The word "colony" comes from the Latin word colōnia. This in turn derives from the word colōnus, which means colonist but also implies a farmer. Cologne is an example of a settlement preserving this etymology. Other, less obvious settlements that began as Roman colonia include cities from Belgrade to York. A tell-tale sign of a settlement once being a Roman Colony is a city centre with a grid pattern. The terminology is taken from architectural analogy, where a column pillar is beneath the (often stylized) head capital, which is also a biological analog of the body as subservient beneath the controlling head (with 'capital' coming from the Latin caput, meaning 'head'). So colonies are not independently self-controlled, but rather are controlled from a separate entity that serves the capital function.
Roman colonies first appeared when the Romans conquered neighbouring Italic peoples. These were small farming settlements that appeared when the Romans had subdued an enemy in war. A colony could take many forms, as a trade outpost or a military base in enemy territory. Its original definition as a settlement created by people migrating from a central region to an outlying one became the modern definition.
Colonies in ancient civilizations (examples)
Alaska: a colony of Russia from the middle 18th century until sold to the United States in 1867. Became the 49th state in 1959.
Angola: a colony of Portugal since the 15th century. Independent since 1975.
Australia: In 1770 some of the eastern coastline of Australia was claimed as British territory by the British explorer, Lieutenant James Cook. The First Fleet was sent to Australia to start a penal colony in 1788. Eventually, Australia became a Federation in 1901.
Barbados: was a colony of the British Empire important in the Atlantic slave trade. It gained its independence in 1966.
Brazil: a colony of Portugal since the 15th century. Independent since 1822.
Malta was a British protectorate and later a colony from the French Revolutionary Wars in 1800 to independence in 1964.
Mozambique: a colony of Portugal since the 15th century. Independent since 1975.
Philippines, previously a colony of Spain from 1521 to 1898 as part of the Spanish East Indies, was a colony of the United States from 1898 to 1946. Achieved Commonwealth status in 1935. During World War II between 1942 and 1945, it was occupied by the Japanese forces. Its independence was recognized in 1946.
Taiwan had a Dutch colony (1624–1662) centered around present-day Tainan; shortly afterwards, a Spanish colony (1626–1642) was established concurrently in northern Taiwan, not far from present-day Taipei.Chinese colonial rule was established when Han Chinese forces loyal to the Ming Dynasty defeated the Dutch in 1662. The Ming loyalists later surrendered Taiwan to the Qing Dynasty, which annexed Taiwan into Chinese territory, making it part of Fujian province, and later making it a province in its own right. Qing dynasty rule ended after the First Sino-Japanese War when the Qing ceded Taiwan to Japan, placing Taiwan under Japanese control (1895-1945). After the defeat of Japan in World War II, Taiwan was given to the Republic of China, becoming its base after its defeat in the Chinese civil war.
French Indochina was formed in October 1887 from Annam, Tonkin, Cochinchina (which together form modern Vietnam) and the Kingdom of Cambodia; Laos was added after the Franco-Siamese War in 1893. The federation lasted until 1954. In the four protectorates, the French formally left the local rulers in power, who were the Emperors of Vietnam, Kings of Cambodia, and Kings of Luang Prabang, but in fact gathered all powers in their hands, the local rulers acting only as figureheads.
Argentina gained its independence from Spain in 1810 and formed the modern constitution in 1853.