Called by some ‘colonialism’ – a mistake – imperialism is a term frequently abused by being used pejoratively by politicians and journalists. For historians, the word can be applied to numerous epochs, in each of which there may be detected a shade of difference, always significant.
Persia, Macedonia, Ottoman Turkey, Spain, France, Soviet Russia and Britain have extended their respective domain over other societies at different times, giving way to imperial rule. Germany has attempted to rule over others, using force. Britain used commercial enterprise backed by a powerful navy. Spain used a powerful navy backed by the immense courage of the conquistadores. Persia used vast resources and her armies, while Alexander’s Macedonia used the outstanding personality and popularity of its leader to create an empire.