Essay about Colonialism

670 Words 3 Pages
European overseas expansion evolved from sixteenth-century colonialism driven by mercantilism to nineteenth-century nationalistic imperialism. Both had different forces compelling them; thus different countries—although most the same—participated in each phenomenon with unique, but largely similar goals. These two forces that overtook the world are comparable as they both have the same objectives; however, mercantilism compelled colonialism while nationalism drove imperialism.
Colonialism
Beginning in the sixteenth century and lasting until the early seventeenth century, several European countries colonialized by formally exerting the control of their political entity over another political entity in a different geographical location.
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God, or religion, played a role in colonialism; sometimes with Roman Catholic colonialists eager to spread their beliefs to the non-Christian native peoples, or sometimes with colonialists eager to leave it all behind and start anew without the pressures of religious intolerance. Glory, or colonial supremacy, also played a big role in colonialism. A race to be number one in trade, in goods, and in colonies was always a sprint to the finish. However, the biggest motivation in colonialism was the mercantilistic doctrine that


dominated the mindset of the European colonial powers in the sixteenth century.
Mercantilism held that a nation’s wealth consisted of the amount of precious metals, especially gold, it possessed. It assumed that the volume of world wealth and trade was relatively static; so one country's gain required another's loss. Thus, each individual country protected their domains and enterprises against European rivals, preventing their trading allies and their subject people overseas from trading with their rivals if at all possible. In addition, a colonial possession—whether it was a factory, settlement colony, or plantation—should provide wealth to the country that controlled it and was only an appendage of the mother country. In other words, colonies theoretically existed only for the economic benefit of the colonialist’s country.
The European countries that involved themselves in colonialism mostly…