Colonialism (1763-1923)

Historical context

European nations have been colonizing various parts of the world for hundreds of years. England, France, the Netherlands, and Spain all claimed pieces of North America in the years before the United States gained independence. These countries, as well as Portugal, Italy, Germany and Belgium, carved up the continent of Africa in the 19th century, occupying lands of indigenous and African peoples. Western countries claimed land in Asia, Australia, the Middle East, and South America. Political boundaries changed with wars, treaties, and reclamation of land by original inhabitants.

Culturally relevant pedagogy considerations

A great deal of present conflicts worldwide can be better understood within the historical context of colonialism. But why colonialism? Take a moment to reflect deeply on the beliefs that form the foundation of colonialism and how conquest of this kind is made possible by those beliefs. Explicitly explore this concept with students as well and draw connections between the historical colonizations of the past and the long-term effects of colonization today. Allow students to examine the status quo and critique ways that individuals are impacted by colonization today. Some additional resources to learn more about the historical context of colonialism include the MIT Visualizing Cultures and Rethinking Globalization.

Classroom ready resources

Understanding Colonialism (Middle School)

An accurate map of North America

Date: 1763
Creator: Robert Sayer
Type: Map

A Plan of the city and harbor of Macao

Date: 1796
Creator: Benjamin Baker
Type: Map

My Home in Indian Territory

Date: 1879
Creator: Etahdleuh Doanmoe
Type: Book

Hawaii’s Ex-Queen files a protest

Date: 1897
Creator: Unknown
Type: Newspaper

Well, I hardly know which to take first!

Date: 1898
Creator: The Boston Globe
Type: Cartoon

When the War is Over

Date: 1900
Creator: Udo J. Keppler
Type: Cartoon

School days of an Indian girl

Date: 1900
Creator: Zitkala Sa
Type: Book


Date: 1908
Creator: Wells Missionary Map Co.
Type: Map

Group of Pueblo Indians photographed at the Capitol

Date: 1923
Creator: National Photo Co.
Type: Photograph


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