This paper offers a new interpretation of Kant’s cosmopolitanism and his anti-colonial arguments in Toward Perpetual Peace. Kant’s changing position on colonialism has been the subject of extensive debates that have not, however, considered the central place of colonialism in the political, economic, and military context of the Europe in which Kant was writing. Based on historical evidence not considered before in relation to this essay, I suggest that Kant’s main concern in 1795 is the negative effect of European expansionism and intra-European rivalry over colonial possessions on the possibility of peace in Europe. This requires Kant to adjust his notion of antagonism, based on the lack of affinity between the character of colonial conflict in his time and his philosophy of history. I examine the implications of these findings for Kant’s system of Right and for his hierarchical view of race. I conclude by discussing the need to correct/complement Kant in our contemporary thinking on cosmopolitanism.