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Colonialism and The City

Last updated date: 02nd Mar 2024
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What is Colonialism?

“Control by one power over a dependent territory or people” is how colonialism is characterised. In actuality, colonialism occurs when one country invades and conquers another, claims the territory as its own, and sends people to reside there as "settlers." 

Even though the phrases colonialism and imperialism are sometimes used interchangeably, they are not synonymous. Imperialism is described as a collection of policies or practices that extend a country's influence and control over other countries' political, economic, and cultural lives. Imperialism may be defined as the philosophy or reasoning that underpins colonial efforts. 

Types of Colonialism

The various types of colonialism are given below:

Settler Colonialism

Settler colonialism is characterised by large-scale immigration for religious, political, or economic reasons. Its primary goal is to supplant any existing population. A huge number of individuals emigrate to the colony to remain and farm the land. Settler-colonial societies include Australia, Canada, the United States, apartheid South Africa (and, to a lesser extent, Israel).

Settler Colonialism

Exploitation Colonialism

This type of colonialism, also known as Planter colonialism or Extractive colonialism, employs fewer colonists and focuses on extracting natural resources or labour for the benefit of the metropole. This category covers trade stations as well as bigger colonies with colonists serving as the majority of the political and economic leadership. When indigenous labour was unavailable before the end of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and broad abolition, slaves were frequently transported to the Americas, first by the Portuguese, then by the Spanish, Dutch, French, and British.

Exploitation Colonialism

Surrogate Colonialism

Surrogate colonialism refers to a colonial authority's assistance for a settlement project in which the majority of the settlers are not from the same ethnic group as the governing power.

Surrogate Colonialism

Internal Colonialism

Internal colonialism is the concept of unequal structural power distribution within a state. The cause of exploitation is the state itself. Control and exploitation may transfer from people in the colonising nation to an immigrant population inside a newly independent country, as evidenced by the way control and exploitation may people from the colonising country are transferred to an immigrant population of a newly independent country.

Internal Colonialism

National Colonialism

National colonialism is a combination of settler and domestic colonialism in which nation-building and colonisation are inextricably linked, with the colonial authority attempting to reconstruct conquered peoples in their own cultural and political image. The objective is to integrate them into society, but only in the sense that they represent the state's favoured culture. The Republic of China in Taiwan is the quintessential national-colonialist state.

National Colonialism

Trade Colonialism

Controlling the colony's commercial connections is the emphasis of Trade Colonialism. The British commercial coercion in China during the 1842 Opium war, which forced the opening of more ports for international commerce, is an excellent example of trade colonialism.

Trade Colonialism

How Colonialism Shaped the World?

It's easy to dismiss colonialism as a relic of the past, but we all live in a society influenced by the cruel and violent conquests of the past. The theft of land, resources, and people from former colonies is responsible for the wealth and success of what was once the world's most powerful colonial powers.

According to Walter Rodney's book How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, the continent's systemic poverty can be traced back to European colonialism and resource extraction. In exchange for gaining independence from France, Haiti was forced to pay $21 billion in reparations to France to offset the cost of France's losses during the Haitian Revolution. The cost of lost slaves was factored into this estimate. Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, paid France its final bill in 1947. 

Native reservations in the United States have extremely high rates of poverty, alcoholism, unemployment, and suicide. These are the consequences of historical trauma, as defined by Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart, a social worker and professor: intergenerational emotional and psychological harm. 

The brutality of colonial thought continues to affect the paths of former conquerors. Colonizers thought the world was theirs to take, that Black, Indigenous, and other people of colour were disposable and that nothing was more important than the money in their pockets. The world's wealthiest countries continue to monopolise the planet's resources, and their never-ending drive for profit continues to take precedence over the needs of the majority of people.

Indian City under Colonialism

During the British administration in India, the presidential cities were Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras. As a result, the British centred their control on these three states. When the centres moved to India's presidency states, all of the commercial routes began to decline. As a result of the regional dominance, local traders and markets disappeared. As a result, de-urbanisation occurs.

Delhi, the capital of India was formerly known as the Delhi Sultanate and was the seat of several powerful dynasties. During the Mahabharata era, Delhi was known as "the city of God Indra." Great emperors such as King Ashoka and King Kumar Gupta built important buildings in this city. As a result, Delhi has a lot of important infrastructures.

On its land, Delhi has around 15 settlements and has undergone various changes. Surajkund, Siri, Indraprastha, Lalkot, Tughulqabad, Jahapanana, Firozabad, Dinpanah, Shahjahanabad, and New Delhi were among the settlements on this territory. Delhi is the capital of our country since it is home to numerous towns.

The Story of an Imperial Capital - Delhi

  • On the left bank of the river Jamuna, which is now known as Delhi, about 14 capital cities were established.

  • Shahjahanabad, founded by Shah Jahan I in 1639, was the most magnificent and well-known of the 14 cities. 

  • The Red Fort, also known as the Lal Quila, was a royal complex in Shahjahanabad. 

  • The city's main roadways, Chandni Chowk and Faiz Bazaar went through the heart of the city, and the great Jama Masjid, India's biggest mosque, was located there. 

  • A mohalla is a neighbourhood in a town or city. 

  • During Shah Jahan's reign, Delhi was also a centre of Sufi culture. 

  • It had several Sufi lodges known as Khanqahs, open prayer sites known as Idgahs, and Sufi saints' tombs known as dargahs. 

Delhi City

  • In Delhi, there was a clear divide between the rich and the poor. 

  • Under British control, Delhi did not have the status of a major city at first. 

  • The presidential cities of Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras gained significance in the 18th century. 

  • Under British rule, trade shifted to the presidency cities, which grew in importance, while smaller cities, ancient ports, and commercial centres collapsed.

  • The British defeated local rulers and established new administrative centres, causing the previous regional power centres to crumble. 

  • By the early twentieth century, just 11% of the Indian population lived in cities. 

  • When it was named the capital of British India in 1911, Delhi earned even greater prominence in modern times.


Thus, in this article we have covered Colonialism and its various types, about its role in the world as well as on Delhi which was part of British India. The colonial power is seen as seeking to rebuild conquered peoples in their own cultural and political image. They used to exercise their control in all terms in another country such as economically, culturally and politically. 

FAQs on Colonialism and The City

1. What are colonialism and the city?

Colonialism is the taking over of a nation by another and utilizing its resources and riches for the advantage of its own country. Many previous superpowers came to India and made India their colony. The most prominent colonial power of India was the Britishers who came to India for trade and then exploited the country for their economic benefits. 

2. Why is the British period called Colonial?

The British period in India is known as colonial because a colonial period is a period in a country's history when it was governed by a colonial power. A colonial power is said to be a country who wants to control the affairs of the other country for its own economic benefits. In simple terms, one country exploits the other for economic gain.

3. Which year did Delhi became India's capital?

  1. 1990

  2. 1910

  3. 1911

  4. 1917

1911 ( c. )

Explanation: The capital of India was relocated from Calcutta to Delhi when the Partition of Bengal was reversed in 1911. In Delhi, a Grand Durbar was held. In the year of 1911, George V attended the Delhi Durbar. Hence the year 1911 is the correct answer.

4. Which of the following was the summer capital of the Government of India from 1865 until 1939?

  1. Ooty

  2. Shimla

  3. Banglore

  4. Delhi

Shimla (b.)

Explanation: Shimla (summer) is the capital of the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. After winning the Gurkha War, the British constructed Shimla. From 1865 to 1939, the city served as the summer headquarters of the British administration in India, because of its scenic beauty. Hence Shimla is the correct answer.