When did the colonial period start?

In the New World this occurred slightly after the arrival of the Spaniards. In 1494 the Pope issued a bull that divided the undiscovered lands in the New World between the Spanish and the Portuguese.

The colonial Period as permanent settlement of North America started in the early 16th century, by the Spanish, and the early 17th century by the British, Dutch and then the French.

Regardiing the colonization of Africa, it was divided into colonies among the powers of Europe in 1885 by the Berlin Conference.