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Colonial legacy

Norman B. Leventhal Map Center

Home > Root causes > Legacy of colonialism

For centuries, the influence of colonialism has altered the risk landscape of countries across the globe, either by maintained forms of marginalization, reinforcing elitist systems or supporting exploitative practices that intensify poverty and income inequality or degrade the local environment.

Notably, colonialism continues to take place under new forms, hidden in international policies, aid programs, or indirect interventions in the international economy and politics, among other expressions of neocolonialist power.

Identifying and acknowledging the impacts of colonialism and neocolonial power structures is the first step to dismantling these systems that reinforce and support systemic inequalities across the globe.

Related Disasters


On 14 August 2021, Haiti was hit by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake with an epicentre in the Canal du Sud (120 km west of the capital, Port-au-Prince). The earthquake killed over 2,200 people and injured more than 12,000.

Southern Madagascar’s worst drought in 40 years led to severe stress on vegetation, triggering a drastic decline in rice, maize and cassava production. By December 2021, more than 1.6 million people were estimated to have been suffering high levels of food insecurity.