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


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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