|A Perspective on Nordic Colonialism: Finns as Empire-builders in Southern Africa, 1895–1945|
|Colonialism has been mostly associated with Western overseas expansion, which culminated in the nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries when the most parts of the world were under at least nominal Western, particularly European, rule. However, colonial projects are by no means exclusively associated with the great Western powers even in nineteenth century. Furthermore, if colonial period in Europe is explored more closely, it turns out that even countries that never had overseas colonies, such as Finland, were involved in the colonial world sending out colonizers and producing images of colonial “others”. In Finland, the conventional image of a small, modern democratic nation-state does not fit well with the traditional image of European Great power colonialism in Africa or Asia. Yet Finland arguably had its own colonizers in Southern Africa. Could it be regarded as “colonialism”?
The paper discusses the content of Finnish colonial thought, their involvement in colonial practises and, finally, their limitations as colonialists. The author reveals that as a definite national group, Finns adapted ideologies and identities in Africa that cannot be disentangled that of colonialism. The paper further shows that immigrants easily adapted identity of coloniser despite their heterogeneous national backgrounds. The main question of the paper is whether one needs to own an empire in order to be an imperialist?|