This interview was conducted by Javier Toro.
Josef Estermann is a Professor at the University of Lucerne. He is also the author of Más allá de occidente: Apuntes filosóficos sobre interculturalidad, descolonización and el Vivir Bien andino.
This translation has been automatically generated and has not been verified for accuracy.
Colonisation and imperialism have not been exclusively Western or European enterprises. They existed even before the Romans, for example in Greece, in China. The Greeks had colonies all over the Mediterranean and even reached the borders of India. The Chinese were not very colonialist but they were imperialist. The Romans, on the other hand, were very colonialist and also imperialist. From the Romans comes the word colony, which derives from the Latin word colere, meaning to till the soil. The city of Cologne in Germany is so called because it was declared a Roman colony under the name Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium, after the Empress Agrippina. It should also be noted that Arab colonisation was very important in the Middle Ages. Part of the Mediterranean, part of Europe and all of what is known today as the Middle East was conquered by the Arabs, by the Ottoman Empire. In what is known today as Latin America, the Incas were very imperialistic and colonialist. The Inca Empire came to occupy part of the current territories of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. The Incas conquered entire peoples and often colonised them, imposing their Quechua language and religion on them. In Mexico, the Mexica ethnic group, commonly known today as the Aztecs, was also imperialist and colonialist.
Colonialism is not the same as imperialism. Colonisation refers to the desire to occupy a certain territory in order to populate it, to cultivate the land, to exploit its natural resources. Imperialism refers to the conquest of a foreign territory in order to dominate it but without the desire to populate it.
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