Which Countries Still Have Colonies?

Which Countries Still Have Colonies?


In 1960, the United Nations called for independence
for all colonial countries. Yet, as of 2015, 17 regions around the world remain colonies,
also known as “Non-Self-Governing-Territories”. So where are there still colonies? Well, to start, a colony, is typically a distant
country or area, controlled and protected by another country. However, there can be
subtle legal distinctions between colonies, and similarly controlled territories – like
“commonwealths”, or “special administrative regions”. Distinctions are based on levels
of autonomy-from, or dependence-on “parent” countries. For instance, because they are
said to be more autonomous, the UN doesn’t classify places like Puerto Rico and Macau
as “colonies”. Though, they have a colonial past. Colonization has been practiced by all major
nations for centuries. However, a bulk of territory was acquired during a long period
of expansion following the 15th century “Age of Discovery”.  England was especially
prolific, and their colonies could be found on every continent. France also owned many
territories, especially in Africa. Spain claimed much of the Americas. And Portugal, Italy,
and the Netherlands also had several colonies between them. The United States acquired numerous
Pacific Island nations later in the 1800s. But after World War 2, the practice of colonization
was brought into question, and human rights became a larger issue. When the UN was formed
in 1945, its purpose statement included a commitment to respect “equal rights and
self-determination of peoples”. At the time, nearly a third of the world, or 750 million
people were residents in colonies. And often, they weren’t given adequate representation
in “parent” countries’ governments. According to the UN, the world’s remaining
colonies are now presided over by the United Kingdom, the United States, France, New Zealand,
and a few other disputed powers. Currently, the most populous colonies are: Western Sahara,
with half a million people, and French Polynesia and New Caledonia, both with about a quarter
of a million people.   Western Sahara, called the “Last African
Colony”, was a Spanish territory until 1976. But even after Spain relinquished the colony,
it’s been occupied by their northern neighbor, Morocco. Western Sahara has never been able
to establish complete independence for itself. French Polynesia and New Caledonia are both
islands colonized by France during the late 19th century. They are located near Australia
in the Pacific Ocean, and they are also called “collectivities” of France. Complete decolonization will probably be a
long process, even as the United Nations continues to petition for full sovereignty among all
countries. A continued dialogue between colonial territories is needed, and a strong commitment
to appropriate representation of local populations. One former colony has a very unique relationship
with it’s native people… Australia. You can watch that video next, by clicking the
link in the description! Thanks for joining us on TestTube News! We’ll see you next
time.

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