Four vital factors in the Rise of Empire
Britain developed through a combination of dynastic shifts, strategic trade outposts and aggressive nationalistic policies, expressed through its navy, into a position of world-wide authority (if not supremacy) between the years 1660 and 1760. It is tempting to consider the words of Horace Seeley, writing in 1870, that Britain acquired an empire “in a fit of absent-mindedness.” That is to say, there was no devious strategy for world-domination, only a series of small-scale largely trade-based decisions. The concept of “Empire” is a much later ideological construct. In this article we’ll consider four vital factors: the Anglo-Dutch Trade Wars; the role of the Americas; the role of Asia and the role of France. (more…)
Archive for the ‘British India’ Category
Tags: A Level History, British Empire, British India, Empire. Imperialism, History, Niall Ferguson, Rise of Empire, Rule Britannia
Four vital factors in the Rise of Empire
Tags: 1660-1760, A Level History, American History, Anglo-Dutch wars, British Empire, History, Naval History, Rise of Empire, seven years war, slavery
The thesis of this sketch survey is that Britain developed through a combination of dynastic shifts, strategic trade outposts and aggressive nationalistic policies, expressed through its navy, into a position of world-wide authority (if not supremacy) between the years 1660 and 1760. (more…)
Tags: A Level History, British Empire, British India, History, Robert Clive
This paper explores the role that Christian mission had in the development of Victorian Imperialism. (more…)
Tags: A Level History, British India, Colonisation, History, Imperialism, Livingstone, Victorian
During the first half of the nineteenth century, academic societies and private associations often sponsored exploring expeditions, usually by selling financial shares in the enterprise. Geographical societies naturally wished to advance knowledge and make discoveries. Several rival expeditions originating from Britain, for example, intended to explore the African river systems and identify the mysterious source of the Nile. On these expeditions new kinds of questions were asked about indigenous peoples, animal and plant distribution, local diseases, acclimatisation and useful economic commodities. But an important extra element was often a religious, Christianising purpose. Livingstone’s expeditions in central Africa demonstrate these forces at work. They were financed at first by the London Missionary Society and then by the Royal Geographical Society of London and also by the government. His letters reflect this constellation of interests. (more…)
Tags: A Level History, British Empire, Imperial Expansion 1815-1870
As a result of the Congree of Vienna, Great Britain retained:
Malta, Heligoland ( a small archipelago in the North Sea, two hours’ sailing time from Cuxhaven at the mouth of the River Elbe),the protectorate of the Ionian Isles (the latter by a treaty signed 5 November 1815), Mauritius, Tobago and Santa Lucia from France , Ceylon and the Cape of Good Hope from Holland and Trinidad from Spain.
Most of these places were strategically important as naval bases. Britain appeared to acquire minimal advantages in the settlement, given that she had spent £600 million on the wars. She got no land in Europe, but Britain did gain colonial strength which helped her trade and commerce. Britain became THE European colonial power. Other European countries developed their European status but Britain developed its world status.
Cautious containment of France
Britain wanted to contain France through co-operation with the other Powers. This was a priority in 1815 and was a policy that was shared by all other European nations. Later it became a British prejudice under Palmerston, who failed to see the rise of Prussia. Britain was almost paranoid about possible French expansionism, whether it was diplomatic, territorial or through influence. Britain tried to keep France pinned down within her borders because France was seen as the most dangerous nation in Europe. This policy towards France was rather limited and was maintained for far too long: by about 1850 the Foreign Office was virtually blind to the rise of Prussia, which was a greater threat to the peace and stability of Europe than France. Bismarck and Prussia were able diplomatically to hoodwink Britain
A policy of cautious colonial expansion
This was an example of the Foreign Office being ‘in tune’ with the Department of Trade. There was no suggestion of ‘British imperialism’ as yet – imperialism has strong overtones of ideology and politics as motives for the acquisition of territory, such as the ‘Scramble for Africa’. The early Nineteenth Century saw the growth of British overseas possessions for bases and markets, or as an extension of influence, for example in South Africa or the Far East, through the extension of trade. Britain needed to expand the markets for British goods and also to develop more sources of raw materials.
This was carried out by the physical acquisition of territory – usually islands as bases – as at the Congress of Vienna when Britain acquired or kept Heligoland, Malta, the Ionian Islands, Ceylon extension of diplomatic influence with the motive of expanding markets. For example, Canning’s recognition of the South American republics may be seen as part of this policy. There was little physical presence by Britain. This method became more important as free trade developed.
A market-conscious foreign policy developed as the Industrial Revolution speeded up because of the increased need for cheap raw materials and overseas markets, but not as imperialism, because imperialism costs money and therefore becomes a liability.
A consciously naval policy
The navy was Britain’s trump card, and foreign policy was dominated by the Royal Navy. British power and prestige was strongest in areas that the navy could reach. Often, British success in diplomacy can be gauged by the use of the navy. Sea power was very important and the Royal Navy was the right hand of the Foreign Office, although secondary to diplomacy: the use of the navy was not necessarily aggressive.
Tags: A Level History, British Empire
Your assignment takes the shape of a 2500 word essay on the development of “Empire” in the history of Britain between the years 1660-1760. The overall strategy for this year’s fast-track course is Power politics, with the attempt being made to line up historical strategies for domination with contemporary issues currently on view in the world today.
Here are some of the topics that must be addressed in your essay:
1. The importance of sea power in this process
2. The nature and extent of Britain’s colonial control and commercial expansion in the period. The growth and nature of British overseas trade and the ways in which this involved the development of colonial and quasi- colonial relationships in India, the Americas and West Africa;
3. Why trade increasingly flowed between colonies and from, and to, the mother country.
You should also have knowledge and understanding of developing British policy on commercial and colonial developments, including increasing investment in the British navy, although don’t offer detailed knowledge of specific governments.
You should have knowledge and understanding of the extent to which wars in the late seventeenth and early and mid eighteenth centuries impacted on the development of colonial and commercial relations.
You should also understand why key events and developments might be considered as turning points in the development of the British Empire in this period. The relevant key events and developments are:
1. the Anglo- Dutch Wars of the 1660s and 1670s:
2. British government investment in naval power in this period;
3. The expansion of commercial and colonial developments in India;
4. the expansion of British commercial and colonial developments in the West Indies and eastern seaboard states of North America;
5. the commercial significance of the Act of Union (1707)
6. the significance of the War of Spanish Succession and the Treaty of Utrecht; the Seven Years’ War.
The focus of this unit is on the process of change over a long period of time, so don’t concentrate exclusively on depth of knowledge, for example, about one particular colony or on technical developments in British shipping, but you should understand the context within which the key maritime, colonial and commercial developments took place, why they were important and what their main effects were.
You should also be able to construct a developmental account, in which events or factors are included for their significance in creating change, or maintaining continuity.
The opening of direct European voyages to Asia does not represent a world- historical transformation as fundamental as the establishment of the transatlantic routes but rather a reshaping of connections that had been developing for many centuries. (more…)
Tags: A Level History, British Empire, British India
In 1601 the English East India Company was founded. A group of City merchants decided to risk their capital only after there had been favourable reports about trade prospects in the East. They sought a monopoly of the East for trading purposes, dealing in silk, ivory, spices and cotton. This ultimately led to the establishment of the British Raj. The history of Anglo-Indian relations was determined by the long-held belief among the English that India was never to be their permanent home. (more…)