Timeline of European imperialism

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This Timeline of European imperialism covers episodes of imperialism outside of Europe by western nations since 1400; for other countries, see Imperialism § Imperialism by country.



World map at the Padrao dos Descobrimentos, Lisbon, with early Portuguese exploration and imperial projects. Belem - Discoveries Monument P1000152.JPG
World map at the Padrão dos Descobrimentos, Lisbon, with early Portuguese exploration and imperial projects.

Colonization of North America

Map of North America (1750) - France (blue), Britain (pink), and Spain (orange) Nouvellefrance-V2.jpg
Map of North America (1750) – France (blue), Britain (pink), and Spain (orange)
Map of the northern part and parts of the southern parts of the America, from the mouth of the Saint Laurent River to the Island of Cayenne, with the new discoveries of the Mississippi (or Colbert) River. This map shows the results of the expeditions of Father Marquette and L. Jolliet (1673) and the Cavelier de la Salle expedition in the Mississippi valley. The map shows three forts built between 1679 and 1680: Conty fort (near Niagara Falls), Miamis Fort (south of Michigan lake), and Crevecoeur fort (Left bank of the Illinois River). Mississippi river course is only shown upstream of Ohio confluence. Claude Bernou Carte de lAmerique septentrionale.jpg
Map of the northern part and parts of the southern parts of the America, from the mouth of the Saint Laurent River to the Island of Cayenne, with the new discoveries of the Mississippi (or Colbert) River. This map shows the results of the expeditions of Father Marquette and L. Jolliet (1673) and the Cavelier de la Salle expedition in the Mississippi valley. The map shows three forts built between 1679 and 1680: Conty fort (near Niagara Falls), Miamis Fort (south of Michigan lake), and Crèvecœur fort (Left bank of the Illinois River). Mississippi river course is only shown upstream of Ohio confluence.

1700 to 1799

1793 to 1870


Central and east Africa, 1898, during the Fashoda Incident. Fashoda Incident map - en.svg
Central and east Africa, 1898, during the Fashoda Incident.


League of Nations mandates in the Middle East and Africa: #1-5 ex-Ottoman Empire; #6-12 ex-German Empire.
1. Syria, 2. Lebanon, 3. Palestine, 4. Transjordan, 5. Mesopotamia, 6. British Togoland, 7. French Togoland, 8. British Cameroons, 9. French Cameroun, 10. Ruanda-Urundi, 11. Tanganyika and 12. South West Africa League of Nations mandate Middle East and Africa.png
League of Nations mandates in the Middle East and Africa: #1–5 ex–Ottoman Empire; #6–12 ex–German Empire.
1. Syria, 2. Lebanon, 3. Palestine, 4. Transjordan, 5. Mesopotamia, 6. British Togoland, 7. French Togoland, 8. British Cameroons, 9. French Cameroun, 10. Ruanda-Urundi, 11. Tanganyika and 12. South West Africa
League Mandates in the Pacific, All from the German Empire: 1. South Pacific Mandate, 2. Territory of New Guinea, 3. Nauru and 4. Western Samoa League of Nations mandate Pacific.png
League Mandates in the Pacific, All from the German Empire: 1. South Pacific Mandate, 2. Territory of New Guinea, 3. Nauru and 4. Western Samoa


French conquests and territories EmpireFrench.png
French conquests and territories

See also


  1. Perry J. Moree, A Concise History of Dutch Mauritius, 1598-1710: A Fruitful and Healthy Land (Routledge, 1998).
  2. Om Prakash, The Dutch East India Company and the Economy of Bengal, 1630-1720 (2014)
  3. Leonard Blusse, An Insane Administration and Insanitary Town: The Dutch East India Company and Batavia (1619–1799) (Springer Netherlands, 1985).
  4. Jack S. Levy and Salvatore Ali. "From commercial competition to strategic rivalry to war: The evolution of the Anglo-Dutch rivalry, 1609-52." in Paul Diehl, ed. The dynamics of enduring rivalries (1998) pp29-63.
  5. Donald C. Wellington, French East India companies: A historical account and record of trade (Hamilton Books, 2006)
  6. Theodore G. Corbett, "Migration to a Spanish imperial frontier in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries: St. Augustine." Hispanic American Historical Review (1974): 414–430 in JSTOR
  7. Charles W. Arnade, "Cattle Raising in Spanish Florida, 1513–1763." Agricultural History (1961): 116–124. in JSTOR
  8. Griffiths, N.E.S. (2005). From Migrant to Acadian: A North American Border People, 1604-1755. McGill-Queen's University Press. ISBN   978-0-7735-2699-0.
  9. Horgan, Paul (1994). The Centuries of Santa Fe. University of New Mexico Press. ISBN   9780826314918.
  10. Addison Emery Verrill, The Bermuda Islands: Their Scenery, Climate, Productions, Physiography, Natural History and Geology: With Sketches of Their Early History and the Changes Due to Man (1902) online
  11. Wesley Frank Craven, "An introduction to the history of Bermuda." William and Mary College Quarterly (1937): 318–362. in JSTOR
  12. George F. Dow, Every Day Life in the Massachusetts Bay Colony (1935).
  13. Olmert, Michael (2007). Official Guide to Colonial Williamsburg. Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. ISBN   9780879352349.
  14. Liam Connell, "‘A Great or Notorious Liar’: Katherine Harrison and her Neighbours, Wethersfield, Connecticut, 1668–1670." Eras 12.2 (2011); Story of an accused witch put on trial but survived. online
  15. Arnold, Samuel Greene (1859). History of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations vol 1 1636–1700. Applewood Books. ISBN   9781429022774.
  16. Joseph Dow (1894). History of the Town of Hampton, New Hampshire: From Its Settlement in 1638, to the Autumn of 1892. ISBN   9781548542160.
  17. Fraser, Walter J. (1990). Charleston! Charleston!: The History of a Southern City. University of South Carolina Press. ISBN   9780872497979.
  18. Illick, Joseph E. (1976). Colonial Pennsylvania: A History . Scribner. ISBN   9780684145655.
  19. John Francis McDermott, The French in the Mississippi Valley (1965)
  20. Carl A. Brasseaux, "The Moral Climate of French Colonial Louisiana, 1699–1763." Louisiana History (1986): 27-41. in JSTOR
  21. Stetson Conn, Gibraltar in British diplomacy in the eighteenth century (1942).
  22. R. Cole Harris; Geoffrey J. Matthews (1987). Historical Atlas of Canada: From the beginning to 1800. U. of Toronto Press. p. 102. ISBN   9780802024954.
  23. Fred Anderson, Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754–1766 (2001)
  24. Julia Osman, online essay
  25. Edward Gray and Jane Kamensky, eds/ The Oxford Handbook of the American Revolution (2013) Wide-ranging overview by scholars.
  26. Andrew Stockley, Britain and France at the Birth of America: The European Powers and the Peace Negotiations of 1782-1783 (U. of Exeter Press, 2001)
  27. Denys Mostyn Forrest, Tiger of Mysore: The life and death of Tipu Sultan (1970)
  28. Mark Bassin, "Inventing Siberia: visions of the Russian East in the early nineteenth century." American Historical Review 96.3 (1991): 763-794. online
  29. Rory Miller, Britain and Latin America in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (1993).
  30. Barbara A. Tenenbaum, "Merchants, Money, and Mischief the British in Mexico, 1821–1862." The Americas 35.03 (1979): 317-339.
  31. Brian E. Vick, The Congress of Vienna: power and politics after Napoleon (Harvard UP, 2014).
  32. Victoria Glendinning, Raffles and the Golden Opportunity (2012).
  33. Alan K. Manchester, "The recognition of Brazilian independence." Hispanic American Historical Review 31.1 (1951): 80-96 in JSTOR.
  34. H.W.V. Temperley, The Foreign Policy of Canning, 1822-1827: England, the Neo-Holy Alliance, and the New World (1925) online
  35. Dexter Perkins, "Europe, Spanish America, and the Monroe Doctrine." American Historical Review (1922) 27#2 pp: 207–218. in JSTOR
  36. Jennifer E. Sessions (2015). By Sword and Plow: France and the Conquest of Algeria. Cornell University Press. ISBN   9780801454462.
  37. James S. Olson and Robert Shadle, eds. Historical dictionary of the British empire (1996) vol 1 p 47
  38. Joseph Schafer, "The British Attitude toward the Oregon Question, 1815–1846." American Historical Review (1911) 16#2 pp: 273–299. in JSTOR
  39. Richard W. Van Alstyne, "International Rivalries in Pacific Northwest." Oregon Historical Quarterly (1945): 185–218. in JSTOR
  40. David M. Pletcher, The Diplomacy of Annexation: Texas, Oregon, and the Mexican War (1973).
  41. Bernard Semmel, The Rise of Free Trade Imperialism: Classical Political Economy the Empire of Free Trade and Imperialism, 1750–1850 (2004)
  42. Michael Adas, "Twentieth Century Approaches to the Indian Mutiny of 1857–58", Journal of Asian History (1971) 5#1 pp 1–19
  43. Bhupen Qanungo, "A study of British relations with the native states of India, 1858–62." Journal of Asian Studies (1967) 26#2 pp: 251–265.
  44. Donovan Williams, "The Council of India and the Relationship between the Home and Supreme Governments, 1858–1870." English Historical Review (1966): 56–73 in JSTOR.
  45. Oscar Chapuis, The Last Emperors of Vietnam: From Tu Duc to Bao Dai (Greenwood, 2000). online
  46. Donald Creighton, The Road to Confederation: The Emergence of Canada, 1863–1867 (1965).
  47. Thomas Pakenham, Scramble for Africa: The White Man's Conquest of the Dark Continent from 1876–1912 (1991)
  48. Adam Hochschild, King Leopold's Ghost (1998)
  49. Martin Stuart-Fox, "The French in Laos, 1887–1945." Modern Asian Studies (1995) 29#1 pp: 111–139.
  50. Peter Duus, The Abacus and the Sword: The Japanese Penetration of Korea, 1895–1910 (1995)
  51. Thomas J. Osborne, "The Main Reason for Hawaiian Annexation in July, 1898," Oregon Historical Quarterly (1970) 71#2 pp. 161–178 in JSTOR
  52. Fabian Hilfrich, Debating American Exceptionalism: Empire and Democracy in the Wake of the Spa (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012)
  53. Christopher Lasch, "The Anti-Imperialists, the Philippines, and the Inequality of Man." Journal of Southern History (1958): 319–331. in JSTOR
  54. Matthew G. Stanard, Selling the Congo: A History of European Pro-Empire Propaganda and the Making of Belgian Imperialism (U of Nebraska Press, 2012).
  55. Anthony Adamthwaite, Grandeur And Misery: France's Bid for Power in Europe, 1914–1940 (1995) p 6
  56. Willie Santana, "Incorporating the Lonely Star: How Puerto Rico Became Incorporated and Earned a Place in the Sisterhood of States." Tennessee Journal of Law and Policy 9 (2013) pp: 433+ online.
  57. Nele Matz, "Civilization and the Mandate System under the League of Nations as Origin of Trusteeship." Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law (2005) 9#1 pp: 47–95. online

Further reading




Atlantic world

Latin America

British Empire

French Empire


Primary sources

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Colonialism</span> Creation and maintenance of colonies by people from another area

Colonialism is a practice by which a country controls people or areas, often by establishing colonies, generally for strategic and economic advancement. There is no clear definition of colonialism; definitions may vary depending on the use and context.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Imperialism</span> Policy or ideology of extending a nations rule over foreign nations

Imperialism is the practice, theory or attitude of maintaining or extending power over foreign nations, particularly through expansionism, employing not only hard power, but also soft power. Imperialism focuses on establishing or maintaining hegemony and a more or less formal empire.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Western imperialism in Asia</span> Imperialization and spread of influence over Asia by Western Europe and associated states

The influence and imperialism of Western Europe and associated states peaked in Asian territories from the colonial period beginning in the 16th century and substantially reducing with 20th century decolonization. It originated in the 15th-century search for trade routes to the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia that led directly to the Age of Discovery, and additionally the introduction of early modern warfare into what Europeans first called the East Indies and later the Far East. By the early 16th century, the Age of Sail greatly expanded Western European influence and development of the spice trade under colonialism. European-style colonial empires and imperialism operated in Asia throughout six centuries of colonialism, formally ending with the independence of the Portuguese Empire's last colony Macau in 1999. The empires introduced Western concepts of nation and the multinational state. This article attempts to outline the consequent development of the Western concept of the nation state.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">European colonization of the Americas</span>

During the Age of Discovery, a large scale colonization of the Americas, involving a number of European countries, took place primarily between the late 15th century and the early 19th century. The Norse had explored and colonized areas of Europe and the North Atlantic, colonizing Greenland and creating a short term settlement near the northern tip of Newfoundland circa 1000 CE. However, the later colonization by the European powers involving the continents of North America and South America is arguably more well-known.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">New Imperialism</span> Colonial expansion in late 19th and early 20th centuries

In historical contexts, New Imperialism characterizes a period of colonial expansion by European powers, the United States, and Japan during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The period featured an unprecedented pursuit of overseas territorial acquisitions. At the time, states focused on building their empires with new technological advances and developments, expanding their territory through conquest, and exploiting the resources of the subjugated countries. During the era of New Imperialism, the European powers individually conquered almost all of Africa and parts of Asia. The new wave of imperialism reflected ongoing rivalries among the great powers, the economic desire for new resources and markets, and a "civilizing mission" ethos. Many of the colonies established during this era gained independence during the era of decolonization that followed World War II.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">French colonial empire</span> Overseas territories controlled by France (1534–1980)

The French Colonial Empire comprised the overseas colonies, protectorates and mandate territories that came under French rule from the 16th century onward. A distinction is generally made between the "First French colonial empire," that existed until 1814, by which time most of it had been lost or sold, and the "Second French colonial empire," which began with the conquest of Algiers in 1830. At its apex between the two world wars, the second French colonial empire was the second-largest colonial empire in the world behind the British Empire.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Colonial history of the United States</span>

The colonial history of the United States covers the history of European colonization of North America from the early 17th century until the incorporation of the Thirteen Colonies into the United States after the Revolutionary War. In the late 16th century, England, Kingdom of France, Spanish Empire, and the Dutch Republic launched major colonization expeditions in North America. The death rate was very high among early immigrants, and some early attempts disappeared altogether, such as the English Lost Colony of Roanoke. Nevertheless, successful colonies were established within several decades.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Scramble for Africa</span> 1880s–1900s Western European colonisation of Africa

The Scramble for Africa is a term widely used by historians to describe the invasion, annexation, division, and colonization of most of Africa by seven Western European powers during an era known as "New Imperialism". The 10 percent of Africa that was under formal European control in 1870 increased to almost 90 percent by 1914, with only Liberia and Ethiopia remaining independent.

Decolonization or decolonisation is the undoing of colonialism, the latter being the process whereby imperial nations establish and dominate foreign territories, often overseas. The meanings and applications of the term are disputed. Some scholars of decolonization focus especially on independence movements in the colonies and the collapse of global colonial empires. Other scholars extend the meaning to include economic, cultural and psychological aspects of the colonial experience.

Early modern Britain is the history of the island of Great Britain roughly corresponding to the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. Major historical events in early modern British history include numerous wars, especially with France, along with the English Renaissance, the English Reformation and Scottish Reformation, the English Civil War, the Restoration of Charles II, the Glorious Revolution, the Treaty of Union, the Scottish Enlightenment and the formation and the collapse of the First British Empire.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dutch colonial empire</span> Overseas territories controlled by the Dutch Republic and the Netherlands

The Dutch colonial empire comprised the overseas territories and trading posts controlled and administered by Dutch chartered companies—mainly the Dutch East India Company and the Dutch West India Company—and subsequently by the Dutch Republic (1581–1795), and by the modern Kingdom of the Netherlands after 1815. It was initially a trade-based system which derived most of its influence from merchant enterprise and from Dutch control of international maritime shipping routes through strategically placed outposts, rather than from expansive territorial ventures. The Dutch were among the earliest empire-builders of Europe, following Spain and Portugal and one of the wealthiest nations of that time.

French Africa includes all the historic holdings of France on the African continent.

This is a non-exhaustive chronology of colonialism-related events, which may reflect political events, cultural events, and important global events that have influenced colonization and decolonization. See also Timeline of imperialism.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Atlantic World</span> Interactions of coastal societies during the age of European colonization of the Americas and Africa

The Atlantic World comprises the interactions among the peoples and empires bordering the Atlantic Ocean rim from the beginning of the Age of Discovery to the early 19th century. Atlantic history is split between three different contexts: trans-Atlantic history, meaning the international history of the Atlantic World; circum-Atlantic history, meaning the transnational history of the Atlantic World; and cis-Atlantic history within an Atlantic context. The Atlantic slave trade continued into the 19th century, but the international trade was largely outlawed in 1807 by Britain. Slavery ended in 1865 in the United States and in the 1880s in Brazil (1888) and Cuba (1886). While some scholars stress that the history of the "Atlantic World" culminates in the "Atlantic Revolutions" of the late 18th early 19th centuries, the most influential research in the field examines the slave trade and the study of slavery, thus in the late-19th century terminus as part of the transition from Atlantic history to globalization seems most appropriate.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of colonialism</span> Aspect of history

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Evolution of the Dutch Empire</span>

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Historiography of the British Empire</span> Studies and methods used by scholars to develop a history of Britains empire

The historiography of the British Empire refers to the studies, sources, critical methods and interpretations used by scholars to develop a history of the British Empire. Historians and their ideas are the main focus here; specific lands and historical dates and episodes are covered in the article on the British Empire. Scholars have long studied the Empire, looking at the causes for its formation, its relations to the French and other empires, and the kinds of people who became imperialists or anti-imperialists, together with their mindsets. The history of the breakdown of the Empire has attracted scholars of the histories of the United States, the British Raj, and the African colonies. John Darwin (2013) identifies four imperial goals: colonising, civilising, converting, and commerce.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">English overseas possessions</span> Territories ruled by Kingdom of England

The English overseas possessions, also known as the English colonial empire, comprised a variety of overseas territories that were colonised, conquered, or otherwise acquired by the former Kingdom of England during the centuries before the Acts of Union of 1707 between the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland created the Kingdom of Great Britain. The many English possessions then became the foundation of the British Empire and its fast-growing naval and mercantile power, which until then had yet to overtake those of the Dutch Republic, the Kingdom of Portugal, and the Crown of Castile.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">International relations (1814–1919)</span> Diplomacy and wars of six largest powers in the world

This article covers worldwide diplomacy and, more generally, the international relations of the great powers from 1814 to 1919. This era covers the period from the end of the Napoleonic Wars and the Congress of Vienna (1814–1815), to the end of the First World War and the Paris Peace Conference (1919–1920).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">European colonisation of Southeast Asia</span>

The first phase of European colonisation of Southeast Asia took place throughout the 16th and 17th centuries. Where new European powers competing to gain monopoly over the spice trade as this trade was very valuable to the Europeans due to high demand for various spices such as pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. This demand led to the arrival of Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, and later French and British marine spice traders. Fiercely competitive, the Europeans soon sought to eliminate each other by forcibly taking control of the production centres, trade hubs and vital strategic locations, beginning with the Portuguese acquisition of Malacca in 1511. Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, conquests focused on ports along the maritime routes, that provided a secure passage of maritime trade. It also allowed foreign rulers to levy taxes and control prices of the highly desired Southeast Asian commodities. By the 19th century, all of Southeast Asia had been forced into the various spheres of influence of European global players except Siam, which had served as a convenient buffer state and sandwiched between British Burma and French Indochina. The kings of Siam had to contend with repeated humiliations, accept unequal treaties among massive French and British political interference and territorial losses after the Franco-Siamese War in 1893 and the Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909.