Christopher Columbus' discovery of the new world launched a process of economic and cultural integration that continues to this day. In the wake of Columbus's voyages, the major powers of Western Europe established imperial systems that shaped global politics and economics for centuries. The Historical Dictionary of European Imperialism is designed to provide a ready reference tool for students and scholars of these systems. Its major focus is the Spanish, Portuguese, British, Dutch, French, German, Belgian, and Italian empires during the past 500 years. The Dictionary offers brief descriptive essays on a variety of topics--colonies, prominent individuals, legislation, treaties, conferences, wars, revolutions, and technologies. The individuals included have a historical significance that transcends their own countries. Essays on individual colonies usually end with the winning of independence or formal incorporation into the body politic of the mother country. References at the end of each entry provide sources of additional information for those interested in further research. Cross-references within the text help the reader to find related items. Three appendixes provide a guide to contemporary languages in former colonial areas, a chronology of European imperialism, and a complete table of island systems in the world. This unique reference work will interest scholars and students of European imperialism and the reference librarians who assist them.