In their heyday, what countries did they own or control?

During their heyday, European colonial powers controlled vast territories around the world. Here's a brief overview of the major colonial empires and the regions they controlled:

  1. Spanish Empire:
    • The Americas: Large parts of North, Central, and South America, including present-day Mexico, Peru, Colombia, and much of the modern-day United States.
    • The Philippines
    • Parts of the Caribbean, including Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic.
  2. Portuguese Empire:
    • Brazil (the largest portion of South America)
    • Parts of Africa, including Angola, Mozambique, and parts of present-day Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde.
    • Coastal regions of India, including Goa.
    • Territories in Southeast Asia, such as Timor and Macau.
  3. British Empire:
    • Large parts of North America, including the Thirteen Colonies (later the United States), Canada, and the Caribbean islands.
    • India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh.
    • Australia, New Zealand, and various Pacific Islands.
    • Parts of Africa, including Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa.
    • Territories in the Middle East, including Palestine and Iraq.
  4. French Empire:
    • Canada and parts of the Mississippi Valley in North America.
    • Large parts of Africa, including Algeria, Senegal, and Ivory Coast.
    • Indochina (Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos).
    • Territories in the Caribbean, such as Haiti and Guadeloupe.
  5. Dutch Empire:
    • Indonesia, which was one of the largest and most valuable colonies in the world.
    • Parts of the Caribbean, including Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles.
    • New Amsterdam (later New York) and surrounding areas in North America.
  6. Russian Empire:
    • Vast territories in eastern Europe, Asia, and North America, including present-day Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Siberia, Alaska, and parts of California.
  7. German Empire:
    • For a relatively short period, Germany established colonies in Africa (such as German East Africa, Togo, and Namibia) and the Pacific (such as German New Guinea and Samoa).
  8. Italian Empire:
    • Italy's colonial possessions were relatively small compared to other European powers. They included parts of Africa, such as Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia.

These colonial empires exerted significant influence over the regions they controlled, impacting local cultures, economies, and political structures. The process of decolonization in the 20th century led to the eventual independence of many of these territories.