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Open Access Decolonization A brief history of the word

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Decolonization A brief history of the word

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Chapter Summary

The metaphor seems at first glance to be most appropriate, suggesting that decolonization was a force gathering from deep causes and bursting forth uncontrollably onto the international scene. The metaphor had timeliness about it, appearing in 1968 when the several European empires had been largely replaced by dozens of new nation-states. Like many globally-embracing terms, such as 'imperialism' and 'postcolonialism', 'decolonization' was seldom restricted in application to a particular political activity or a neatly defined era. Many authors, of whom David Gardinier is one, understood decolonization to be best defined as a process that began before the dramatic occurrences of which Delavignette wrote. International conferences of comparative decolonization were frequently organized - such as the one held in Amsterdam in 2003. Decolonization brought in its wake one of the most significant floods of immigrants, this in reverse flow of earlier European migratory patterns.

Keywords: Amsterdam; David Gardinier; decolonization; European empires; political change



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