Today, "colonialism" and "imperialism" are terms with extremely strong negative connotations, and the tendency «to roam the wasteland of political polemics». They have also assumed a great number of meanings. The article briefly analyses different approaches to the problem of colonialism, imperialism and dependence before focus-ing on the British colonial period, the different patterns of its imperial government and its legacy. If there is no room for any doubt about the perverse nature of a policy which rest on conquest and domination and on a denial of basic political rights, such as self-determination, the question of how this domination affected those under its author-ity is more complex. From these considerations derive the present attempt to organize a disenchanted but not biased issue of «Storia urbana» on the colonial cultural, educational, institutional and technological economic legacy of the British imperial rule in Asia and Africa.