This book is particularly timely when extreme leftists are attempting to rewrite, with significant and cynical inaccuracy, the history of the British Empire and of the United States that grew out of some of Britain’s American colonies. The British Empire grew in a unique way, so different from all of the Empires before. – Most Highly Recommended
NAME: Britain’s Rise to Global Superpower in the Age of Napoleon FILE: R3346 AUTHOR: William Nestor PUBLISHER: Frontline Books, Pen and Sword BINDING: hard back PRICE: £25.00 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: Great Britain, Royal Navy, Monopoly Companies, Dash For Empire, Napoleonic Wars, French Revolutionary War, pirates, slavery, sea lanes, trade routes, industrial revolution, Battle of Trafalgar, British Naval supremacy, trade revolution. ISBN: 1-52677-543-3 PAGES: 352, 8 page B&W photo-plate section IMAGE: B3346.jpg BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/4msxxbb4 LINKS: DESCRIPTION: This book is particularly timely when extreme leftists are attempting to rewrite, with significant and cynical inaccuracy, the history of the British Empire and of the United States that grew out of some of Britain’s American colonies. The British Empire grew in a unique way, so different from all of the Empires before. – Most Highly Recommended
The story of the British Empire is an amazing story. It covers a relatively brief period of time but, at its height, it covered half of the World and in its ending went in a blaze of glory and honour. Empires before had grown by deliberate acts of aggression by leaders who were in the main despots and expansion was frequently achieved with heavy casualties and cruelty. Many of these expansions had a strong religious element. In modern history, Spain and Portugal carved out empires in the Americas and were encouraged by the Popes to make their expansion a mission to convert the heathen. France attempted to join the rush to expand in America and, much later, in Africa, forcing their new colonies into the French administrative culture. Britain however was a small group of islands of at least four nations, the Cornish will of course wish to be recognized as a fifth British nation, with a very small population, a most unlikely child to grow into a great Empire.
The first British attempts to build colonies were made in the reign of Elizabeth I. They were however attempts to build trading points where the English could exchange British goods for whatever the native people could offer. Essentially, it was a private enterprise of trade with the support of the Monarch. When the Crowns of England and Scotland were united on the death of Elizabeth I, the Scottish King James VI became James I of Great Britain, Wales had long been a principality of England and Ireland had a love hate relationship, with parts of the population favouring Britain, and some not. It did not significantly change the British expansion of colonies overseas. The Muscovy Company was still a commercial organization with a monopoly of trade with the Russias, although James did send warships to the Spitsbergens, where the Muscovy Company had established an important whaling industry, and James claimed the islands as British.
Elsewhere, colonies developed with high levels of autonomy and generally as commercial activities. They were used to deport convicts, which may have been a brutal process, but an enlightened alternative to execution, or imprisonment, deported prisoners becoming free after the end of their sentences and many making fortunes. However, there was taxation from London and the British legal system was established. As the Industrial Revolution got underway, the colonial trading posts and the British factories became symbiotic. British manufactured goods were made with raw materials from the colonies and the finished products were sold in the colonies.
What really expanded the process were the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. As Napoleon tried to punish the British by blockading them from European markets, much as the European Union is attempting today, Britain was free to trade with the rest of the World and particularly through the trading colonies that were growing in number and expanding. These trade routes would have been at risk from France. The Royal Navy had already established its dominance at sea during the Seven Years War, which had also made Canada a British dominion, but, in 1805, the Royal Navy stamped its supremacy on the seas and held it unchallenged until WWI. That enabled Britain to safely trade virtually anywhere in the World and began the dash for Empire, even being invited by Spanish colonists to send a liberation force to Buenos Aires. After the initial success the campaign ended when the Spanish colonies started to fight eachother.
As part of the expansion of Empire, the British attempted to stamp out the slave trade and piracy with high levels of success. In banning slavery, Britain bought the freedom of thousands of slaves although slavery was to continue in Islamic countries and in the United States. The reason that such a small population, in a small group of islands, was to achieve this was that they ruled through the local populations and the Royal Navy guaranteed the safe passage in both directions of merchant ships. When Napoleon called the British a nation of shop keepers he meant that they were a national of entrepreneurs and, although he meant it as an insult, it was a great complement because the British Empire had grown on trade.