|This Washington Shot at Murdering Town! article is a stub|
Emerging as a union between the British isles create by England the Kingdom of Great Britain blossomed into a global empire in the the 18th century. Britain's supreme naval power allowed her to colonize an annex vast territories, many of which had never been settled by an organized civilization before. At home the world's first factories created manufactured goods from raw materials taken from the wider empire. Empire and industrialization paved the way for the formation of the market economy and with government support private businesses turned Great Britain int the world's largest economy. On the other hand Great Britain's new dominance created unforeseen problems, distant colonial revolts and economic downturn created by market cycle strained Great Britain in the late 1700's.
In 1820 Great Britain occupied a quarter of the world's territory and boasted the second largest population in the world. Despite internal pressures her success was unmatched. Yet the size and diversity of the empire forced change at home. The voting public demanded greater representation in domestic and imperial policy and merchants increasingly dogged regulations designed to channel profit towards the ruling monarchy. Overseas dependent territories comprising of British settlers also fought for greater representation and autonomy.
To maintain the empire and allow further expansion a series of Liberal leaning prime minsters elected by the middle class ushered reforms to allow more citizens to benefit from the gains of the empire. The right to vote was expanded in Great Britain, enslavement of colonial natives was abolished, overseas territories were permitted to have "colony based" parliaments while land grants were given to the poor to develop new territories. Taxes and tariffs were momentarily reduced in the first quarter of the 1800's to encourage global imperial trade.
Previous restrictions on trade with other empires were loosened as to allow merchants to buy and sell goods with other empires for the first time. The East India Company remained as a monopoly in British trade and stunted commercial competition
In the first half of the 19th century the reforms created the foundation on which the present day British Empire would survive and that Great Britain itself would continue to profit from her colonial possessions. English British people enjoyed a new found incentive to participate in the empire, English people settled new lands, started businesses and became more literate. Living standards for English citizens rose rapidly often though at the expense of natives and indigenous civilizations overseas. At home overseas colonization created labor shortages in industry from which immigrants from within and outside the empire filled. Irish and Eastern European neighborhoods became common place in British cities.
It was during the period between 1800 and 1850 began to invent new technologies that transformed world development this included railroads, repeating rifles, vaccination medicine and the telegram. The change of lifestyle for many people as a result of this new technology was unprecedented, the defining point of the success was based on the distribution of the benefits to enough people in Great Britain and overseas English..
The later half of the 19th century was as much as a time of social change as much as continued technological development. Intra-colonial relations dominated a country which ruled such a large portion of the world. Increasingly Great Britain was threatened by the development of her own colonies in North America, India and Australia which all held the potential to become larger economies than the home country. Great Britain used her position as the security and cultural heart of an empire that outgrew herself. In 1852 The British Empire and Commonwealth was turned into a supranational organization that bounded the empire not just on a colonial basis but a union based on mutual military cooperation and English Culture. Great Britain continued to use the national military to hold the empire together and colonial armies assisted in this goal. Colonies then were directed to anglicize their peoples by building secular education systems that would assimilate both English and non English colonial peoples to the English language and British customs.
The reformation of the British Empire and Commonwealth weakened on paper the absolute dominance of Great Britain but continued to ensure Britain's place as the ruler of her territories. The East India Company and other private companies were nationalized not so the government could control trade as had been done in the 1700's but to manage the growing pan British international trade network. The East India Company acted as a go between commodity and local based businesses to handle logistics.
The necessity of Great Britain as the country's core remained through the 19th century. The new Anglicization policy created for the first time a global culture in which people were culturally together by the act of a single nation, while certainly empires had existed before none had permitted for all subjects to acclimate to Imperialism like Great Britain. Anglicization did cause tension overseas, in the case of the Irish War, subjects from many of the territories intercepted the policy as an infringement of their own culture. The benefits of such policy did continue to benefit the European subjects often while relegating non European subjects to inferior status. At home urban industry exploited the working class many of which were foreign and gave rise to new global ideologies such as Marxism. Still, Great Britain continued to grow in strength annexing vast swaths of Africa.
The last quarter of the 19th century saw further development but more tensions at home. As the British public became more educated but divided between rich and poor, this was aggravated by the immigrant population that made 10% of Great Britain's people by 1890. As overseas areas were developed there were less outlets for British people to advance their own interests. Technological development with the global imperial economy continued to accelerate but grew the most in the North American colonies.
The wider British Empire being uniquely inclusive compared to the other empires grew into global hegemony even among multiple empires. Great Britain's foreign policy became not just one of direct self interest but of holding a global order.
The 1900's began with Great Britain suffering from a severe economic recession after a slump in the London Stock Exchange. After enjoying relative peace for decades the wider empire endured cultural and class warfare. Unemployment, labor strikes at home threatened to bring the economy to a halt. Overseas the growth of nationalism threatened to loosen Great Britain's grip on her colonies
British Antarctic Territory | British Atlantic Territory | British Somaliland | Falkland Islands | Gambia