they exploited European colonists in every possible way. Most trading companies have been active in South Africa. Only the North American colonies of England developed along the capitalist path. After gaining independence, a kind of civilization center began to form in these territories. He became the main competitor to the European colonial empires.


At the end of the XVIII century. a new state emerged - the USA. This event significantly disturbed the European balance and became the first prerequisite for the destruction of the colonial system.

In addition, the Great French Revolution at the end of the century was of no small importance. As a result of the struggle against European feudal monarchies, an advanced army for that period arose.With its help, France, instead of revolutionary wars, began to conduct conquest operations.the beginning of the European colonial expansion

The position of Portugal

This country retained its primacy among the colonial powers for long. In the 17th century, Portugal, in rivalry with its main rival Holland, lost its key eastern territories conquered duringcolonial expansion of European countries. In India, Japan, Burma, Siam, it lost a number of base points, in the Persian Gulf - the territory of Malacca, Hormuz, the Moluccas. Portugal managed to maintain only some strongholds in China and India. Mozambique and Angola in Africa remained behind it. However, Brazil was considered the main possession of the country. It was conquered in the beginning of the XVI century.


This state created its colonial empire with "fire and sword". The route to the eastern regions through Africa was controlled by Portugal. Accordingly, the Spanish fleet in search of India headed westward across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.meaning of concepts civilization colonial expansion

After four journeys of Columbus, Spain entered the active phasecolonial expansion. TheseThe events allowed the Spaniards to seize part of the Antilles and establish a first settlement in Haiti.

By the first half of the XVI century, Spain took control of the vast territories of Central and South America. The army of conquerors was sparse, but well trained and disciplined. Under her onslaught, the Aztec and Incan states quickly fell. In the attacks, the Spaniards used horses and guns.colonial expansion of Europeans

It is worth saying that at first the Aztecs received the invaders with honors. They were struck by the white skin of the Spaniards, because they had never before seen the Europeans. The Aztecs took them for the children of the sun. However, realizing that they came to seize, they began to resist. But in 1521, 700 soldiers were able to win. In the years 1529-1533. following the Aztecs, the Incas were also subjugated.

Arriving in Asia, the Spaniards discovered and subsequently captured the Philippine islands. Despite the successes, the basis of the colonial empire of Spain was still American lands.

Trade development

The main sources of income of the Spanish feudal lords were spices, slaves and gold. In this case, most of the mining from the captured territories was sent to Antwerp. In the XVI century, this city turned into the trade capital of Western Europe. The Portuguese also sold their goods in Antwerp.Accordingly, Spain and Portugal have become key suppliers of precious metals, various oriental goods and spices.


Thanks to the Great geographical discoveries significantly expanded the limits of the world known to Europeans. From this time begins the long process of convergence of different civilizations. However, it had a negative impact on colonial expansion.colonial expansion of european countries india

It led to the fact that a huge part of the world has become a source of income for European countries. Mining obtained from the captured lands was the basis for accumulating funds, the foundation of the capitalist system, and the creation of an international market.

The Europeans, capturing vast territories, invaded the most diverse spheres of life of the peoples who inhabited them.

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