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Portal:British Empire

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British Empire

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British Empire, 1897

The British Empire was the largest empire in history, and for a substantial time was the foremost global power. It was a product of the European age of discovery, which began with the maritime explorations of the 15th century, that sparked the era of the European colonial empires.

By 1921, the British Empire held sway over a population of about 458 million people, approximately one-quarter of the world's population. It covered about 36.6 million km² (14.2 million square miles), about a quarter of Earth's total land area. As a result, its legacy is widespread: in legal and governmental systems, economic practice, militarily, educational systems, sports (such as cricket, rugby, golf and football), traffic practices (such as driving on the left), and in the global spread of the English language. At the peak of its power, it was often said that "the sun never sets on the British Empire" because its span across the globe ensured that the sun was always shining on at least one of its numerous colonies or subject nations.

During the five decades following World War II, most of the territories of the Empire became independent. Many went on to join the Commonwealth of Nations, a free association of independent states.

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British overseas territories

The British Overseas Territories are fourteen territories which the United Kingdom considers to be under its sovereignty, but not as part of the United Kingdom itself.

The name "British Overseas Territory" was introduced by the British Overseas Territories Act 2002, and replaced the name British dependent territory which was introduced by the British Nationality Act 1981. Before that, the territories were known as colonies or Crown colonies. The British Overseas Territories are also referred to as overseas territories of the United Kingdom, UK overseas territories, or when the context is clear, simply the Overseas Territories.

The territories of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man, though also under the sovereignty of the British Crown, have a slightly different constitutional relationship with the United Kingdom, and are consequently classed as Crown dependencies rather than Overseas Territories.

Territories and dependencies are distinct from the Commonwealth of Nations, a voluntary association of former British colonies and latterly other nations such as Mozambique that have joined because of the benefits it offers. (more...)

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The British Empire.png
An anachronous map of British and, prior to the Union of the Crowns, English imperial possessions
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Dalhousie.jpg

James Broun-Ramsay, 1st Marquess of Dalhousie, KT, PC (April 22, 1812 – December 19, 1860) was a British statesman, and a colonial administrator in India.

Born in Dalhousie Castle, Scotland, he crowded into his relatively short life conspicuous public service in the United Kingdom, and established an unrivalled position among the master-builders of the Indian empire. Denounced on the eve of his death and to this day by some as having failed to notice the signs of the Indian Rebellion of 1857, and even having aggravated the crisis by his overbearing self-confidence, centralising activity, and reckless annexations. (more...)

Evolution of the British Empire

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British Empire evolution3.gif

This Map of the world animates the Empire's rise and fall.

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British Empire and Commonwealth of Nations

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* now a Commonwealth realm  ·   now a member of the Commonwealth of Nations
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