European colonisation o the Americas
European colonization often referred to as imperialism is a process which is said to have begun in 1492 when Christopher Columbus became the first European to leave a lasting impact or tangible records o his visit to the Americas. Columbus was not the first case of a European visiting the Americas but the voyages of Erik Raude (Erik the Red) and Leif Erikson to present-day Newfoundland are usually ignored because they left very little lasting impact. Spanish and Portuguese exploration of the Americas culminated with the conquests of Mexico City (Tenochtitlan) in 1521. When no living successors to the Aztec throne could be found, upon the death of Cuauhtemoc in 1524, the Spanish colony of New Spain or Mexico was held until 1810. Likewise, the Inca were conquered in 1530 by Francisco Pizarro. Brazil remained a Portuguese possession from 1500 until independence was declared in 1820. Simon Bolivar, known as the liberator, played a role in the nation building of Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Paraguay. In the Americas, Spain and Portugal played the dominant role in colonization for the Sixteenth, Seventeenth, and Eighteenth Centuries. Napoleon's attempt to conquer the European continent in the early Nineteenth Century led to the weakening of Spain and Portugal and also led to France asserting itself in the Americas with mixed success. Haiti was lost due to a slave revolt led by Toussaint L'Ouverture, and Napoleon sold Louisiana to the United States of America in 1803. The French-Speaking province of Quebec is today part of Canada. The British Empire abolished slavery in 1807. After boundaries were established in the Americas, European countries set their sights on Asia and Africa. Africa had played a role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, but the trade that dotted the West coast of Africa was not enough for some Europeans. Britain, France, Portugal, the Boers of South Africa, and later Germany and Italy colonized Africa. The exploration of Asia followed a similar trajectory. Britain claimed India, which was composed of 565 princely states, and the British Crown directly ruled it from 1857 to 1947. France claimed Indochina (today Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia). The Netherlands claimed Indonesia, and only Papua New Guinea (United Kingdom-Australia) and East Timor (Portugal) were the portions of the archipelago claimed by other nations. The final phase of European imperialism is usually considered to be after the end of the First World War, when Germany, Turkey, and Austria were stripped of their empires. Iraq, Palestine, and Jordan were British "mandates" while Lebanon and Syria were given over to French administration. Following World War II, the decolonization phase spanned 1945-1975, with Portugal being forced out of its "overseas" territories during the "dirty war" spanning 1974-1976. Hong Kong (UK) and Macau (Portugal) were returned to the People's Republic of China in the 1990s thus disbanding the last places which could be considered colonial enclaves. The end of imperialism is notable because it has changed the map of the world as much and arguably more than the fall of communism.