Colonization refers to the invasion, displacement, and subjugation of a group of people. This is the process by which, most historians agree, most countries, including the United States, were created. The US, for instance, in addition to taking lands from Indigenous peoples, colonized or conquered lands initially colonized by other countries, including Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Mariana Islands, and what are now called American Samoa and the US Virgin Islands. This acquisition of territory has had significant effects on immigration and population trends; per a 2019 Census Bureau estimate, for example, there are around 1.4 million people of Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander heritage in the US.
The term colonialism refers to the ongoing processes of power and control by one group over another group or territory, and is inextricably linked to the exploitation of colonized people.
There are many contemporary efforts to raise awareness of the effects of colonization around the world. In the US, for example, Columbus Day, which became a federal holiday in 1937, has begun to be celebrated as Indigenous Peoples’ Day by many locales, in part as an acknowledgment of the well-documented atrocities carried out by Christopher Columbus and those who followed him. As of 2021, 17 states, Washington DC, and more than 130 cities recognize some form of Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
- “What is Indigenous Peoples’ Day” (History.com)
- “Racial Equity Tools Glossary” (Racial Equity Tools)
- “Race, Class, and Colonialism” (Social and Economic Studies)
- Big Media’s Big Fail Over US Colonialism (Palabra)
Colonization is an invasion, displacement, and subjugation of a group of people, often the original or longstanding historical inhabitants of an area. The term colonialism refers to the ongoing processes of power and control by one group over another group or territory, and is inextricably linked to the exploitation of colonized people. There are many contemporary efforts to recognize the effects of colonization around the world, such as celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day rather than Columbus Day.