This is a short description of the term.

Colonization is one of the two possible results of Imperialism. As a term it began its existence in the 16th century. It derives from the Greek concept of colony as the movement and settlement of people from one country or area to another. The distinctive feature of this was that immigrants intended to establish societies as similar as possible to those they had left behind. They had no primary concern with the indigenous people they found overseas.

As a result most settlements were founded where indigenous people were relatively few or weak. This was so there would be room for the settlements and it would be relatively easy to defend them. Examples of this of this would English settlers in North America and Portuguese settlers in Angola and Mozambique. Often these European communities would import an additional labour force from non-European countries. Although Britain abolished slavery in 1833 and most other European states had done so by 1870 the need for labour continued. It was met by bringing a technically free labour force for a specified time under contract (mainly from Asia). So because of this thus a key feature of most settlement colonies was a complex and diverse ethnic mix. Over time a substantial dilution of ethnic peculiarities occurred.

The distinction between this earlier phase of colonization was the successful transformation of a non-European into a fundamentally European country. However there were failures on the margins such as Algeria, Angola, Kenya and Zimbabwe. It is also important to remember that not only was the old culture replaced and dominated, but often the indigenous population (for example in Australia and the USA) faced a disastrous decline in its population.