Countries that fought it off.
Japan was one of the only Asian countries to escape Western colonization, becoming a colonizing power itself in the region. As the country fought against foreign influence and intrusion, only the Dutch and Chinese managed to set up trading ports in Japan, despite the efforts of other nations. Japan, for its part, set up spheres of influence in the surrounding islands, as well as in Korea, Taiwan, and South Sakhalin. –
Since Nepal was united by King Prithvi Narayan Shah in 1744 C.E., it has existed as a sovereign nation. While it was briefly a protectorate of Great Britain, it was never a British colony, even fighting a war and ceding a third of its territory to ensure its continued autonomy from the empire. It is thought that Nepal’s isolated geographical position high in the Himalayas helped it withstand colonial rule, though it is agreed that both India and China exerted some influence in the region.
Eastern Afghanistan and western Pakistan, the region in which Pathans have traditionally lived in is the gateway to India. All the invaders (Alexander, Mongols, Turks, etc.) used the numerous passes in the mountains lining the Durrand Line to attack India. This automatically put Pathans in a continuously hostile environment which in my opinion developed their warfare skills. Their cultural code of Pashtunwali (which predates Islam) requires Pathans to be brave, outspoken and strong.
1. Landscape: (Pathan is a subcontinent nomenclature for Pashtuns) have been living in remote, rigid, and harsh terrains since thousands of years. These merciless environments invariably have affected their genome over time and is also an indicator of the nurturing habitats that the kids are raised in. For survival, confident and brave attitudes are naturally and culturally preferred, while bashful attitudes are weeded out. Hence, a less-dynamic yet overarching trait of adamancy surfaces in Pashtuns. Mind you, this trait does lead to rash decision-making skills, yet it is a survival skill honed for centuries.
2. Nomadic Nature: Essentially, the areas where Pashtuns have resided since centuries have been highly inaccessible. So, although it was part of the silk route, only those who werebrave enough were able to and chose to stay there. Yet, this residency was not tied down with agriculture since very little land is actually arable hence promoting a nomadic lifestyle. Pashtuns over time found a perfect balance and adequate survival skills (such as laandi–beef jerky–a common meat dehydration process… really tasty btw!)
3. Inter-tribal, inter-ethnic, and international conflicts: Pashtuns are known for not backing out with an aggressive attitude. This valorous doggedness has made Pashtuns belligerents in numerous wars and conflicts throughout history, from inter-tribal wars since medieval times and the renaissance period, to various dynasties that gathered several ethnicities under a centralized government, which lead to the creation of Afghanistan.(Pashtuns currently residing in Pakistan were part of Afghanistan until 1893, when the British decided to mess it up by dividing the Pashtuns in half. but that’s a story for another day) Pashtuns have also been heavily involved in international wars with the British, the Soviets, and so many more. I’ll cut it short here by saying, Pashtuns have been at war for a huge portion of history. A common knowledge to the people of that region is that Pashtuns have never been conquered in history. Although, I feel it is important to add here that Pashtuns do not fight just for the sake of fighting or capitalizing on resource gains, but rather fight to defend. I’ll add more of this in the next point.
4. Pashtunwali: In layman terms, Pashtunwali is a way of life. A sacred way of life. It is the thread that holds all Pashtuns together. It’s conception predates the Islamic era and most Pashtuns tout their pride of being born a Pashtun and then as a Muslim. The central idea here is that: A Pashtun has to abide by Pashtunwali code of life. Several of key Pashtunwali traits that add to Pashtunwali are:
1.Turah (Bravery). This couldn’t be anymore straightforward. Bravery is embedded into our code of life!
2. Ghayrat (Courage) Preserving pride, honor, and respect is a core principle. Failure to adhere to this principle leads to ostracism from the tribe.
The above two principles come in direct contact with bravery, while the rest of the principles relate in some way to bravery. Also, from the third main point about being belligerents in numerous wars, I’d like to add the following: Pashtuns are known for their gentle and welcoming hearts. Pashtuns innately want peace and harmony and will defend their rights till death. A persevering attitude does not equate to violent intent but rather a Pashtun way of attaining peace., a major proponent of peace and one of Gandhi’s closest friends (some say he was his study buddy and shared reading glasses) has been largely ignored by historians. Khan, also known as Fakhr-e-Afghan or the Afghan pride, was imprisoned and persecuted in Pakistan by the Pakistani government. In essence, the Pathans or Pashtun are brave people as a nation due to various reasons, and I think that on the individual intimate level it boils down to personalities rather more.
Bhutan is one of the few countries that has indisputably maintained complete sovereignty throughout history, even before its official consolidation as a nation state in 1616. Though it did have to fight several wars against the British during the 18th and 19th centuries, subsequently losing bits of its territory and political influence outside of its borders, Bhutan remained entirely autonomous throughout the colonial period
Iran suffered during the 1800s as the Russians and British fought to build their empires in the Middle East, but was never subjugated to colonization in any official sense. The country did lose some of its territory during the Russo-Persian and Anglo-Persian Wars, and was briefly occupied by the Russians in 1911 and the British during World War I, but was still considered an autonomous state throughout history
Apart from a five-year period when Ethiopia fell to Mussolini’s New Roman Empire, Ethiopia has maintained its autonomy throughout history. The Italians were ejected by the British in 1941, and Ethiopia regained its full independent status in 1944, but had existed independently way before then. Even during the Italian occupation from 1936 to 1941, Mussolini’s troops were under constant attack from Ethiopian guerrilla troops and Italy never maintained full order in the country.
Vietnam Fought off China, Japan, France, America and chased the Khmer Rouge out of Cambodia
Countries that were ignored by Western Imperialists
In 1900, Tonga became a protected state under the Treaty of Friendship with Britain, setting up a British Consul in the state until 1970, but no higher permanent representative was permitted. The indigenous monarchy of Tonga has been maintained until the present day, and has enjoyed an uninterrupted succession of hereditary rulers from the same family since its inception.
Countries that were ignored but were colonized by non Western Powers
Back when Korea existed as one nation state, it resisted colonial rule from Western powers. It is somewhat difficult to consider Korea wholly independent throughout history, however, as it was under Japanese rule for more than 30 years until independence in 1945 during World War II. But in the lens of resisting Western colonization, Korea is said to have maintained its independence from European rule throughout history
Thailand is well aware of its unique heritage that does not include a colonial legacy, and often uses the phrase “land of the freedom” to express pride in the fact that it has remained Thai-dominated since the first millennia B.C. Despite immense pressure from European powers, Thailand escaped colonial rule by maintaining strong rulers and exploiting the tension between colonizing powers – namely France and Great Britain – which had spheres of influence across neighboring countries in Asia
11. Dominican Republic
Received independence from Haiti
One remarkable trace of the indigenous Guaraní culture that has endured in Paraguay is the Guaraní language which is generally understood by 95% of the population. Additionally, Spanish is understood by about 90 percent of the population, which alongside Guaraní is an official language