introduction British Empire
Introduction to British imperialism
from Empire to Commonwealth
Questions to class
1. The British Empire
The phrase, "the Empire on which the sun never sets", has been used with variations to describe certain global empires that were so extensive that there was always at least one part of their territory in daylight. The British Empire was the largest colonial empire in history. In Britain were two empires, one of them was called “First Empire” (1607-1776) and the other was called the “Victorian Empire”. It’s ending was in 1931,when it turned into the “British Commonwealth of Nations”. The making of the EmpireIn the 16th century a fight between Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, France and England began. They all wanted the commercial and navel supremacy around the American continent. And after the ending of this struggle, England became the most important country. England had some important advantages, e.g. it has a very good position as an island. Moreover it had along tradition as a seafaring nation and had a very modern war fleet. The reason why England wanted to get colonies was very simple: England thought the colonies would give its raw materials and it could sell its manufactured products, e.g. cotton, wheat, tea, oil or beef. But before England was able to start that it had a lot to do. First the colonies had to be discovered, there were two important explorers, John Cabot: Newfoundland (1497) and Captain James Cook: Australia and New Zealand (1770). After the discovery of the colonies, England established trading posts. The most important companies were the “East India Company”, which had been found in 1600 and the “Virginia Company” founded in 1606. England was able to establish more colonies in the following 150 years. Later many people immigrated to North America, e.g. Puritans, Catholics and various sects. They thought they...