Puritan Colonists

Colonialism - Puritan Colonists

This article on  Colonialism provides a full history timeline detailing the  facts and information about famous people, important events and key dates via this fast access to history via Colonialism.

  • What was Colonialism? The Meaning and Definition of Colonialism
  • The combination of Colonialism with Imperialism, Protectionism and Mercantilism in North America
  • The effect of Colonialism in America
  • British Colonialism in North America,  suitable as an educational Social Studies resource for schools and kids
MercantilismFirst 13 Colonies
American Colonies IndexColonization, Trade & Colonialism

History of trade, plantations, colonialism and colonization in the 13 Colonies

Colonialism: Triangular Trade, Mercantilism, Trade, Industries and Plantations

The Meaning and Definition of Colonialism: Colonialism can be defined as the exploitation by a stronger country of weaker one. Colonialism is the use of the weaker country's resources to strengthen and enrich the 'mother country'. The word 'Colonialism' derives from the Latin word
'colonus' meaning farmer. Colonialism involves the transfer of a population to a colony in new lands or  territories.

The Process of Colonialism
The process of Colonialism is achieved by the transfer of people to a new territory who live as permanent settlers, or colonists, taking advantage of the resources whilst maintaining political allegiance to their country of origin. The Colonialism of America was made possible by advancements in new discoveries, new maps and navigation technology enabling ships to make the 3000 mile voyage to America to take people to the New World. The American colonists considered themselves citizens of the 'Mother Country'.

Colonialism combined with other Policies
Implementing the policy of Colonialism and expansion in America combined with the concepts of the political and economic theories of imperialism,  mercantilism and protectionism brought huge financial benefits to the Europeans. The later emergence of the policy of capitalism brought wealth to the Americans.


Picture of a Puritan Girl

Colonialism - Puritan Girl


Colonialism of North America (Expansion)
The process of exercising the policy of Colonialism was undertaken by the major powers of the era in Europe to achieve their aims for global expansion, power and dominance. By following policies of colonialism enabled the countries of Europe to benefit from the different climates and natural resources of American lands leading to the:

  • British Colonialism of America
  • French Colonialism
  • Spanish Colonialism
  • Dutch, German and Swedish Colonialism

Spain, and to some extent France, were also motivated by their desire to convert the Native American Indians, to Christianity and the Roman Catholic religion

Colonialism and Imperialism (Dominance by the 'Mother Country')
In the early 1600's South America was largely controlled by Spain or Portugal, but the lands of North America were mostly unclaimed. England and France wanted to follow the lead of Spain and expand their own empires in the New World. Establishing colonies in America provided new lands and new trading opportunities enabling them to extend their political policy of Imperialism. What is the meaning and definition of Imperialism?

  • Meaning and Definition of Imperialism: Imperialism is the policy and practice of seeking to extend the control of a distant nation or territory. The practice of Imperialism involves uniting the different territories of an empire with their own governments that adhered to the dominance of the 'mother country'. The word 'Imperialism' derives from the Latin word 'imperium' meaning to command.

What is the difference between Colonialism and Imperialism? Both involve exploiting a weaker country's resources to strengthen and enrich the 'mother country'. Colonialism usually involves the transfer of a population to a colony in new lands whereas Imperialism can be enforced by exercising military power to enforce the dominance of the 'mother country'.

John Hawkins Slave Ship

Colonialism and Nationalism - (Pride in Achievements)
Nationalism, or pride in one’s country, contributed to the growth of colonialism and imperialism. Citizens were proud of the accomplishments of their country which included taking over foreign lands and territories. As European nations became competitive with one another, there was an increased pressure to practice Imperialism in order to maintain a balance of power in Europe.

Colonialism and Mercantilism (Controlling Trade)
The discovery and colonization of America propelled foreign trade and increased the volume of merchant activity and profits. The purpose of the American colonies was to supply raw materials and serve as a market for the finished goods made in the 'mother country'. The combined policies of Colonialism and Mercantilism enabled the Europeans to create and maintain wealth in America by carefully controlling new and highly lucrative trade opportunities. What is the meaning and definition of Mercantilism?

  • Meaning and Definition of Mercantilism: Mercantilism, or the mercantile system, was an economic policy designed to increase the wealth of the 'mother country' by government regulation of all of the its commercial interests in America

Colonialism, Mercantilism and Protectionism (Protecting Profits)
The policy of Mercantilism favored the 'mother country' because the raw materials from the colonies were used to make the higher value finished goods in the mother country. The policy of Mercantilism is often coupled with another economic policy called Protectionism in which the ruling government protects their interests in their colonies by restricting trade with any other countries and by applying taxes and quotas that encouraged exports but discouraged imports. Great Britain adopted the policy of Protectionism with Colonial America that was designed to protect British workers and British businesses to the detriment of the colonists.  The colonists were not allowed to compete with industries in England or or take jobs away.

The combined British policies of Colonialism, Mercantilism and Protectionism enabled the British to restrict trade by Americans by enforcing laws such as the Navigation Acts the Hat Act and the Iron Act. The dominant British then imposed new taxes in America including the Stamp Act, Townshend Acts and the Tea Act.

Colonialism and Triangular Trade Routes
Implementing the policy of Colonialism and expansion in America combined with the policies of Imperialism, Mercantilism and Protectionism brought huge financial benefits to Great Britain. Profits were boosted even more by the transatlantic Triangular Trade routes that involved three journeys each that realized a large profit and a full cargo. The triangular trade routes were pivotal to the practise of Mercantilism and Colonialism by which colonies had one main purpose: to enrich the 'mother country'.

Triangular Trade Route Map

Colonialism - Triangular Trade Route Map

Colonialism and Capitalism
Lucrative trade opportunities in America led to the growth of capitalism in the 1800's, the investment of money to make a profit. What is the meaning and definition of Capitalism?

  • Meaning and Definition of Capitalism: Capitalism is an economic system based on private investment ownership and free enterprise in which individual entrepreneurs can create new industries and amass wealth

The economic system of capitalism, contrasted to state-owned means of wealth, hugely benefited the Americans following their independence from Great Britain following the Revolutionary War.


The Effects of Colonialism in America - The Colonists Struggle for Independence

The British policy of colonialism in and its other political and economic policies in America sparked the change of attitude towards the 'mother country' and a struggle for independence by the colonists and settlers.

The colonists were made to feel like second-class citizens and their views and wishes ignored by the mother country. The American colonists resented their exploitation by the 'mother country'. American colonists had taken huge risks by emigrating to America, leaving their homes and country for an unknown and dangerous new life in the colonies. Colonists were looking for religious freedom and new opportunities devoid of the class systems they had left in their 'mother country'.

Their loyalty and ties to the 'mother country' decreased leading to a quest for equality which led to the American War of Independence in 1775 and the establishment of the United States of America. The other effects of colonialism in America were far from positive...

Sons of Libert - Effects of American Colonialism


  • Interesting Facts and information about Colonialism in North America

  • Colonialism, Imperialism, Protectionism and Mercantilism in North America

  • Fast Facts and info about Colonialism

  • Colonialism a great history resource for kids

  • Social Studies Homework help for kids on Colonialism

The Effects of Colonialism in America - Death and Disease
The process of colonialism involving the appearance of white colonists, settlers and traders brought not only new cultures but also new diseases to America. The Native American Indians had no resistance to these diseases which included typhoid, cholera, yellow fever, smallpox, measles, whooping cough and influenza. A direct result of the colonialism in America lead to the indigenous population of Native Americans falling from 80 million to under 1 million in less than 500 years.

The Effects of Colonialism in America - Indigenous Cultures Destroyed

The process of colonialism resulted in European settlement and political, military and economic control of the indigenous population.

The Native American Indians and the Europeans were literally from different worlds - neither understanding the culture of the other. Under these circumstances a culture clash was inevitable leading to wars and conflicts.

The beliefs, customs, languages, behaviour and way of life of the Native Americans were totally undermined and were gradually eroded.

The lands and territories of Native American Indians were taken and the indigenous people of the vast continent of North America were subjugated by the British and European process of colonialism.

The Effects of Colonialism in America - Wars and Conflicts
The massive influx of European colonists led to increased tension and hostilities between the Europeans and with the Native American Indians. The 75 year French and Indian War was fought by the French and British, with their Indian allies, for dominance in America. The various Indian Wars, fuelled by the colonists and settlers, sparked bloody wars and conflicts with Indian tribes for control of North American lands.

The Effects of Colonialism in America - Slavery
The colonies established in America began running out of the labor which they needed to exploit the wealth of their new territories.  Highly lucrative crops such as sugar, tobacco, rice and cotton exploited the opportunities of the Triangular trade routes and saw the expansion of the system of Slave plantations.

Slave Auction 

Colonialism - Slave Auction

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