Settler states are sovereign states which were colonized by migrant settlers whose descendants remain politically dominant over the indigenous peoples.
Settler rule is a particularly resilient form of authoritarian domination. It rarely ends. Viewing the country as their permanent abode, settlers typically expropriate the richest land, lay claim to prime natural resources, and introduce social segregation.
This map only represents sovereign states which are or have been politically ruled by settlers. While there are many other territories which are governed by settlers, like Northern Ireland, Tibet, French Guiana, and India’s Andaman Islands, they are not sovereign, and thus do not appear on this map.
The states in yellow, labeled “Decolonizing settler states,” have all, to some degree, taken back political control from its settlers. For example, Americo-Liberian settlers ruled Liberia for 130 years until 1980, when a military coup put indigenous leaders into power. And in 2006, Bolivia elected its first indigenous president, Evo Morales. In 1994, South Africa ended 46 years of Apartheid and white minority rule, and in 1979, Ian Smith, the white Prime Minister of Rhodesia, was replaced by Abel Muzorewa, who renamed the country Zimbabwe.
In most of the world’s settler states, the settlers are predominately of European ancestry. The two exceptions are Taiwan, where 96% of the population is Han Chinese, and Israel, where about half of the Jewish population is of Middle Eastern, Asian, or African origin.