What countries did the United States colonize?

Question:

What countries did the United States colonize?

The Unofficial American Empire:

By the late 19th century, the United States had grown economically, politically, and geographically at an extraordinary rate. As the United States became more involved in international affairs, the country had to ask whether a nation of former colonies could hold colonies of its own.

Answer and Explanation:

In its history, the United States has held a number of overseas territories. Officially, these are not colonies, but rather colony-like possessions.

Following the Spanish-American War, the Spanish colonies of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines were given to the United States in a transfer of colonial authority. Puerto Rico and Guam are still American territories today. Also included in the list of current territories that are associated with America: the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa, as well as the Marshall Islands, Palau, and the Federated States of Micronesia (all of which are technically associated states and not full American possessions). In the past, the United States also occupied parts of Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Panama, and American citizens founded a colony in Africa called Liberia (today an independent nation).

America's history with colonial possessions is tricky, and these territories weren't generally understood as colonies. Where we see the most direct experiences with true colonialism, perhaps, is in the country's expansion west. As the United States expanded westward, it directly seized territory from other nations and then transformed it into American space by transporting American people, institutions, and even agricultural systems. In some cases, the nations that lost land to America were formal countries.

After the Texas Revolution, Mexico lost Texas as General Santa Anna was captured and signed a treaty with the Texas president. The United Kingdom, United States, and France recognized Texas as an independent nation, though Mexico refused to do so. Most Texans wanted to become part of the United States and in 1845 the Republic of Texas as admitted to the Union. In May of 1846, Mexican troops invaded Texas and attacked American soldiers. Four days later on May 12, Congress declared war on Mexico. In 1848, Mexico lost further territory—California, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and parts of Colorado—as a result of losing the Mexican-American War.

Most American colonization of the West was at the expense of Native American nations. Through warfare and dubious treaties, the United States restricted the territory of Native Americans and transformed that land into American soil.

American imperialism took on a different form than European imperialism, but it was imperialism, nonetheless. The territories that America acquired were, in many instances, colonies of other nations themselves, i.e. purchasing Alaska from Russia, obtaining the Philippines after the Spanish-American War, etc.


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American Imperialism Around the Globe

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Chapter 11 / Lesson 1
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Imperialism is the general expansion of a nation, accompanied by the exertion of power over other nations in the process. Learn the pattern of American imperialism demonstrated in westward expansion, overseas expansion, and the use of economic and cultural imperialism through capitalist ventures.


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