Civilization IV: Colonization (abbreviated as Civ4Col on this wiki) is a stand-alone title in the Civilization series based on Civilization IV, using the same engine and a similar interface. It does not require you to have Civilization IV (nor the original Colonization (1994)) to play.
As before there are only the 4 European civilizations to play as, though "The Authentic Colonization" mod and its offshoot "Religion and Revolution" mod add the powers included in FreeCol: Portugal, Sweden, Denmark, and Russia. The goal is revolution: independence from your mother country. The king sends an army to stop your revolution.
Founding Fathers are historical figures who offer to join your colonies as you accumulate points in their respective categories: Politics, Exploration, Religion, Trade and Military. Founding Fathers bring with them benefits relative to their category.
The economic system in Colonization revolves around harvesting resources and converting them in to goods. These resources and goods can then be sold in Europe and to the natives, which is the foundation of your economy.