"Racial formation is a specifically modern phenomenon that coincided with the colonial expansion of various western European nation-states—Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Germany, Holland, Denmark, and England—beginning in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century. It was an outgrowth of encounters between Europeans and populations that were very different from themselves culturally and, above all, phenotypically as they established colonial empires in the New World, Asia, the Pacific, and, eventually, Africa. More important, racial formation was a catalyst in the creation of and justification for a unique form of slavery. Although expansion, conquest, exploitation, and enslavement had been part of human history for millennia, none of these phenomena were supported by ideologies or social systems based on race."
–G. Reginald Daniel (2004)