The rise of the British Empire

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1 The routes of Captain Cook's voyages. The first voyage is shown in red, second voyage in green, and third voyage in blue. The route of Cook's crew following his death is shown as a dashed blue line. The rise of the British Empire The voyages of Capt. James Cook to Australia and New Zealand in the 1770s and new conquests in India after 1763 opened a second phase of territorial expansion.

2 India After the independence of the United States the British continued to rule Canada, including the former French settlements in Quebec and the Caribbean Islands. When Charles II married Catherine of Braganza (a Portuguese princess) in 1662 her present included the Portuguese colony in India of Bombay (now Mumbai). The formation of the East India Company began the British influence in India, which started with trade in The managers and governors of the Company made huge sums of money. This money too went to pay for the new industries in England. The French were trying to do the same but were overcome until, as in Canada, they were confined to a symbolic colony on the close of the Seven Years War.

3 India Indians were assumed to have a deeply conservative people whose traditions and ways of life were disregarded by their British rulers. Reforms, new laws, new technology, even Christianity, were forced upon them (deculturation process). They found these deeply offensive and were driven to resist them with violence. In 1857 a large part of the Indian army rebelled against the British authorities. This revolt - called The Indian Mutiny - was suppressed with great brutality, what would now be considered war crimes on a huge scale. The Indian Mutiny resulted in the final transfer of power from the East India Company to the British government. And the Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli declared Queen Victoria Empress of India.

4 Australia After the independence of the United States it was no longer possible to send criminals into exile in North America. To continue the policy a new destination was needed. The chosen destination was Botany Bay (Sydney) in what became known as New South Wales in Australia. The whole continent was declared British land. The inhabitants were ignored as though they were animals (the land was declared "terra nullius" = belonging to no-one and therefore free for settlement). Like North America this was a colony of settlement rather than merely of rule and exploitation, as in India

5 Africa The empire in Africa started as slave trading stores in Ghana (Gold Coast) and other parts of the West African coast. In the 1890s British troops pushed inland using the new technologies of steam, telegraphs and machine guns (and quinine to prevent Malaria) until they reached the borders of the French territories. The Berlin Conference in 1884 on Colonial matters (seen as the formalisation of the Scramble for Africa or Partition of Africa) divided up Africa and gave each of the European powers their own sections. Thus Britain ended with territories in East, West and Southern Africa.

6 Africa The last major conquest of the British was South Africa, where their armies fought not just the "natives" but the descendants of the Dutch settlers at the Cape. The wars with the Boers created dissension at home, where many saw the conquest as imperial greed. The conquest of the Sudan in 1895 was one of the last wars of expansion. Winston Churchill took part in the last British cavalry charge there and wrote also as a war correspondent for the Morning Post (The River War. An Historical Account of the Reconquest of the Sudan). This war derived from Britain's control of Egypt. The Egyptian ruler claimed Sudan and Britain was making good that claim. Sudan was therefore ruled as a joint British-Egyptian territory.

7 BE Map around 1918

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