Agency, Cooperation, and Oligarchy – The Origins of Colonialism
There were plenty of necessary conditions for successful European expansion and control. But the sufficient condition for success involves a combination of agency, cooperation and oligarchy. Colonialism is almost never the consequence of a master plan formulated by a particular government, but, as a rule, results from the initiative of individuals, such as explorers, merchants, missionaries – and bandits. Furthermore, for geographical, political and – last but not least – financial reasons colonial rulers had no choice but to recruit soldiers, administrators and servants from the indigenous population. Finally, in many cases, colonialism resulted in the combined domination of European and indigenous oligarchies at the expense of native subjects.