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The history of the European expansion overseas 1400-present


Course objectives

European overseas expansion did not only drastically affect the non-western world and the globalisation process of trade, politics and culture. The history of North and South America is marked by the immigration of many millions of Europeans. In Africa and Asia such large scale migration was absent, but Europe influenced local societies through its colonial administrations. Now that Europe is drawn back once again within its geographic boundaries, it is possible to assess the implications of the phenomenon ‘European expansion’ at large. In these lectures we will try to answer to answer the follow questions (among others): what formed the basis of the European Expansion? What were the characteristics of the expansion under the large trading companies VOC, WIC and EIC? In what way did the 19th century imperialism differ from the early modern period of expansion? What did the process of modernization look like in the new colonial states? And nationalism? Why did the European states retreat in such great haste from their overseas territories after the Second World War? How did this affect post-war developments?


Semester 1, see here

Mode of instruction

Lecture course

Assessment method

Written exam



Reading list

To be announced


Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply

Contact information

E-mail: Prof.dr. J.L. Blussé