It has always been a matter of debate whether newly conquered areas with different races and cultures can be counted as colonies. In history, Russia’s colonization of Central Asia, Siberia and North America, the westward movement of the United States, the colonization of Eastern Europe by the Teutonic Knights, and the conquest of areas around the Central Plains (such as Baiyue, Central Asia, Mongolia and Tibet) by some ancient Chinese dynasties all had the nature of conquering colonies. Some historians also count these conquests of New Territories as colonial movements. However, some historians believe that these regions should not be counted as colonies because they evolved over time into new provinces (or states) with the same status as other administrative divisions of the suzerainty and adopted the language, culture, and ideology of the suzerainty.
A compromise view is that the conquest itself is regarded as an act of colonization, but that the period of colonization of the conquered area ends when it joins the suzerainty as an entity on the same footing as other political entities of the suzerainty, such as provinces and states, and its inhabitants enjoy full political rights equal to those of the citizens of the suzerainty. Take the history of the United States as an example, from the time the New Territories in the West came under U.S. rule to the period when the territory joined the Union as a state, which can be considered the colonial period of the area (e.g. Alaska from 1867 to 1959). In history, the vassal relationship of China’s neighboring countries was also different from the relationship between colonies and suzerainty, because these countries practiced internal political autonomy and were completely independent economically and militarily. In fact, this relationship is similar to that of the German states in the early Holy Roman Empire with the emperors, and of the Catholic states of Europe before the Reformation.
The second controversial issue is the distinction between overseas territories and colonies. Some small colonies (mostly islands) that were originally desolate and uninhabited areas, whose inhabitants were immigrants from the suzerainty, enjoyed full and full political rights, shared the same culture with the suzerainty, identified with the suzerainty, or were too desolate to have a permanent population, could not be counted as colonies. To be specific, examples include the Falkland Islands, St Helena, Tristan da Cunha in the UK, and Bouvet in Norway. Some of the overseas provinces of France, although ethnically different from the French mainland, also have a strong sense of French culture and do not want to be independent.
In contrast, if a colony is classified as an “overseas territory” or an “overseas province”, but its inhabitants do not, for reasons of color, race, creed, etc., enjoy full political rights equal to those of the citizens of the suerogenous country, the territory is still treated as a colony. The most famous example in this regard is that after Portugal declared Angola, Mozambique and other African colonies as “overseas provinces” in the 1950s, most countries in the world did not recognize these areas as non-colonial areas because the local blacks could not enjoy full civil rights. Similarly, after Ian Smith declared the independence of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) on November 11, 1965, the political status of black people in the country was still the same as before independence. Therefore, except for a few countries such as South Africa and Portugal, no countries in the world, including Britain, recognized Rhodesia as an independent country. The British also introduced the principle known as “NIBMAR”, that “No Independence Before Majority African Rule”.
As a reference point, the UN Special Committee on Decolonization’s list of “Non-Self-Governing Territories” includes only French New Caledonia, where there is an indigenous independence movement, and excludes the French overseas provinces such as Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guiana. Puerto Rico and Greenland were also not added to the list because of their high degree of internal self-government.
No nation can lay claim to or colonize Antarctica.

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