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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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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Why did the British “Indian” army come disproportionately from particular regions?

During World War II, the British field several armies that included Indians, but the most "Indian" of these, was the 14th Army, in which 8 of 13 divisions were predominantly "Indian." Of the ...
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Identifying the Soldier in this minature painting

I bought a minature painting in a wooden / gilt frame. The portrait is signed Lila Sampson. Inside the frame was another miniature painting of a man in uniform. I am trying to find out more about both ...
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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. ...
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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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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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Can this British Army uniform, worn in India circa 1920, be identified?

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 mothers 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?

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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What are the full names of the discoverers of the Seria oil field?

History books and the Brunei Shell Petroleum page say that the Seria oil field was jointly discovered by F.F. Marriot (British Malayan Petroleum Company) and by T.G. Cochrane (Sarawak Oilfields ...
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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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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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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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Why did the US have a plan for the event of war against Britain in the 1920s?

By pure chance, I found out there was a Plan red for the event of war between the states and Britain. The plan was conceived in the late 20s and early 30s of the previous century. It seems the article ...
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Is the photograph “England’s Revenge in India” real, staged, or fake?

Might have an interesting puzzle for you here… This picture, titled "England's Revenge in India", appeared in a Nazi propaganda book against Britain published in 1941: The propaganda book claims ...
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Was Winston Churchill really responsible for the 1943 Bengal famine? [closed]

Indians think that he was the one responsible for famine. Is there any other fact that contradicts above ?
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Why does Latin America have a higher number of surviving Native Americans than North America?

Despite having the same disease susceptibility and technological inferiority against the Europeans, it seems that Native Americans have much more surviving descendants in Latin America compared to ...
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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 ...
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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?
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Was the British Empire bigger than the combined empires of the Iberian Union in terms of claimed land area?

The Iberian Empire (1580-1640 AD), under Phillip II, a Habsburg, was a period when there was only one crown in the Iberian Peninsula. The 16th Century had been an Age of Discovery and Exploration for ...
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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 ...
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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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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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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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What class / type of ship was the “Dragon” from Rotterdam c. 1732?

I am attempting to determine the class, size, features, history of the British ship "Dragon" c. 1732 that was known to arrive in Philadelphia on September 30, 1732 with 173 men, women and children ...
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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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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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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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295 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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When was the White Feather first used as a symbol of cowardice?

During WWI in Britain (and in some British colonies), a white feather was commonly given to men who were seen as cowards for not enlisting. The idea of using a white feather comes supposedly from ...
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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?
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Where is the Nemesis?

Where is the Nemesis today? Is it simply 'lost at sea', at a museum somewhere, or more likely (as it was an EIC vessel), was it sold for scrap? I did a brief search (of the web), but couldnt find it. ...
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British Diplomat's Guide to the Balkan Races

Reportedly (from a source I cannot recall) the British had a very "interesting" guide about the Balkans. It had a sort of cheat sheet to the peoples around that area, with the stereotypical ...
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What were the causes of the “Dardanelles” fiasco in World War I

During World War II, the Allies sent supplies to the Soviet Union via Murmansk/Archangelsk in the north, via Persia and the Caspian Sea in the south, and via the Tran-Siberian railroad. Why didn't ...
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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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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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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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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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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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Why did the UK allow India to be a republic rather than a democratic parliament under the British Monarch?

In the UK, there is a democratically elected prime minister but the Monarch is the Head of State, although the latter is not (directly) involved in government. Likewise, the UK could have done the ...
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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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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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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 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 ...
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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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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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175 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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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 ...