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In antiquity, any of the new settlements established in territory conquered by the Greeks (8th–6th century BC), Alexander the Great (4th century BC), and the Romans (4th century BC–AD 2nd century). Greek colonies extended to Italy, Sicily, Spain, the eastern Mediterranean (including Egypt), and the Black Sea. Alexander pushed even farther into Central Asia, South Asia, and Egypt. Roman colonization covered much of the same area and regions south to northern Africa, west to Spain, and north to Britain and Germany. Reasons for colonizing included expansion of trade, acquisition of raw materials, resolution of political unrest or overpopulation, and craving for land and rewards. Colonies retained ties and loyalty to Rome, though rebelliousness was not uncommon. In Roman colonies after 177 BC, colonists retained Roman citizenship and could exercise full political rights. Ancient colonization spread Hellenic and Roman culture to the far reaches of the empires, often assimilating local populations, some of whom acquired Roman citizenship.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on colony, visit Britannica.com.