British Empire At Its Height: Curious History Facts! | Kidadl


British Empire At Its Height: Curious History Facts!

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British expansion was quite evident during the 16th century using a method known as 'imperialism' to extend the British territories and influence beyond the far east and west.

This had a major impact on communities, businesses, cultures, and social units all across the planet. The word 'empire' refers to a grouping of regions governed by a common king or government.

Kingdoms are established by the nations that seek to dominate territories beyond their territorial boundaries. Such territories might be a short distance or hundreds of kilometers apart. The Roman empire, for example, spanned across Britain to Egypt between the first and fifth centuries A.D. All through history, colony developers have imported newcomers, habits, and regulations to their 'new' countries, and exploited the commodities because of their own advantage, at the cost of the indigenous groups of people — the very first folks who lived there. This is referred to as 'colonialism.' The same happened to build the British empire.

The phrase 'British empire' refers to all of the countries that were historically controlled by Great Britain or the British government. The British empire began to expand overtime with its territorial claims over huge portions of Australia, North America, Asia, New Zealand, and Africa, along with pretty small regions of South and Central America. Anglo-Saxons are known to have colonized Britain. Gold, coal, sapphires, and many other jewels were gained from Australia. In 1982, Canada left the British empire to curb the economic power of France. Cecil Rhodes became the prime minister of South Africa in 1890.

How big was the British Empire at its peak?

Following rule over India, the British empire expanded throughout Asia, and therefore, by 1913-1921, it had grown to be the biggest superpower in the world or had its territorial peak.

As per the National Archives, the British empire comprised approximately 25% of said worlds' largest geographical region, encompassing huge swaths of Australia, North America, Asia, and West Africa, while many other places - particularly in South America - remained tightly connected to the British empire through commerce.

The British empire was dubbed 'the empire on which the sun never sets' because of its immensity. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, it governed about 412 million people. For centuries, the nature and extent of said British empire — the proportion of territorial claims along with individuals within British dominion – has evolved.

This was among the world's greatest dominions at the time, occupying over a quarter of the Earth's geographic territory and controlling the world population of over 412 million individuals. The 16th-century era is recognized as the 'Age of Discovery' because new ideas about the globe and improved shipping contributed to the rising expeditions as well as the emergence of new territories.

England, or what became known as the United Kingdom, desired additional territory worldwide on which to establish new colonies. Such colonies would give England more precious resources including minerals, silk, as well as tobacco, something they might export to many other nations. The territories also supplied affluent British forces with income possibilities, as well as new locations to reside and work for England's impoverished and jobless individuals.

The British power wouldn't be alone. Several nations of Europe were also traveling around the world, seeking out new regions, and establishing empires- the battle was already on, but the British government did not want to fall adrift. The British crown was leading among the European countries. It was the largest empire of all.

The Rise And Fall Of The British Empire

The Spanish empire, along with Portugal led European colonization of said world all through the Age of Discovery, mostly in the 1500s and 1600s, established enormous colonial empires throughout its course.

Extremely envious of those same empires' vast riches, England, France, and the Netherlands established their own right colonies and trading connections mostly in America, along with Asia. Following the series of battles with both France and the Netherlands in the 17th and 18th centuries, England became the dominant colonialist dominion in North America.

Following the capture of Mughal Bengal in 1757 by the East India Company at the Battle of Plassey, Britain had become the dominating force on the Indian mainland. By 1783, Britain had lost several of its longest but also most populated possessions in North America due to the American Independence War.

The empire began to fall apart with the onset of the First World War following the worst after the Second World War. Britain's empire, along with English ships, crumbled in phases throughout the course of the twentieth century's world wars. Following the First World War, from 1914 until 1918, a wave of 'nationalism' swept throughout the world, with the first colonies claiming the right to always be sovereign and to govern independently.

Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa gained independence in 1926, removing them from British sovereignty. These aforementioned countries were granted independence because, by this period, these nations had sizable white inhabitants with European ancestry who were subject to regular administrations.

As a result, they were seen to be particularly knowledgeable and 'capable' of effectively administering their own nation, which could help the dominion overall. Several British territories- with considerable communities comprised of non-white people – were not given independence, although, when those who requested it, due to racist sentiments, were maintained mostly by the British.

The other colonies, on the other hand, struggled at times to seek independence throughout the following few decades. In the '50s and '60s, Britain lacked the financial and military resources to maintain an empire that stretched. Several colonies that fought for the British throughout the war now were now prepared to declare independence.

India gained freedom in 1947, while African colonies battled for it and declared independence from the '50s until the '80s. Hong Kong, the very last major British colony, was surrendered to the Chinese in 1997. What took hundreds or thousands of years to construct was dismantled in a fraction of the time!

More of Britain's colonies were found in East Asia along with American colonies.

Colonies And Rule Under British Control

The very first English colonies, or British empire colonies, were established in North America, which was then referred to as the 'New World.'

The English had a difficult time establishing colonies! Sir Walter Raleigh, the legendary adventurer, attempted and repeatedly failed to establish an English town at Roanoke, Virginia, in 1585. Captain John Smith established the first lasting English settlement at Jamestown, Virginia in 1607.

The British empire would seize even more regions over the centuries. Competing with some rival European nations to accept control of the territories was a common occurrence. England obtained important territories in North America and the West Indies, which are now recognized as the Caribbean Islands, throughout the 1700-1800s.

Because the weather was ideal for cultivating products such as tobacco and sugar, the British empire established farms. A corporation named the East India Company also established industrial establishments in India. This firm grew to be really strong, so strong that it enabled Britain to dominate the commerce of expensive exports from China and India, such as seasonings, textiles, cotton, and beverages, as well as shape government policy.

The American Independence War cost Britain a large chunk of the empire, and the period 1775-1783 was indeed a watershed moment in the history of British rule. There were 13 North American territories that banded together and battled to break the chains of British rule. They considered themselves more American rather than British, and were dissatisfied with sending remittances back to Britain.

They fought the battle and achieved independence only with the support of France, Spain, and the Netherlands, which eventually became the United States of America. This was the culmination of the 'First British Empire,' as it was known in history. Now, it is more commonly known as the British commonwealth.

How did British influence shape the world?

The British Empire had certainly left a great imprint upon this world through all of its many endeavors.

The British people overwhelmingly thought they were accomplishing the responsible thing when dominion was being formed. They saw themselves as developing and enhancing regions, as well as restoring justice to non-white nations.

Those sentiments are shifting in the United Kingdom today. Individuals are becoming increasingly aware of the injustices perpetrated by the empire against indigenous groups of people, as well as the long-term consequences. White Individuals of European ancestry were considered superior, with much more riches, privileges, and advantages than indigenous folks, particularly colonized people and subsequent successors.

This resulted in significant income disparities, not just between nations, but also among people of various races. Unfortunately, this fight continues in nations across the world, along with the United Kingdom, in which the law states that everyone must be represented fairly regardless of skin color and race.

Kidadl Team
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Kidadl Team

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