The Civilizing mission (Spanish: misión civilizadora; Portuguese: Missão civilizadora; French: Mission civilisatrice) is a political rationale for military intervention and for colonization purporting to facilitate the modernization and the Westernization of indigenous peoples, especially in the period from the 15th to the 20th centuries.
- What, fundamentally, is colonization? To agree on what it is not: neither evangelization, nor a philanthropic enterprise, nor a desire to push back the frontiers of ignorance, disease, and tyranny, nor a project undertaken for the greater glory of God, nor an attempt to extend the rule of law. To admit once for all, without flinching at the consequences, that the decisive actors here are the adventurer and the pirate, the wholesale grocer and the ship owner, the gold digger and the merchant, appetite and force, and behind them, the baleful projected shadow of a form of civilization which, at a certain point in its history, finds itself obliged, for internal reasons, to extend to a world scale the competition of its antagonistic economies.
- Aimé Césaire, Discourse on Colonialism (1955)