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In considering the reason why some European colonies upon achieving independence established societies with political stability and strong rule of law and others so signally failed to do so it is tempting to view the issue either through the prism of the strength of the rule of law of the colonizing nation or else to divide the natures of the colonies into extractive and settled. Neither approach, however, yields a satisfactory explanation.

While it is true that Spain and Portugal, both notably weak-trust societies characterized by familial cartel power relationships, created notably extractive colonies with poor stability, it is important to note that Belgium, Great Britain and France all had similar outcomes in their African domains. It is also important to remember that while there may be a difference in the intent of extractive colonies — where colonists expect to return home with their newly created fortunes, in contrast to settlers who choose to remain — the bulk of colonists of either persuasion in fact remained in the colonies for the rest of their lives. It is also important to recall that all colonies were intended to be extractive by their originating states.

The signal difference, rather, appears to be the presence of European women in the settlements: where colonists married women of their own culture, that culture was preserved; whereas wherever they married natively, the original culture was degraded. It is easy to understand the reason for it, because it was in fact the women, rather than the men, who by their oversight of child-rearing do really transmit culture and its values.

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