The title pretty much resembles the question - I'd like to compare what criteria different schools of historiography (including national and historical) use to determine whether a country/territory is a "colony" or not.
As a starting point, Wikipedia has a long list of colonies here. However, I don't understand how it is constructed, for example:
- Britain has a long list of colonies (example India), which were overseas and directly governed by Britain. This sounds like the "classical" definition for a colony.
- The Ottoman Empire has a list of colonies, some of them are on the Balkan peninsula. What made these territories "colonies"? They were directly governed, but were not overseas. Fair enough, but they don't seem to be widely recognized as "colonies", only "ruled by" the Ottoman Empire. How did the Ottomans view the lands they ruled, including the Balkans? Is it only that they were not "native" Ottoman lands that they are referred to as colonies? What other criteria are used to categorize them as colonies?
- Taiwan is regarded to as a Chinese colony. However, as far as I know, mainland China viewes Taiwan as indivisible part of China and not as a colony. Why is that? What criteria are used to say that Taiwan is a colony (as per Wikipedia) and why the PRC doesn't view Taiwan as a colony?
- West Germany is referred to as a "British colony". Why? West Germany was an independent state, right?
I can find more examples, but I think these probably indicate where the source of my confusion might be. In any case, they are just examples and I am more interested in comparing various criteria/definitions.
I would appreciate quoting sources that I can refer to later. Also, geographical/methodological/temporal/ideological variety is greatly appreciated.