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Colonialism Collection

History Archive - Colonialism Collection

Many of the works featured in our collections are the product of the colonial period. Modern colonialism started with the Age of Discovery. Spain (initially the Crown of Castile) and soon later Portugal encountered the Americas through sea travel and built trading posts or conquered large extensions of land. For some people, it is this building of colonies across oceans that differentiates colonialism from other types of expansionism.

These new lands were divided between the Spanish Empire and Portuguese Empire (then still between Portugal and Castile—the Crown of Castile had a dynastic but not state union with the Crown of Aragon through the Catholic Monarchs), first by the papal bull Inter caetera and then by the treaties of Tordesillas and Zaragoza. This period is also associated with the Commercial Revolution. The late Middle Ages saw reforms in accountancy and banking in Italy and the eastern Mediterranean. These ideas were adopted and adapted in western Europe to the high risks and rewards associated with colonial ventures.

The 17th century saw the creation of the French colonial empire and the Dutch Empire, as well as the English overseas possessions, which later became the British Empire. It also saw the establishment of a Danish colonial empire and some Swedish overseas colonies. The spread of colonial empires was reduced in the late 18th and early 19th centuries by the American Revolutionary War and the Latin American wars of independence. However, many new colonies were established after this time, including the German colonial empire and Belgian colonial empire. In the late 19th century, many European powers were involved in the Scramble for Africa.

The Russian Empire, Ottoman Empire and Austrian Empire existed at the same time as the above empires but did not expand over oceans. Rather, these empires expanded through the more traditional route of the conquest of neighboring territories. There was, though, some Russian colonization of the Americas across the Bering Strait. The Empire of Japan modeled itself on European colonial empires. The United States of America gained overseas territories after the Spanish–American War for which the term "American Empire" was coined.

However, the First World War spelled the end for the process of empire building and colonialism as it was known as the victorious allies divided up the German colonial empire and much of the Ottoman Empire between themselves as League of Nations mandates. These territories were divided into three classes according to how quickly it was deemed that they would be ready for independence. This trend would continue throughout the 20th century with some countries continuing to remain territories of Europe while others chose independence both peacefully and violently.

Available Books


Image Name
Rounding Cape Horn
Back Cover
China Tomb at Agra, an old mausoleum now in Ruins
Planet [VI]
Gateway of the Taj
Rio de Janeiro
The Taj Mahul (I)
Interior of the Tomb of Akbar
Pavilion on one side of the Garden at Deeg (III)
Tasmania Government House, Hobart Town
Fort of Agra from the River
Tomb of Actmad od Doulah
Pali, Honolulu
Begum Sombre
Interior of the Tomb of Actmad od Doulah
Victoria, Australia, Government House, Toorak, Melbourne
The Taj from the River
Flying Squadron, Esquimalt Harbor
Mausoleum of the Poet Khusroo
[Table Bay, with Table Mountain and Cape Town]
Kureem Khan, who shot Mr. Fraser at Delhi
Tomb of Hoomaseeoon
Title Page
Mausoleum of Nizamoodeen Ouleea
Marble Screen of the Tomb in the Taj
Tomb of Runjeet Sing at Goverdhun
Front Cover
The Kootub Meenar at Delhi
Pavilion on one side of the Garden at Deeg (I)
Flying Squadron, Plymouth Sound, June 1869
Funchal, Madeira
Pavilion on one side of the Garden at Deeg (II)
Planet [V]
Tasmania, the Last of the Aboriginals Lady
Book Cover
Tomb of Emperor Akbar at Secundra
Gateway to Akbars Tomb
Dewan Khans Palace at Delhi
Pavilion on one side of the Garden at Deeg (IV)
Shumshoodeen, hung for the murder of Mr. Fraser
Title Page
New Zealand Forest
Planet [IV]
Gateway to the Tomb of the Saint Salee, at Guttehpore Secree
Planet [II]
Akbar Shah
Tasmania River, Derwent H.E. Charles Ducane Visiting the Squadron
Motee Musjid
Planet [I]
The Late Emperor of Delhi
The Taj Mahul (II)
Tomb of the Saint Saleem at Futtehpore Secree
The Taj Mahul or Tomb of Noor Mahul, Wife of Shah Jehan
Tomb of Sufdder Jung
Title Page
Mirza Saleem, the Emperors Son
Flying Squadron Off Honolulu, June, 1870
Planet [III]


Map Name
Map of the British Empire in America - A Map of the British Empire in America with the French and Spanish Settlements adjacent thereto. by Henry Popple. (1746)
Cruise Round the World of the Flying Squadron - Map of the Cruise of the Flying Squadron (1871)


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