The European Age of Exploration that began in the 16th century led, for good and ill, to the subjugation of less technologically advanced peoples as European colonies. Many, but not all, of the countries of Asia have been part of European empires, often Dutch and British. (France played a similar role in the Middle East; Belgium in Africa; Portugal and Spain in North and South America.) One consequence of World War II was the rapid shedding of empire in the late 1940s, climaxing globally in the 1960s.

See Imperialism, Third World.

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