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In history, Colonization refers to the process in which a foreign power, usually an economic and military power occupies a foreign territory, called a colony, away from its borders with the purpose to exploit its economic resources and dominate it politically, militarily and culturally.
The colonization of the world began by Europeans at the end of the 15th century. And first colonization began with the arrival of Christopher Columbus, under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs, in 1492, to the American continent.
The Spanish Empire and the Portuguese Empire were two European countries that were at the beginning of the colonization process, which was followed by the British Empire, France and the Netherlands in the 17th century.
Between the 16th and 20th centuries, European powers tried to control the rest of the world and all its wealth. They were successful in controlling large parts of America, Africa, Australia, and Asia. However, there were a few countries that were not subsumed by the western colonization giants:

The small country with a population of around 7.8 lakh located east of the Himalayan mountain range makes it difficult to invade. But the British attacked the country from 1772 to 1774 and defeated them in North Bengal and gained control of some insignificant areas of the Kingdom of Bhutan.

However, despite being defeated by the British army, Bhutan still managed to negotiate power. After it did not receive any help from Tibet, the Druk Desi, a regent of Bhutan, also known as Deb Raja in Western sources signed a Treaty of Peace with the British East India Company on April 25, 1774.

In return for withdrawing British troops, the Kingdom of Bhutan agreed to pay them 5 horses and give them permission to harvest timber in Bhutan. Despite this agreement, the two countries were in constant border conflict until 1947, when India gained independence and British forces withdrew from the area.

Thais often considered their nation as a land of freedom which was earlier known as the kingdom of Siam which was located between Indochina (now Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia) and Burma (now called Myanmar).
King Chulalongkorn, who is considered one of the greatest kings of Thailand, worked to adopt several European customs and became interested in European technology in an attempt to prevent colonization.

King Chulalongkorn also made diplomatic efforts in Britain. This minimized the possibility of colonization by Europe and France. Although Thailand escaped colonialism, but still adopted western ideas.

Japan is one of the few countries that has managed to resist European colonization. Instead, the country has established a strong presence in Taiwan, Korea, and southern Sakhalin.

The country was aware of the threat of Western invasion and in response initiated the political revolution called Meiji Restoration of 1868 that brought about the final demise of the military government Tokugawa shogunate who was ruling in Japan since 1603 and returned control of the country to direct imperial rule under Prince Mutsuhito.
This social and political reform prepared the country to successfully defeat the dynasty of China during the First Sino-Japanese War that marked the emergence of Japan as a major world power and demonstrated the weakness of the Chinese empire.

When Russia later attempted to invade, Japanese forces were ready and won the Russo-Japanese War of 1905. During World War II, the country took advantage of annexing Korea and Manchuria, also becoming a colonial power.

Saudi Arabia
The world’s most powerful nations Britain and Russia were interested in controlling Iran (then the Persian Empire) because of its strategic location that connected Asia to Europe. Russia managed to capture some of the northern areas of the Empire (present-day Turkmenistan, for example) in the 19th century. Similarly, British forces gained power in the eastern region of the Persian Empire, near present-day Pakistan.

During this time, the vast majority of Iran was under the rule of the Qajar dynasty, which had borrowed money from European banks. Unable to pay, the British and Russian governments reached an agreement that they would control and share the Persian revenue from various incomes. While the Persian Empire never agreed to this condition, it did prevent the country from being officially colonized.

China is sometimes called a partially dominated nation, especially in relation to certain Chinese territories under the control of foreign powers. However, no country has ever controlled the entire territory. During the European powers’ attempt to control the world, the Chinese Empire was not easy to conquer as it had a powerful army and government like the Ottoman Empire.

Its large size became an advantage, making it an elusive target for colonization. Britain and France, instead of gaining colonial rule, were able to gain some power over China through their imports and exports.
Their status as favoured nations grew during the First and Second Opium Wars from 1839 to 1842 and from 1856 to 1860.
Seeing the benefit of being a favoured nation, the United States, Russia, and Italy wanted the same status. Rather than being colonized, China’s coastal areas were divided between Western powers, causing the Qing dynasty to lose some but not all of its control.

Today the people of this country are struggling for their rights and lives since the Taliban took control. Afghanistan also caught the attention of foreign powers Great Britain and Russian forces like its neighbour the Persian Empire (now Iran) in the 19th century. Knowing that foreign power has eyes on their land this helped the Afghan army to conquer the British army in the First Anglo-Afghan War of 1839. Not so easily deterred, the British forces again attempted to take control of Afghanistan in the Second 1878-1880 Anglo-Afghan War and defeated Afghans and the British were able to negotiate control of the country’s foreign relations, while Afghanistan maintained internal control.

Ethiopia is one of the oldest countries in the world that managed to remain uncolonized by Europeans between 1880 and 1914 when European powers competed to invade and colonize the African continent.
At the end of the invasion period, about 90% of Africa was colonized by European nations. In 1888, Italian forces invaded the country and Ethiopian troops won a landslide victory over the Italian army in the First Italo-Ethiopian War of 1896 but they negotiated with Ethiopia and took over Eritrea. In 1935, under Mussolini’s supervision, the Italian forces again tried to invade and, this time succeeded in annexing Ethiopia and overthrew Emperor Haile Selassie.
It was not until 1941 when Emperor Selassie was restored to the Ethiopian throne.

It was in 1900 that Tonga became a British protectorate but still remained under full control of Tonga’s royal family and 33 of the noble families and never being colonized. Nevertheless, despite the presence of a foreign consul, the Tongan monarchy has always been in place. In 1970, the country gained its independence and became part of the Commonwealth, a political association of 54 member states, almost all of which are former territories of the British Empire.


From 1814 to 1816, the Nepalese military forces fought in the Anglo-Nepalese War that was also known as the Gorkha War between 1814 to 1816. However, the British East India Co. had larger troops manage to gain control of about 30% of Nepal’s territory. In this case, the geographical features of the country worked in their favour and the mountains impeded British passage.

Reluctant to face the rugged terrain, British forces left the rest of Nepal as an independent state, creating a border area for British India. Furthermore, the British Army was impressed by the military capabilities of the Gurkha troops and recruited them for the colonial army.


Protected by the United States, Liberia has always been sheltered from the influence of the great European powers. Nevertheless, it is quite legitimate to regard the Americans, who sent some 13,000 African Americans to Liberia, as the real colonizers of the country. A country was also founded in 1981 by the American Colonization Society. This explains why other nations were not interested in it and why the natives viewed with a dim view this massive arrival which rhymed with the birth of a state.

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