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late 14c., "ancient Roman settlement outside Italy," from Latin colonia "settled land, farm, landed estate," from colonus "husbandman, tenant farmer, settler in new land," from colere "to inhabit, cultivate, frequent, practice, tend, guard, respect," from PIE root *kwel- "move around" (source of Latin -cola "inhabitant;" see cycle (n.)). Also used by the Romans to translate Greek apoikia "people from home." Modern application dates from 1540s.
colony col·o·ny (kŏl'ə-nē)
A discrete group of organisms, such as a group of cells growing on a solid nutrient surface.
The city of Philippi was a Roman colony (Acts 16:12), i.e., a military settlement of Roman soldiers and citizens, planted there to keep in subjection a newly-conquered district. A colony was Rome in miniature, under Roman municipal law, but governed by military officers (praetors and lictors), not by proconsuls. It had an independent internal government, the jus Italicum; i.e., the privileges of Italian citizens.