Difference Between Imperialism and Colonialism

Imperialism and colonialism are terms that are often used in many ways, and perhaps for this very reason, they are often used interchangeably. They are concepts that can be somewhat difficult to define, however it is important to understand that they do not mean the same thing.  Difference Between Imperialism and Colonialism

If you have doubts about it, you no longer have to worry; because next we will tell you what is the difference between imperialism and colonialism.

IMPERIALISM  Difference Between Imperialism and Colonialism

Imperialism is defined as the policy or tendency of a nation to extend its control over other states. It is exercised politically, socially and economically.

The word imperialism derives from the Latin imperium (a term that has to do with power and order). Therefore, imperialism encompasses the military and political control that a powerful entity exercises over other subordinates and their territories.

The imperialist nations extend their control, power and their rules . They control the political and economic life of other nations.

The concept of imperialism is much broader than that of colonialism. It can be exercised formally, informally, directly or indirectly. Informal imperialism can be achieved by various methods, such as; by not allowing the weaker states to achieve or maintain their independence or by reducing their sovereignty.


Colonialism can be defined as a product of imperialism and is commonly associated with the formal control that a nation exercises over a weak State (colony), from which resources are exploited; that is, a nation takes over a territory or state and the resources it possesses.

Colonialism refers to the action of governing a territory. Unlike imperialism which is about extending control more and more.

When it is colonized, it is tried that the colony becomes dependent on who dominates it and the natives of said colony are subdued or displaced.

Colonization is one of the ways in which imperialism operates.

The term colonialism derives from the Latin word colonia (farm) and this one from colonus (cultivator). Colonization refers to the act in which a group of people settle or create settlements in a certain place or territory and subdue the natives of that place. This type of relationship can become a danger to the local population and their culture.

In colonialism, colonies are acquired and become dependent on the state that represents the center of power. The most important characteristic of colonization is exploitation and it can be carried out with or without direct political control. It is often associated with an act of economic domination over the resources of the colony.

Colonialism falls into the categories of formal control or direct control.

Finally, colonialism is adopted as one of the most effective ways to implement imperialism and while the latter is often seen as an ideology; colonialism is generally seen as the way to put the imperialist idea into practice.

Key differences between imperialism and colonialism

  • Imperialism is the policy or tendency of a nation to extend its dominance over other states, while colonialism can be considered as a product of imperialism and is associated with the formal control that a state exercises over its colony.
  • Imperialism can work without colonialism, while colonialism cannot exist without imperialism.
  • Imperialism is an idea, trend or policy; while colonialism is one of the products of imperialism.

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