To focus on a specific example, whole countries in Southern Africa were built/founded/stolen by people like Cecil Rhodes, but bands of free-booting adventurers are not to be compared to "the Europeans".
Rhodes was largely bank-rolled not by government, by commerce in general or by public subscription but by the Cecil family, which had been immensely prominent in first English then British politics since before the first Queen Elizabeth and still stands out today, but land-owners powerful enough to be running countries are not to be compared to "the Europeans."
Their home at Hatfield House remains one of the largest palaces in Europe and although it is much bigger than even any state building in the Republic of Zimbabwe that developed from the Rhodesia which bore his name, it was and remains one family's private residence. People living for hundreds of years before and since "The Scramble for Africa" in stately piles of which almost every room is larger than most people's houses are not to be compared to "the Europeans."
It's sometimes pointed out that Walmart is controlled by a billionaire family, yet huge numbers of employees are on benefits. Though not really European, isn't that the same perspective?
Between Walmart and the landed gentry sit people like John Lewis, who turned his empire into a partnership with the staff when he decided it was unfair that his family should be taking out of the business more than the entire pay-roll; that being not merely more than even the best-paid staff, but more than the entire staff combined.