Questions tagged [british-empire]

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, Britain, England, Scotland, Wales, or Ireland depending on the subject.

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When did the allied “Desert Air Force” in North Africa smash Axis armour?

In the answers to this question, it is mentioned that allied air power "smashed" Axis armour in North Africa. Is there a major battle at which it occurred? Or did it happen during a longer ...
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How would the family of a soldier killed in WW1 recieve his Victoria Cross?

I am writing historical fiction (setting is British Raj) and am researching the Victoria Cross, and List of Victoria Cross recipients by campaign I know soldiers from North Indian villages were ...
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Why did Allied Command maintain passive, especially Indian units in Middle East during the years 1942 and 1943?

I have found, going through stack exchange questions, a pair of links that speak about the presence. Those links are: Statistics on the number of divisions during WWII and the deployment of a (mostly ...
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How many slaves did the British Empire free between 1700 and 1900?

Parliament's 1833 Slavery Abolition Act bought, over a six-year time period, the freedom of all slaves in the British Empire the Territories in the Possession of the East India Company, or to the ...
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Were any of Queen Victoria’s portraits widely publicised?

Background The Article „Lingering between Tradition and Innovation: Photographic Portraits of Empress Dowager Cixi“ (link) describes how Empress Dowager Cixi of the Qing Dynasty was advised to have ...
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How was life in Patna (formerly Patliputra) during the East India Company rule?

How was life in General for Europeans and Indian natives in Patna (Patliputra)during the East India company rule? I do know that there was a large opium factory near the banks of the Ganges where ...
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What do we know about the squadron that evacuated Moore's force after Corunna?

Upon being appointed commander of British forces in Iberia, and Napoleon's subsequent invasion with Le Grande Armee, Sir John Moore's retreated to a defensive position near the port of Corunna, in ...
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Did other British colonies at the time have seats in parliament [duplicate]

I know the American colonies didn’t have a seat, but what about the other British colonies. Did some have it. Like Australia, and the places in Africa.
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How did American colonial rights and conditions compare to those within the British Isles?

A major point of contention between American colonists and British administrators was that the American colonists, being the descendants of Englishmen, allegedly should have been entitled to ...
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Why did a young George Washington sign a document admitting to assassinating a French military officer?

On May 28, 1754, a young Lt. Colonel named George Washington ambushed a French force at Jumonville Glen with assistance from a Iroquois leader named Tanacharison. One of the casualties was the French ...
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Had there been instances of national states banning harmful imports before the mid-19th C Opium Wars?

Background To my current understanding, James Matheson in his »The British trade with China« argued that China might have originally had the right to refuse trading with Britain, but that they lost ...
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Would Victorian era British soldiers wear their short sword bayonets while wearing uniform when off duty?

In depictions of the Victorian era we often see lower ranks of soldiers wearing uniform when off duty in pubs or frequenting fairs, or just milling about as extras in the background etc. My question ...
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Before 1 July 1997, could British Nationals (Overseas) born in Hong Kong acquire British citizenship?

I'm asking just about people born in HK who were just BN(O), weren't British citizens, and had no other citizenship or nationality. Is this Reddit comment right? Andalucia1453. 10 points 14 ...
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What uniform is Alexander Duncan McLennan wearing?

I am trying to identify this uniform. It’s a photo of my great grandfather Alexander Duncan McLennan 1861 - 1919. He was born in Glasgow in 1861 so was Scottish. The only record I can find of an A ...
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Gregorian dating in the Julian time period?

William Penn wrote about his friend and my 9th great grandfather, Cuthbert Hayhurst, dying in 1682. I have seen the letter in Penn's writing. How is it that he dated the death in 1682 when the ...
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Could British India have realistically allied with both Afghanistan and the Punjab?

In his book The Return of a King, historian William Dalrymple is strongly critical of British policy toward Afghanistan prior to the disastrous invasion of 1839. He implies, quoting the British envoy ...
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Where can I find English letters written to someone's superior to commend that someone, between 1700-1900?

I'm trying to find missives written in Modern English between 1700-1900, where after Person 1 helps Person 2 with something, P2 writes P1's superior (call her P3) to commend P1. I'm hoping to read ...
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Why didn't Delhi became part of Pakistan?

I have read about Pakistan Movement (PM), about the Partition of India between the two and I want to know why Delhi didn't became part of Pakistan (in contrast to Edirne of the Ottoman Empire which ...
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Why is 26th January India's Republic Day?

I read on Wikipedia that 26 January celebrated as India's Republic Day because it is on this day in the year 1929 that the Indian National Congress proclaimed the declaration of independence as ...
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Can you identify this British Army uniform, worn in India circa 1920?

This is my grandfather, John P Lockton, and he was based at Raniket in North India. My grandmother died in 1925 while giving birth to my twin uncles; both survived! My mother was only 5 years old at ...
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Did the British screw Lee Kuan Yew over by withdrawing their naval presence earlier than intended?

This Reddit comment alleges Singapore, remember, gained its independence from Malaysia, not Britain outright, and the British even screwed Lee Kuan-yew over by pulling out their naval presence ...
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Why weren't the New Territories ceded to the British instead of leased in 1898?

Note New Territories is abbreviated to NT. Here's an overview of the UK's acquisition of HK - The handover of Hong Kong was in 1997 so it's safe to discuss the PRC's land policy in Hong Kong. But ...
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How did early colonial Australia deal with its gender imbalance?

Australia was a penal colony, so since there are more male criminals than female, it stands to reason that Australia would have a large gender imbalance with more men than women. Indeed, Wikipedia's ...
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What happened to the British convicts transported to America after the American Revolution?

From the early 1600s until the American Revolution of 1776, the British colonies in North America received transported British criminals for, what I have read, a term of 6 to 14 years. I have read (...
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Was Murud-Janjira independent until it became part of India?

I read up on Murud-Janjira, a fort off the coast of mainland India. It appears that the Siddis managed to hold onto the fort despite Dutch, Maratha, and British East India Company attacks. In the ...
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How many British people died due to war/trading activity in the East India Company (EIC)

Are there estimates that give an approximation of the total number of casualities per year or at least per decade (e.g. in the way Wrigley and Schofield report outmigration numbers in their Population ...
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Does the phrase “The empire on which the sun never sets” predate knowledge that the world is round? [closed]

I always assumed that this phrase was coined for the British Empire in relatively modern history, and therefore refers to there being British territories in every time zone. However, the Wikipedia ...
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Ports with ships in the commercial Halifax trade, late 18th Century

Halifax, Nova Scotia, was founded by the British in 1749; I am interested in the commercial trade during the French Revolutionary Wars, 1792 thru 1798, which is the period of the First Coalition. The ...
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530 views

How large were Victorian British military forces?

I was wondering roughly how many people were members of military services in Britain during the later Victorian era, and had no luck finding any information on the subject online, apart from the ...
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346 views

When did tea become “a thing” in England?

Tea was certainly available to the aristocracy from at least the mid 18th century, but the concept of "tea" (as in tea break, afternoon tea, high tea, etc.) didn't become prominent until its adoption ...
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What was the role of Midnapore town in present day West Bengal of India in the armed struggle for freedom in Bengal province of British India?

The famous extremist freedom fighter Khudiram Bose from Midnapore who was the first extremist freedom fighter in British India to be hung is quite famous. Who were all the famous extremist freedom ...
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In WWI, How were the Germans able to maintain a submarine blockade of Britain?

How come that in WWI, the Germans were able to maintain a submarine blockade of Britain when GB was clearly the dominant naval power? Did the British Empire have no subs of their own? Were they bound ...
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Did Iqbal offer funeral prayers for the killer of someone who wrote a blasphemous book?

In 1929, Ilmuddin killed a man called Rajpal for writing a blasphemous book against Muhammad. He was later hanged by the British government. According to several sources (like here), the national ...
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When did the accusations of convict stain against white Australians stop being culturally significant?

"White Australians" in the 19th and early 20th century were generally subject to a cultural belief of genetic criminality from other British settler societies, this varied from cultural claims to ...
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143 views

Was there someone popularly labeled by public as “Lord Mum”?

My teacher said in a motivational speech that there was a person (some king or duke etc) who had to make a speech/sermon after assuming his hereditary office. But when he appeared before the public he ...
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Is there any book depicting British rule in India from the eyes of British?

Frankly speaking, most of the history written from the minds of Indians depict British as the brutal enemy. I am very tired of this view, as an Indian, I wanted to know any book depicting British rule ...
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Post world war one mandates model

Pre World War One and during World War One, the game of world politics was that of direct empirical rule, whereas afterwards, the mandate model was accepted. This stated that for A type mandates there ...
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Was The Great Game a war? [closed]

I know that The Great Game was between UK & Russia and done through parts of Asia, Middle East & Europe. I was wondering if the Great Game was basically two empires trying fighting each other ...
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What portion of the finance industry was British prior to WWI?

It's sometimes stated that Britain was the financial capital of the world prior to the First World War, and that it took extraordinary war spending like that in the Great War to shift the capital to ...
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What prevented the Indian Army to wrest Kashmir from Pakistan despite the UN Security Council's resolutions of 1948-49?

In August 1947, when the British partitioned their Indian colony into two countries of India and Pakistan, the state of Kashmir was being ruled by a Hari Singh one of whose ancestor, named Gulab Singh,...
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Were there any Muslims left in the Indian side of the Punjab after the 1947 riots?

As is well-known to those acquainted with the history of the Indo-Pak subcontinent, there were large-scale riots in Punjab in 1947 when the province of the British Indian colony was partitioned along ...
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In Britain, what was the “Junior Service” in 1913?

I read a marriage notice from 1913, which noted that the father of the groom "has four sons abroad, three having served with distinction in the junior Service". (West Sussex Gazette, Thu 13 Feb 1913, ...
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183 views

Before Liberty Ships became widely available, what kind of cargo ships supplied Britain? [closed]

I would like to know what kind of cargo ships supplied Britain during the early years of WW2, before Liberty Ships became available in huge numbers. The approximate timeframe I'm interested in is 1939 ...
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Why did the French return all the Dutch Colonies to the Netherlands in Paris Treaty?

It seems to me that France helped Holland a lot in the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War. And also gave all Dutch colonies back to Holland in the 1783 Treaty of Paris? I was wondering why was that and what ...
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How profitable was India for the British Empire in the 1800s?

I recently read Imperial Twilight, an excellent history of the opium wars. The author claims several times that while the British trade with China was very lucrative, India was by contrast "...
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Why did Black and Asian immigrants from the Empire not come to Britain in substantial numbers until after WW2?

The Windrush saga in the British media has thrown light on the situation of post-WW2 migrants from the British Empire - particularly the Caribbean, India and Pakistan - who came to the UK in the ...
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Was the British Army a millionaire factory in the early 20th century?

I'm reading "Kenya Diary" by Richard Meinertzhagen where he relates his experiences as a junior officer in the British army around 1902. At one point he states that during his 5 year service in East ...
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What regiments of the British East India Company were in southeastern India in the late 1790s?

I have been researching ranks and positions that existed in various regiments and civil branches of the British East India Company during the late 1790s to early 1800s. Those aren't as hard as finding ...
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Why did the colonies fight Cresap's War?

I am reading about Cresap's War. I do not fully understand why colonies within the British Empire had wars with one another. Did the British Colonies in America have independent rules, like the ...
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Did Britain look into taking California?

The Spanish colonized California in part to forestall the expansion of other empires. The territory was in danger of invasion throughout the Spanish and Mexican eras (1769-1846). Visitors and ...

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