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Intercolonial Exhibition of Australasia (1866)

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Title: Intercolonial Exhibition of Australasia (1866)  
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Subject: Colonial exhibition
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Intercolonial Exhibition of Australasia (1866)

A colonial exhibition was a type of international exhibition intended to boost trade and bolster popular support for the various colonial empires during the New Imperialism period, which started in the 1880s with the scramble for Africa.

The British Empire Exhibition of 1924–5 ranked among these expositions, but perhaps the most notable was the rather successful 1931 Paris Colonial Exposition, which lasted six months and sold 33 million tickets.[1] Paris's Colonial Exhibition debuted on 6 May 1931, and encompassed 110 hectares of the Bois de Vincennes. The exhibition included dozens of temporary museums and façades representing the various colonies of the European nations, as well as several permanent buildings. Among these were the Palais de la Porte Dorée, which today serves as the Cité nationale de l'histoire de l'immigration, as well as the Musée Permanente des Colonies, designed by architect Albert Laprode.[1]

An anti-colonial counter-exhibition was held near the 1931 Colonial Exhibition, titled Truth on the Colonies and was organized by the French Communist Party. The first section was dedicated to the crimes made during the colonial conquests, and quoted Albert Londres and André Gide's criticisms of forced labour while the second one made an apology of the Soviets' "nationalities' policy" compared to "imperialist colonialism".

Germany and Portugal also staged colonial exhibitions, as well as Belgium, which had a Foire coloniale as late as 1948. Human zoos were featured in some of these exhibitions, such as in the Parisian 1931 exhibition.[2]

Colonial exhibitions

Exhibitions which may be described as colonial exhibitions include:

Name of exhibition Date Location Country Notes
Intercolonial Exhibition of Australasia (1866) 1866
Intercolonial Exhibition (1870) 1870
Intercolonial Exhibition (1875) 1875
Intercolonial Exhibition (1876) 1876
Internationale Koloniale en Uitvoerhandel Tentoonstelling 1883
Colonial and Indian Exhibition 1886 London United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
Exposition internationale et coloniale 1894
Exposição Insular e Colonial Portuguesa 1894 Oporto Portugal
Great Industrial Exposition of Berlin 1896 Berlin Germany
Brussels International (1897) 1897 Brussels Belgium
Indo China Exposition Française et Internationale 1902 Hanoi French Indochina
United States, Colonial and International Exposition 1902
|Exposition coloniale 1906
Franco-British Exhibition (1908) 1908
Exposition Universelle de Bruxelles 1910 Brussels Belgium
Koloniale Tentoonstelling 1914 Semarang, Java Netherlands Intended to "give a comprehensive picture of the Dutch Indies in their present prosperous condition".[3]
International Exhibition of Rubber and Other Tropical Products 1921 London United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
Festival of Empire 1911 London United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
Exposition nationale coloniale 1922 Marseille France
British Empire Exhibition 1924–5 London United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
Exposition internationale coloniale, maritime et d'art flamand 1930 Antwerp Belgium
Paris Colonial Exposition 1931 Paris France
Exposição Colonial Portuguesa 1934 Porto Portugal
Empire Exhibition 1936 Johannesburg South Africa Union of South Africa
Empire Exhibition, Scotland 1938 1938 Glasgow United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
Deutsche Kolonial Ausstellung 1939
Foire coloniale 1948

Japanese colonial exhibitions

During the early 20th century, the Empire of Japan was noteworthy in that it not only hosted colonial showcases in exhibitions within the Home Islands, but also held several full-scale expositions inside its colonies of Korea and Taiwan. These exhibitions did however have objectives comparable to that of their European counterparts, in that they highlighted economic achievements and social progress under Japanese colonial rule to Japanese and colonial subjects alike.

Expositions held in Japanese colonies included:

  • Korea Trade Fair to Commemorate 5 Years of Government (Seoul, 1915)
  • Korea Exhibition (Seoul, 1929)
  • Taiwan Exhibition to Commemorate 40 Years of Government (Taipei, 1935)

See also



  • Alexander C.T. Geppert, Fleeting Cities. Imperial Expositions in Fin-de-Siècle Europe, Basingstoke/New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

External links

  • Exposition Coloniale of Paris 1931 photographs
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