For questions regarding the overseas empire established by Britain, beginning with England's overseas colonies and trading posts in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, and reaching a quarter of the Earth's land surface by 1922. Domestic British questions should be directed as United-Kingdom, ...

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Why did Canada not join the American Revolution?

America declared independence from Britain and fought a war of independence. Several states joined the fight, however, Canada remained British. Why did the American rebellion and war of independence ...
24
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1answer
1k views

Did the end of the British Raj in India create an economic loss for Britain?

I know the economic downturn of the World War and the victory of the Labour Party played some role in Britain deciding to quit India. Did GB have any serious economic implications because of this? ...
18
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7answers
2k views

Who was responsible for the partition of India?

Who was responsible for the partition of India? Did it happen due to Mohammed Ali Jinnah or Mahatma Gandhi? Or were the British of the view that the country needed to be divided?
18
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3answers
4k views

What were the reasons that the British colonies in North America rebelled but not others?

I know more about the American War of Independence than about other British colonies, but I have begun to wonder why was it just America. The British had colonies in other places but there doesn't ...
17
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5answers
2k views

Why did the Dutch, French & British acquire minor colonies in South America?

We know that South America was partitioned between Spain and Portugal in the early days of empire when Spain and Portugal were the major powers. Later, in the 19th century, when Spain and Portugal ...
16
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3answers
524 views

Why were the British so reluctant to allow Jewish migration to Palestine?

Not sure this is the correct forum to ask this, but i'm currently reading 'Exodus' by Leon Uris, and i'm curious as to why the British were so reluctant in letting jewish people in Palestine. This ...
16
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1answer
568 views

What was used instead of toilet paper in the US and the UK prior to 1900?

I read in this Wikipedia article that toilet paper came to be available only around 1920. On the other hand, this article says bidets were never popular in the UK and the US. Moreover, colonies of ...
15
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3answers
2k views

How did the British Navy pass orders to its fleet before radio?

During the 18th and 19th century, the British Navy had ships all over the world, and communicating with them had to be difficult. After all, the Battle of New Orleans happened after the British had ...
15
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1answer
282 views

In 19th century India, pre and post Raj, did any private British citizens actually own land in India?

I've never been able to clarify this question. From what I can tell, the land that the British occupied in India was either "owned" (if this is the right term) by the Company during the time of its ...
13
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2answers
989 views

World War 1 Indian propaganda posters

In World War 1, because war broke out between the triple entente and the central powers (and they happened to have a lot of foreign colonies), the allies made posters to recruit soldiers from all ...
12
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2answers
414 views

Why did the British not introduce the sterling in India?

The question is about the adoption of currency during imperialist rule. Why did the British persist with the local currency, the rupee? What impediments did the British face in implementing the ...
12
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2answers
2k views

Why did Mozambique join the British Commonwealth?

In short, the Commonwealth originated in the British Empire, as an association of Britain and its former colonies. Why did Mozambique (a former Portuguese colony) join?
12
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2answers
428 views

Role of Indian princes and aristocratic landowners under British colonial rule?

I am currently reading Ludwig von Mises' Human Action and find it rewarding in various ways. For instance, von Mises points out the following about volunteers' roles even around autocratic rulers: ...
11
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8answers
7k views

Why did Canada, Australia and New Zealand separate from UK?

I asked this question in various places in the Web. I haven't received a clear answer. The USA separated from the UK because the people felt that they are not British, and they weren't. Weren't ...
11
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2answers
1k views

Why was Britain willing to return Hong Kong but not Gibraltar?

Why was Britain willing to return Hong Kong to China, but not Gibraltar to Spain? Was it because Gibraltar has more strategic value than Hong Kong?
11
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2answers
614 views

English monarchs on the battlefield

It seems that in English 'older times' it was expected for the King or monarch to lead the armies in battle. My research suggests that this was the case in the 12th century in the civil war between ...
11
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3answers
3k views

How heavily were the British taxing their American colonies?

The British levied several taxes on the American Colonists (13), which were at least part of the reason for the American Revolution. Were the British taxing the 13 colonies for more money than was ...
11
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2answers
733 views

When did navies stop giving out a drink ration to their sailors?

I seem to remember that the British Navy, and the US Navy maybe, used to give out a ration of alcohol to sailors each day. When did this practice stop, and why?
11
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1answer
478 views

What weapons were manufactured in India by the British forces which were used during world wars?

Recently I came across references to a weapon called the Bangalore Torpedo, which was used in the world wars. These weapons were made in India by the British Indian Army. I also happened to see ...
10
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2answers
887 views

Purpose of Guinea in British monetary history

I read about Guinea itself, how it was made, but I don't really understand why would anybody keep a money worth 5% more than an existing denomination like Pound. I can accept the 1/20 and 1/12 ...
10
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4answers
605 views

Why was the Irish War of Independence in 1918 successful when other revolts failed?

In a nutshell, what events, occurrences, or mishaps took place that allowed the Irish to win the war of Independence over what could arguably be the most powerful nation of the time, when they were ...
10
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2answers
2k views

How does the amount of equipment carried by various historical infantries compare?

I've heard many statements amount the weight of supplies and munition carried by soldiers of various historical forces. In particular, I've heard many comments about the amount that the British ...
10
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3answers
1k views

Is there a correlation between the colonial power and the stability/success of the post colonial state?

Looking at the history of Ghana relative to many post-colonial African states, it appears to be quite a successful and stable nation-state, both politically and economically, compared to many other ...
10
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3answers
1k views

How severe was the 1943 Bengal Famine?

I read this in a comment to a newspaper article: By far the largest British empire human loss in the Second World War was the three million Bengalis who perished in a famine in 1943 that Churchill ...
10
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3answers
708 views

When did the British monarch become an emperor?

When did the British monarch become an Emperor? I know that Queen Victoria became Empress of India, that there is an order of the British Empire, but is there such a thing as a British Emperor?
10
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2answers
323 views

Approximately what was the short-term economic loss to Britain as a result of the Revolutionary War being lost?

Is there any research that shows what the economic impact was to the British economy stemming from the 13 Colonies obtaining independence? It could be either a narrower estimate of purely tax losses ...
9
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4answers
519 views

What is this strange uniform?

Colonel John Tiltman wears a very strange uniform in this picture, dated 1919. The original webpage where I saw the picture is http://www.colossus-computer.com/colossus1.html.
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5answers
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Was democracy present in India before British colonization?

My friend claims that India had democracy before the British colonized it. I am skeptical and have failed to find any references to democracy in India within the last thousand years. I found one weak ...
9
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1answer
133 views

How different were Labour and Conservative party lines on race immigration and empire in around 1962?

Though obviously I want responses to focus on concrete answers and evidence for the title question, I am ultimately interested in how likely it would have been for the 1962 Commonwealth Immigration ...
9
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2answers
522 views

Did any of the 50 Destroyers swapped for bases with Great Britain in 1940 sink any Axis military vessels?

In 1940 the United States traded fifty mothballed WW1 Destroyers to England in exchange for land rights in areas of the British Empire. Were any of those fifty ships credited with sinking an Axis ...
9
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2answers
568 views

Maintaining the status quo throughout the British Colonies of North America

Though Nathanial Bacon himself may not have been poor, the rebellion he became a leader of in 1676 eventually proved to be evidence of the class envy that existed in the British colonies of North ...
8
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3answers
3k views

In the British empire, what was the difference between a Governor General and a Viceroy?

In the many colonies of the British empire, it seems that the rulers of some were known as Governors General and others were officially titled as Viceroys. Was there a practical distinction between ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

When did the first riots between Hindus and Muslims happen in India?

I have studied in school that the British used the Divide and Rule strategy to rule in India. But, for them to think of applying Divide and Rule, I think some sort of communal tension between Hindus ...
8
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2answers
266 views

Could Great Britain have built the British Empire if it was not the pioneer of the Industrial Revolution?

Could Great Britain have built the British Empire if it was not the pioneer of the Industrial Revolution? Put another way: Was the Industrial Revolution the single key over-riding factor to its ...
8
votes
1answer
285 views

Did the British somehow imitate the Greek colonizers in India?

First of all I wonder whether the British headdress in India was somehow designed to resemble the headdress of the Indo-Greeks and Greco-Bactrians? For example, this is the image of Eucratides I, the ...
8
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2answers
263 views
8
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2answers
440 views

Did WWII Delay Indian Independence?

During WWII, Gandhi said that Indians should adopt a compromising attitude towards the British due to the stresses of war. Did this prolong the (near) inactivity of the Indian National Movement? Or ...
7
votes
2answers
335 views

How long would it take to travel from England to western Africa in the late 1890's?

I am trying to do some research for a book I am planning to write, and I would like to know how long it would take for a troop transport ship to travel from England to the Gold Coast region of Africa. ...
7
votes
1answer
568 views

Which parts of the Townshend Act were repealed in 1770?

The Townshend Acts were passed in 1767 and partially repealed in 1770. Which clauses were repealed at that time? I've looked around and found the original text, but I cannot find specifically what ...
7
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1answer
302 views

Did the Ottoman Empire lose some control over Egypt during the Crimean War?

What were the effects of the Crimean War on the relationship between the British and Ottoman empires? Did they lose partial control over Egypt?
7
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0answers
101 views

Did Britain briefly recognize Mahmud Barzanji as King of Kurdistan?

The wiki entry on Mahmud Barzanji is very poorly written and very far from neutral. I turned to the Russian entry which is at least well-written and contains many interesting facts - some of them ...
6
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3answers
511 views

Effect of propaganda during the American War of Independence

In what way did propaganda play a part in the solidifying of American identity in the American War of Independence, and how was propaganda used by the British at home to generate support for the war? ...
6
votes
1answer
121 views

What are the immediate legal effects of rendering a royal branch illegitimate?

I recently came across this video which claims that Edward IV was probably illegitimate, effectively rendering the branch leading to the Windsors also illegitimate. That's quite a bold statement to ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

How did Egypt become a protectorate of the British empire?

How did Egypt become a protectorate of the British empire in 1914? (Feel free to add more content to this question)
6
votes
1answer
165 views

Who started trams in Delhi?

This TOI article says ' trams started operating in Delhi on March 6, 1908, at the behest of Lord Hardinge.' But Lord Hardinge became Viceroy of India in 1910. And it was Lord Minto who was the ...
6
votes
1answer
153 views

Does anyone have a concrete example of the British Empire using revolution to gain control over foreign resources, governments?

I can't remember where I read this but in multiple sources I've read the saying that the "The British Empire could unfurl the winds of revolution" to achieve control over foreign resources, ...
5
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2answers
542 views

Why did East India Company accept Government of India Act 1858?

In 1858, British parliament passed Government of India Act which contained provisions of liquidation of the company and transference of assets, governance to British crown. The act was going to kill ...
5
votes
2answers
960 views

What is the basic structure of British Politics?

This is obviously an extremely broad (but answerable!) question, and I honestly don't know where to start and have no knowledge whatsoever about the topic. Basically I would like to know how the ...
5
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2answers
2k views

What impact did the Seven Years War have on the American Revolution?

What impact did the Seven Years War have on the American Revolution?
5
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4answers
495 views

What were the key differences between United States' and Indian revolutions?

The Thirteen Colonies and Indian subcontinent were two of the most significant colonies of the British Empire, yet the former was able to gain independence via a rebellion relatively early on, whilst ...