Back Cover Blurb
- The Penguin Historical Atlas of the British Empire traces the emergence of the world's greatest empire from its earliest beginnings in the British Isles, through its ascendancy in Victorian times, to its ultimate collapse in the mid-20th century.
- It examines the impact of British dominance in America, India and Africa, and the enormous changes brought by Britain's settlement of Australasia.
- Coverage of major events - the colonization of Ireland, the American Revolution, the South African wars - is complemented by discussion of themes such as Imperial exploitation and trade, hunting for plants and animals, the Imperial exhibitions and the importance of British naval power.
- Also assessed are the impact of the Empire on different areas of the world and the legacy it has bestowed.
- Richly illustrated with photographs and full-colour maps, this is an illuminating and multi-faceted one-volume introduction to the rise and fall of the British Empire.
- The emergence of the British Empire was one of the greatest historical phenomena of modern times. It remained in existence until very recently, and its implications and legacies remain with us today.
- The study of the British Empire is fundamental to understanding much about both contemporary international relations and the domestic history of many post-colonial societies throughout the world, not least that of Britain itself.
- This atlas of more than 50 maps and explanatory texts charts the development of the Empire chronologically and by region, beginning with the extension of political power and control across the British Isles as they gradually fell under English hegemony.
- British exploration overseas began more than 500 years ago, at a time when other European states were developing the first truly global maritime empires - the means by which European religion, culture and economics were universally disseminated. But oceanic routes were two-lane highways.
- This work mainly describes the emergence of the British Empire over several centuries in every corner of the world, but it also considers themes such as imperial exhibitions and botanical science, which had a direct and long-lasting influence on British as well as colonial societies and indigenous peoples.
- It also follows the course of the British Empire through to its ultimate collapse and to decolonization after the Second World War, when a new realpolitik determined Britain’s realignment with Europe. The atlas concludes by examining Britain’s lingering imperial commitments, and the emergence of the Commonwealth as a force in world affairs.
- The subject of the British Empire is a huge one, and in projects devoted to such subjects it is always difficult deciding what to omit or compress and what to include. I believe that the subject matter we have selected for inclusion is sufficiently comprehensive to provide a valuable overview of the world’s greatest empire.
Introduction: The Significance of the British Empire – 8
Timeline – 10
- The Early Empire 1500-1763 – 14
- English and British: The consolidation of the British Isles – 18
- Exploring and Exploiting: European expansion to the mid-16th century – 20
- Chasing the Pack: English oceanic enterprise to 1630 – 22
- The New World I: Virginia – 24
- The New World II: New England – 26
- The Thirteen Colonies – 28
- The African Impact: Britain and the slave trade – 30
- Sugar and Slaves: The conquest of the Caribbean – 32
- Conflict in Canada: Anglo-French rivalry to 1763 – 34
- The Infiltration of India: British expansion to 1765 – 36
- The Late Georgian Europe 1763-1837 – 38
- Trade and Enterprise: Overseas trade to 1854 – 42
- Conquest of the Cape: Southern Africa to 1844 – 44
- Opening up the Pacific – 46
- The Settlement of Australasia – 48
- On the Move: Early migration to the Empire – 50
- America Rebels: The American Revolution 1776-83 – 52
- The Consolidation of Canada – 54
- British West Indies: Exploitation and emancipation – 56
- Indian Riches: The East India Company's conquests – 58
- The Victorian Empire 1837-1901 – 60
- Heyday of Empire – 64
- Naval Power and Gunboat Diplomacy – 66
- Peopling the Empire: Imperial migration 1815-1924 – 68
- Eastern Promise: Imperial trade and the Far East – 70
- The Scramble for Africa – 72
- South African Supremacy: The Anglo-Boer wars – 74
- Egypt and the Route to the East – 76
- The Raj: The heyday of British India – 78
- The Great Game: Russia and British India – 80
- The White Dominions: Canada and Australasia – 82
- Imperial Themes – 84
- World Wide Web :Telegraphic communications to 1902 – 88
- The Ties that Bind: Britain's steamship network – 90
- Creating Countries: Overseas investment to 1914 – 92
- Imperial Exploitation: Overseas trade and resources – 94
- Exhibiting the Empire: imperial exhibitions to 1953 – 96
- Hunting to Kill: Game and exploitation – 98
- Plant Hunting: The gardens of Empire – 100
- Searching for Souls: Protestant missions to 1914 – 102
- Colonial Wars: The army and Imperial defence – 104
- Climax and Decolonization 1901-97 – 106
- Climax of Empire – 110
- Imperial Defence I: The First World War – 112
- Imperial Defence II: The Second World War – 114
- Securing the Canal: The Middle East to 1945 – 116
- A Free Ireland Ireland's long road to independence – 118
- Independent Dominions – 120
- Colonial Revolts – 122
- The Road to Suez: The Middle East 1945-56 – 124
- The End of the Eastern Empire – 126
- Wind of Change: Nationalism and white rule in Africa – 128
- India and Partition – 130
- The Commonwealth and the Rump – 132
- Imperial Legacies – 134
- Main Territories of the British Empire – 136
Further Reading – 138
Index – 139
Acknowledgements – 144
Penguin; Illustrated Edition (25 May 2006)
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020
- Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)