A colony is a group of people established in a different place from where they came from. Likewise, we may be referring to a territory dominated by a foreign government.

A colony can then be, as a first meaning, a population that has moved from one territory to another. In this way, they make up a group with common characteristics.

For example, we can affirm that there is a colony of Venezuelans in Colombia. In this case, the transfer was due to a search for better economic conditions.

Usually, these types of colonies have been made up of individuals who have fled poverty or social conflict, or even a civil war.

However, it is worth clarifying that sometimes the receiving countries themselves have encouraged migration. For example, in Peru the government encouraged the arrival of European settlers in the mid-19th century. This, with the aim of populating certain areas of the jungle.

Colony as a dominated territory

Another meaning of colony is that territory dominated by a foreign country, which is usually a power called a metropolis.

This means that the colony is politically and economically dependent. In other words, it is not a sovereign territory, but must be accountable to an external government.

The establishment of the colonies, throughout history, has been possible many times thanks to the use of force or military occupation. In this way, an economic and political system is imposed, and even the religion and customs of the colonizer.

Thus, colonization gives rise to the subordination of the inhabitants of the dominated territory, usually exploiting its natural resources (such as minerals) in favor of the invader.

In that sense, we can remember the colonialism exercised by the European powers in American territory. This, from the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the new continent in 1492 and until the nineteenth century.

It should be noted that colonialism requires a formal structure. In the case of the Spanish colonies, for example, viceroyalties were created with a viceroy who appointed the crown. This ruled according to the interests of the dominant country.

Economies and colony

One fact to note is that, in general, the economy has been one of the key factors in establishing a colony. For example, as already mentioned, people who found a colony outside their place of origin do so on many occasions to improve their economic situation.

Likewise, the establishment of colonies, as European powers did in the past, has usually gone hand in hand with the exploitation of natural resources such as minerals.

Finally, the economy, according to some historians, has been a fundamental factor in the separation of the colonies from their metropolis. We can find as a key fact, for example, the Bourbon reforms in the 18th century. These meant a rise in taxes, which generated discontent in the population that could lead to the independence movements in the Spanish viceroyalties.

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