The English, The Dutch, The French, The Spanish, The Portuguese. Western Colonization History. Western Colonization, Colonization of India, Colonization of Africa, Colonization of Japan, Colonization of Asia. Find out how colonization happened. Colonialism, Western, a political-economic phenomenon whereby various European nations explored, conquered, settled, and exploited large areas of the world. The age of modern colonialism began about 1500, following the European discoveries of a sea route around Africa’s southern coast (1488) and of America (1492). With these events sea power shifted from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic and to the emerging nation-states of Portugal, Spain, the Dutch Republic, France, and England. By discovery, conquest, and settlement, these nations expanded and colonized throughout the world, spreading European institutions and culture.