British Empire

dominions of the United Kingdom

The British Empire was composed of the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates, and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. It began with the overseas possessions and trading posts established by England between the late 16th and early 18th centuries. At its height it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1913 the British Empire held sway over 412 million people, 23 per cent of the world population at the time, and by 1920 it covered 35,500,000 km2 (13,700,000 sq mi), 24 percent of the Earth's total land area. As a result, its constitutional, legal, linguistic, and cultural legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, it was described as "the empire on which the sun never sets", as the sun was always shining on at least one of its territories.

Flag of the British Empire
Anthem of Great Britain and the British Empire (God Save the Queen)
The British Empire at its territorial peak in 1921

QuotesEdit

 
A replica of the Matthew, John Cabot's ship used for his second voyage to the New World
 
Fort St. George was founded at Madras in 1639.
 
Robert Clive's victory at the Battle of Plassey established the East India Company as a military as well as a commercial power.
 
British territories in the Americas, 1763–1776, extending much further than the Thirteen Colonies on the Atlantic coast
 
James Cook's mission was to find the alleged southern continent Terra Australis.
 
The Battle of Waterloo in 1815 ended in the defeat of Napoleon and marked the beginning of Pax Britannica.
 
An 1876 political cartoon of Benjamin Disraeli (1804–1881) making Queen Victoria Empress of India. The caption reads "New crowns for old ones!"
 
British cavalry charging against Russian forces at Balaclava in 1854
 
During the Second World War, the Eighth Army was made up of units from many different countries in the British Empire and Commonwealth; it fought in North African and Italian campaigns.
 
The Rhodes Colossus—Cecil Rhodes spanning "Cape to Cairo"
 
Henry Every sells his Jewels
 
The so-called British Empire was a manifest of the world-around misconception of who ran things. ~ Buckminster Fuller
  • Here in this country, although our political divisions were deep, in time of need we were able to transcend them in the interests of the whole community. Throughout the British Commonwealth and Empire there were immense diversities of race, colour, creed, and degrees of civilization, yet the links that united all together, though often intangible, proved strong as steel in the day of trial. This was because, despite many shortcomings and failures to implement fully the ideals which we held, the British Commonwealth and Empire had stood for freedom and justice, and because we had learnt through long centuries the lesson of how to live together without attempting to exact regimented uniformity.
    • Clement Attlee, speech in Carmarthen, Wales (3 September 1943), quoted in The Times (4 September 1943), p. 2
  • When we speak of Empire, it is in no spirit of flag-wagging...we feel that in this great inheritance of ours, separated as it is by the seas, we have yet one home and one people... [G]reat as the material benefits are, we do not look primarily to them. I think deep down in all our hearts we look to the Empire as the means by which we may hope to see that increase of our race which we believe to be of such inestimable benefit to the world at large; the spread abroad of people to whom freedom and justice are as the breath of their nostrils, of people distinguished, as we would fain hope and believe, above all things, by an abiding sense of duty. If ever the day should come when an appeal to that sense of duty falls on deaf ears among our own kin, that day indeed would be the end of our country and of our Empire, to which you and I have dedicated our very lives.
  • Our Empire grew from the adventurous spirit of our fathers... Wherever they went, they carried with them the traditions, the habits, the ideals of their Mother Country... [T]hey never lost that golden thread of the spirit which drew their thoughts back to the land of their birth. Even their children, and their children's children, to whom Great Britain was no more than a name, a vision, spoke of it always as Home. In this sense of kinship the Empire finds its brightest glory and its most essential strength. The Empires of old were created by military conquest and sustained by military domination. They were Empires of subject races governed by a central power. Our Empire is so different from these that we must give the word Empire a new meaning, or use instead of it the title Commonwealth of British Nations... I am sure that none among us can think upon this Commonwealth of British nations, which men and women of our own race have created, without a stirring of our deepest feelings.
  • As we study [the British Empire's] destiny, we are bound to think of it less as a human achievement than as an instrument of Divine Providence for the promotion of the progress of mankind.
  • We [Britain and the Dominions] stand on an equality, and if some foreign critics are disposed to say that standing on an equality means that we are bound to separate in a short time my view is precisely the contrary. My view most strongly is that the British Empire is now a more united organism than it has ever been before, that that organism is held together far more effectually by the broad loyalties, by the common feelings and interests—in many cases, of history—and by devotion to great world ideals of peace and freedom. A common interest in loyalty, in freedom, in ideals—that is the bond of Empire. If that is not enough, nothing else is enough.
  • Except for copper and tungsten in the Rhodesias, oil in Trinidad, and tin in Malaya, the colonial empire's potential mineral riches lay mostly undiscovered for want of large-scale exploratory survey-work. Even in 1925–9 the colonial empire supplied Britain with only 8 per cent of her raw materials. Its under-populated regions, inhabited for the most part by peoples only just emerging from the Stone Age, and even by some tribes hardly yet in it, provided in 1901 only 4 per cent of Britain's export market. Nevertheless it took less than half its imports from Britain, and sent her only 42 per cent of its exports. Malaya...was the only wealthy portion of the colonial empire and the only one whose resources and potentialities had been energetically exploited. It produced 53 per cent of the world's rubber and 55.6 per cent of the world's tin. Yet Britain as late as 1938 drew a fifth of her supplies of rubber from outside her empire, while in the same year Malaya sent only 10 per cent of her exports of tin to Britain. And, although there was oil in Trinidad, Britain took only 36 per cent of Trinidad's exports. Thus while the colonial empire added mightily to the pink on the map of the world, it added little in the way of economic strength to Britain, although the British people perhaps found Gold Coast cocoa comforting at bedtime.
  • The empire, all shades of opinion were agreed therefore, was a high trust, rather than a mere source of wealth and power as our ancestors had seen it. In fact the combination of a cheerfully rapacious colonial past and a post-evangelical conscience gave the British a constant twinge of guilt – not the most effective inspiration of self-confident policy... In this kind of mood, therefore, the thought of deliberately dismantling the empire, or portions of it, entered few heads. Equally there was no systematic attempt to dissect the anatomy of British power in order to determine which parts of the empire, if any, were showing – or could be made to show – a profit. For the British governing classes, true to their upbringing, saw the empire less as a strategic and economic enterprise than as a family estate which they had inherited, and from which derived their consequence in world society... The British governing classes saw the native races of the colonial empire, therefore, rather as old family tenants or cottagers; as a responsibility, rather than as instruments of British power. This attitude, coupled with the universal moralism, determined British colonial policy: the colonial empire existed first and foremost in the interests of its native peoples, not of Britain.
  • British colonial policy between the wars was therefore an essay in altruism. Yet however admirable the British respect for the cultures and personalities of the peoples under their rule, however Christian the British spirit of guardianship, British colonial policy was an absurdity when considered in terms of British power. The colonies were not so much an empire as the field for an overseas Toynbee Hall mission. The contrast with the colonial polices of the French, Dutch and Belgians was striking, for it was the curious idea of these nations that the purpose of having an empire was to make the imperial power richer and stronger... The European colonial empires were great State enterprises, organised and directed from head office in pursuit of clear and logical policies... The British colonial empire in the 1920s, on the other hand, had no "policy" in the French sense: "In my day", a colonial servant of the era told an American inquirer, "we had not all forgotten Aristotle. I was continually asking, "What is the end or object of this endeavour?" But no one could or would give me an answer."
  • The British colonial servants saw their task as one of efficient, fair public administration, of providing justice, law and order: the Roman imperial virtues. They tended to neglect – as did the Colonial Office itself – the modern importance of science and economics, subjects they understandably found alien and somewhat uncomfortable. Thus, although the British showed a far more tender regard for native culture than other colonial nations, British colonies were often backward in research and technical services, for the staffing of which British education in any case made small provision.
  • I hope we may be able sooner or later to federate, to bring together, all these great dependencies of the British Empire into one supreme and Imperial Parliament (cheers), so that they should be all units of one body, that one should feel what the others feel, that all should be equally responsible, that all should have a share in the welfare and sympathize with the welfare of every part. That is what I hope, but there is very little hope for it if you weaken the ties which now bind the central portion of the Empire together. (Cheers.)
    • Joseph Chamberlain, speech in Rawtenstall (8 July 1886), quoted in The Times (9 July 1886), p. 6
  • I venture to claim two qualifications for the great office which I hold, which to my mind, without making invidious distinctions, is one of the most important that can be held by any Englishman; and those qualifications are that in the first place I believe in the British Empire, and in the second place I believe in the British race. I believe that the British race is the greatest of the governing races that the world has ever seen.
    • Joseph Chamberlain, speech to the Imperial Institute (11 November 1895), quoted in The Times (12 November 1895), p. 6
  • I believe in a British Empire, in an Empire which, though it should be its first duty to cultivate friendship with all the nations of the world, should yet, even if alone, be self-sustaining and self-sufficient, able to maintain itself against the competition of all its rivals. And I do not believe in a Little England which shall be separated from all those to whom it would in the natural course look for support and affection, a Little England which would then be dependent absolutely on the mercy of those who envy its present prosperity, and who have shown they are ready to do all in their power to prevent its future union with the British races throughout the world.
    • Joseph Chamberlain, speech in Birmingham Town Hall in favour of imperial tariffs (15 May 1903), published in The Penguin Book of Twentieth-Century Speeches (1994), p. 7
  • What may be the fate of the Eastern part of Europe it would be arrogant for me to speculate upon... But I am sure that as long as England is ruled by English Parties who understand the principles on which our Empire is founded, and who are resolved to maintain that Empire, our influence in that part of the world can never be looked upon with indifference... The present is a state of affairs which requires the most vigilant examination and the most careful management. But those who suppose that England ever would uphold, or at this moment particularly is upholding, Turkey from blind superstition and from a want of sympathy with the highest aspirations of humanity are deceived. What our duty is at this critical moment is to maintain the Empire of England. Nor will we ever agree to any step, though it may obtain for a moment comparative quiet and a false prosperity, that hazards the existence of that Empire.
  • It has been said that the people of this country are deeply interested in the humanitarian and philanthropic considerations involved in [the Eastern Question]. All must appreciate such feelings. But I am mistaken if there be not a yet deeper sentiment on the part of the people of this country, one with which I cannot doubt your lordships will ever sympathise, and that is—the determination to maintain the Empire of England.
    • Benjamin Disraeli, speech in the House of Lords (20 February 1877), quoted in William Flavelle Monypenny and George Earle Buckle, The Life of Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield. Volume II. 1860–1881 (1929), p. 994
  • In assuming that peace will be maintained, I assume also that no Great Power would shrink from its responsibilities. If there be a country, for example, one of the most extensive and wealthiest of empires in the world—if that country, from a perverse interpretation of its insular geographical position, turns an indifferent ear to the feelings and the fortunes of Continental Europe, such a course would, I believe, only end in its becoming an object of general plunder. So long as the power and advice of England are felt in the councils of Europe, peace, I believe, will be maintained, and maintained for a long period. Without their presence, war, as has happened before, and too frequently of late, seems to me to be inevitable. I speak on this subject with confidence to the citizens of London, because I know that they are men who are not ashamed of the Empire which their ancestors created; because I know that they are not ashamed of the noblest of human sentiments, now decried by philosophers—the sentiment of patriotism; because I know they will not be beguiled into believing that in maintaining their Empire they may forfeit their liberties. One of the greatest of Romans, when asked what were his politics, replied, Imperium et Libertas. That would not make a bad programme for a British Ministry. It is one from which Her Majesty's advisers do not shrink.
    • Benjamin Disraeli, speech in the Guildhall, London (9 November 1879), quoted in William Flavelle Monypenny and George Earle Buckle, The Life of Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield. Volume II. 1860–1881 (1929), pp. 1366-1367
  • The so-called British Empire was a manifest of the world-around misconception of who ran things, and a disclosure of the popular ignorance of the Great Pirates’ absolute world-controlling through their local-stooge sovereigns and their prime ministers, as only innocuously and locally modified here and there by the separate sovereignties’ internal democratic processes... The British Isles lying off the coast of Europe constituted in effect a fleet of unsinkable ships and naval bases commanding all the great harbours of Europe. Those islands were the possession of the topmost Pirates. Since the Great Pirates were building, maintaining, supplying their ships on those islands, they also logically made up their crews out of the native islanders who were simply seized or commanded aboard by imperial edict. Seeing these British Islanders aboard the top pirate ships the people around the world mistakenly assumed that the world conquest by the Great Pirates was a conquest by the will, ambition, and organization of the British people, Thus was the G. P.’s (Great Pirate's) grand deception victorious. But the people of those islands never had the ambition to go out and conquer the world. As a people they were manipulated by the top pirates and learned to cheer as they were told of their nation’s world prowess. p. 25 These hard, powerful, brilliantly resourceful sea masters... found it necessary to surround themselves with super-loyal, muscular but dull-brained illiterates who could not see nor savvy their masters’ stratagems. There was great safety in the mental dullness of these henchmen. The Great Pirates realized that the only people who could possibly contrive to displace them were the truly bright people. For this reason their number-one strategy was secrecy.
  • Recent American research has shown that as early as 1880, the British Empire was producing an economic return lower than investment in Britain itself, while to preserve it the British taxpayer was paying two and a half times more for defence than the citizens of other developed countries. If its military, administrative, and financial costs were added together, the empire was a bad economic bargain. The Soviet Union is now learning from its own experience in Eastern Europe and Central Asia that Lenin's theory of imperialism is contrary to the facts; the cost of holding colonies abroad is greater than the value of the markets or raw materials they may provide.
  • We are loyal to the Empire first and foremost because we are of the British race.
    • Billy Hughes, speech during the 1917 federal election campaign (c. March 1917), quoted in Neville Kingsley Meaney, Australia and World Crisis, 1914-1923: Volume 2 (2009), p. 202
  • The B[ritish] E[mpire] is a sisterhood of nations—the greatest in the world. Look at this table: There sits AfricaEnglish and Boer; there sits CanadaFrench, Scotch & English; there sits Australia, representing many races—even Maoris; there sits India; here sit the representatives of England, Scotland & Wales; all we ask you to do is to take your place in this sisterhood of free nations. It is an invitation, Mr. De Valera: we invite you here.
    • David Lloyd George, recorded in Frances Stevenson's diary entry (14 July 1921), quoted in Frances Stevenson, Lloyd George: A Diary, ed. A. J. P. Taylor (1971), pp. 227-228
  • We are wasting our Empire. It is the richest Empire in the world...but it is an undeveloped Empire... There is no party that has such interest in developing the Empire as the Liberal Party. The strength and unity of the Empire were due to Liberal ideals. But for Liberalism there would have been no Empire... The British Empire stands in the world for peace, for right, for freedom, for fair play. It is the great fair-play Empire of the world... It ought to be the special task of Liberalism to make this Empire stronger, and stronger, and stronger, because it is the hope of mankind today.
    • David Lloyd George, speech to the Lancashire and Cheshire Federation of the League of Young Liberals in the Free Trade Hall, Manchester (28 April 1923), quoted in The Times (30 April 1923), p. 17
  • As far as I can see, it is the only Empire that takes risks for humanity. There are men who fight for the flag, and rightly should do it for their national interest, but this is the one Empire that goes out armed for right, for freedom. It is the interest of Liberalism to make it strong. That I put as one of the chief items of any Liberal policy I would have anything to do with.
    • David Lloyd George, speech to the Lancashire and Cheshire Federation of the League of Young Liberals in the Free Trade Hall, Manchester (28 April 1923), quoted in The Times (30 April 1923), p. 17
  • He hoped he was not a Jingo, but he still felt that the British were the best Colonial administrators of any government in the world.
    • Herbert Morrison, speech to the Labour Party conference in Brighton (2 October 1935), quoted in The Times (3 October 1935), p. 7
  • [The British Empire is] the greatest secular agency for good now known to mankind.
  • [I]f our ancestors had cared for the rights of other people, the British empire would not have been made.
    • Lord Salisbury's remarks to the Cabinet (8 March 1878), quoted in John Vincent (ed.), The Diaries of Edward Henry Stanley, Fifteenth Earl of Derby (1994), p. 523
  • We are trustees for the British Empire. We have received that trust with all its strength, all its glory, all its traditions; and the one thing we have to care for is that we pass them untarnished to our successors.
  • In our belief, the great empire of England, which we have inherited from our forefathers, concerns all alike, but it concerns those most who depend most for trade and employment upon the constant prosperity of the country. (Cheers.) I do not believe that England, stripped of India, stripped of its colonies, humbled before Europe, would be a happy England for the working classes. (Cheers.) We have received from the self-denial, the heroic actions of our forefathers a great empire. We mean, if we can, to keep it (cheers), to develop it, to strengthen it, to enrich it, and that not in the interests of a class, but of all, and most of all the industrial classes of this country. (Loud and prolonged cheers.)
    • Lord Salisbury, speech in Birmingham (29 March 1883), quoted in The Times (30 March 1883), p. 10
  • The business which brings you here to-day is of a peculiar character, due to the very peculiar character of the Empire over which the Queen rules. It yields to none, it is perhaps superior to all in its greatness, in its extent, in the vastness of its population, in the magnificence of its wealth. But it has this peculiarity which separates it from other empires—the want of continuity. The Empire is separated into parts, and distant parts, by large stretches of ocean, and what we are really here to do is to see how far we must acquiesce in the conditions which that separation causes, how far we can obliterate them by agreement and by organization.
  • The grand success of the British Empire depends not on its having followed any constitutional precedent of the past but on having met a new situation in history with a creation in law; and as a matter of fact the new constitutional system grew empirically and organically out of the practical necessities of the colonial situation.
    • Jan Smuts, quoted in The League of Nations - A Practical Suggestion (1918), pp. 37-38, as cited by W. K. Hancock in Smuts 1: The Sanguine Years 1870-1919, p. 502
  • That the reason the sun never set on the British Empire was that God didn't trust an Englishman in the dark.
    • The Role of the Oceans in the 21st Century (1993), p476.
  • While some studies find that former British colonies have performed better economically and politically than others, virtually none find that colonial rule was itself an effective method of setting up long-term prosperity and stability.
  • Concerning living standards, the Frankema and Waijenburg paper he cites on real wage growth in British colonial Africa 1880 to 1965, which is meant to test the thesis that Africa suffered from impediments to growth due to geography and colonialism, shows instead that both are untrue: “Real wages increased during the colonial era in all of the countries we studied” and that such growth rates “were in line and sometimes even outpaced the growth rate of real wages of unskilled workers in London during the nineteenth century.
  • Land of Hope and Glory, Mother of the Free, How shall we extol thee, who are born of thee? Wider still and wider shall thy bounds be set; God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet, God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet.
    • A.C. Benson, set to music by Edward Elgar, 1901.

The British Empire in World War IEdit

 
The Empire Needs Men, WW I
  • It is impossible in words to describe our sense of gratitude and the thrill of pride with which we always think about the way in which the Empire came to our assistance when we risked the life of these islands upon the struggle for liberty in Europe.
  • The British people realise that they are fighting for the hegemony of the Empire. If necessary we shall continue the war single-handed.
    • Lord Curzon, quoted in King Albert I of Belgium's diary (7 February 1916), cited in R. van Overstraeten (ed.), The War Diaries of Albert I King of the Belgians (1954), p. 85
  • [W]e believe in the British Empire because it stands for liberty; because it has given us all that we have; because it has protected us all our lives; because it now protects us; because we know that without its protection in this war we should long ago have become a German colony; that our lot would have been that of Belgium. We are for the Empire because the Empire is at once our sword and our shield. It is the greatest guarantee of the world's peace, of true civilisation. We are for the Empire because we are true to Australia, to liberty, to ourselves.
  • To be ready for 1918 means victory, and it is a victory in which the British Empire will lead. It will easily then be the first Power in the world. And I rejoice in that not merely for selfish reasons, but because with all its faults, the British Empire is the truest representative of freedom—in the spirit even more than in the letter, of its institutions. We are here representing a great many races. Even in the United Kingdom there are three or four different races, and the Dominions and more especially India, represent a very considerable number of races. Of their free will they have come together to tender spontaneously their assistance to the Empire in this great struggle. That I regard as the triumph of the spirit and tradition of British institutions; and therefore, when I foresee that in 1918, with a special effort on the part of all of us, we shall be able to win not merely a great triumph, but to win it through the agency of the British Empire, I feel that it is worth our while to take steps to organise the Empire now, and to enable it to attain the heights of noble achievement and influence in the glorious task which is set before it.
  • [W]e must profit by the lessons of the war. ... [T]he first lesson it has taught is the immense importance of maintaining the solidarity of the British Empire. (Cheers.) It has rendered a service to humanity the magnitude of which will appear greater and greater as this generation recedes into the past. ... This Empire has never been such a power for good. To suggest that such an organization could fall to pieces after the war would be a crime against civilization. ... The British Empire will be needed after peace to keep wrongs in check. Its mere word will count more next time than it did the last. For the enemy know now what they have got to deal with.

The British Empire in World War IIEdit

 
Over 2.5 million Indians enlisted in the largest volunteer army in history
  • [T]he people of Britain and the Dominions were not much given to self-glorification. We were indeed inclined to a certain self-depreciation which was not always understood outside our own family of nations; but this was an occasion when they might take a proper pride in themselves. The world knew that in the critical time after Hitler's victories in 1940 it was the British Commonwealth and Empire that stood alone in defence of freedom for a whole year. It was British steadfastness that held the line while the forces of freedom were gathering.
    • Clement Attlee, speech to the conference of representatives of the British and Dominion Labour parties in Westminster, London (12 September 1944), quoted in The Times (13 September 1944), p. 8
  • I returned last week...from visiting the Italian front. I was up with the Eighth Army, that Army which will always seem to me to epitomize the unity of our Commonwealth and Empire. I saw there in Italy Canadians, South Africans, and New Zealanders. I recalled talking with General Alexander the great deeds of the Australians. As I saw our lads from all our countries so fine and gallant, I was thrilled with pride.
    • Clement Attlee, speech to the conference of representatives of the British and Dominion Labour parties in Westminster, London (12 September 1944), quoted in The Times (13 September 1944), p. 8

British IndiaEdit

 
British Indian Empire 1909 Imperial Gazetteer of India
  • If we are to receive self-government, we shall have to take it. We shall never be granted self-government. Look at the history of the British Empire and the British nation; freedom-loving as it is, it will not be a party to give freedom to a people who will not take it themselves.
    • Mahatma Gandhi, (4 February 1916), published in The Penguin Book of Twentieth-Century Speeches (1994), p. 43
  • The ideal of a harmonious, stable, communitarian Hindu India living in a state of contentment until disrupted by Moslem invasions and British colonialism is a component of Hindutva ideology, labor history in India must be examined as a related activity.
  • The British exploited differences between the Hindu and Muslim communities in the sub‐continent, creating deep resentments and divisions that persist today due to the 1947 Partition. Similarly, differences between the Hutus and Tutsis that led to the Rwandan genocide were created and exploited by Belgian colonizers.

India’s independence “can be dated to the 1840s, when calls for independence from the British began.

British Cape ColonyEdit

 
British Cape Colony
  • When I was in South Africa nothing was more inspiring, nothing more encouraging, to a Briton to find how the men who had either themselves come from its shore or were the descendants of those who had still retained the old traditions, still remembered that their forefathers were buried in its churchyards, that they spoke a common language, that they were under a common flag, still in their hearts desired to be remembered above all as British subjects, equally entitled with us to a part in the great Empire which they, as well as us, have contributed to make...I did not hesitate, however, to preach to them that it was not enough to shout for Empire...but that they and we alike must be content to make a common sacrifice...in order to secure the common good. To my appeal they rose. And I cannot believe that here in this country, in the mother country, their enthusiasm will not find an echo. They felt, as I felt, and as you feel, that all history is the history of States once powerful and now decaying. Is Britain to be numbered among the decaying States? Has all the glory of the past to be forgotten? Have we to prove ourselves unregenerate sons of the forefathers who left us so glorious an inheritance? Are we to be a decaying State? Are the efforts of all our sons to be frittered away? Are their sacrifices to be vain? Or are we to take up a new youth as members of a great Empire which will continue for generation after generation, the strength, the power, and the glory of the British race?
    • Joseph Chamberlain, speech in Greenock (7 October 1903), quoted in The Times (8 October 1903), p. 8.

British KenyaEdit

 
Flag of British Kenya
  • The nutritional status of cohorts born 20 years before and after colonization did not change significantly, during the colonial period expanding health infrastructure, slightly favoring the central region and urban areas, improved the nutritional and health status of most Kenyans. The net outcome of colonial times was a significant progress in nutrition and health. While anti-colonialism is fashionable it is not supported by evidence.
  • Any claim about…the level of colonial violence, requires not just assumptions about the scale of violence that would have occurred absent colonial rule but also a careful measure of that violence relative to the population, security threat, and security resources in a given territory. One is hard-pressed, to take a prominent example, to find a single example of such care in measurement in the vast critical cholarship on the British counter-insurgency campaign against the Mau in Kenya from 1952 to 1960…At the very least, it is incumbent on scholars to show that the brutalities unleashed by the British in this campaign were not the likely result of a proportionate response given the context and scale of the threat. If this supposedly solid case is wobbly, what does it tell us about the lesser ‘violence’ often cited as invalidating colonialism?

British NigeriaEdit

  • We the Habe wanted them to come, it was the Fulani who did not like it.

Colony of the Gold CoastEdit

Northern RhodesiaEdit

Sierra Leone Colony and ProtectorateEdit

  • Between July 1891 and February 1896, no fewer than 62 convictions admittedly representing a small proportion of offences actually committed were recorded against them for flogging, plundering, and generally maltreating the natives.
    • Casement Report, Page 4 Casement cites an example of difficulties he has seen previously in Sierra-Leone to compare this to the situation in the Congo Free State.

The Commonwealth of AustraliaEdit

  • Australia regards the unveiling of the National Memorial not only as a tribute to her 60,000 dead but as a lasting symbol of that brotherhood of arms and blood which binds the Empire together. They and their brothers in Britain and the other Dominions fought and died to preserve the Empire and safeguard civilisation. They died that we might live as free men. They left us the legacy of liberty and a united Empire. It is for us to treasure their memory not only in the memorial now to be unveiled but in the realisation of those ideals and the maintenance of the Empire for which they gave their lives.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

Wikipedia has an article about:
Wikimedia Commons has media related to: