Essay Example on British Empire: Rise of an Imperial Power

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1523 Words
Date:  2023-01-11


British imperialism is the process by which Britain created an empire around the world by spreading the rule and authority of British monarchy into other territories. The main objective was to trade. These territories became British colonies whose trade policies were controlled by the British Empire. Britain was one of the nations from Europe that became civilized and was able to conquer most parts of the world including Asia, America, and Africa.They became part of the British Empire and were governed by force using British laws and the queen was the overall leader of these foreign lands. Britain used force to pursue its interest overseas and because of their strong military that was more technologically advanced; they were able to have their way especially in search of raw materials, trade commodities and agricultural land to boost their economy with the aim of becoming a European powerhouse. England used imperialism to serve its interests (Hopkins et al 13). The conquered states and foreign territories were governed by ruthless British governors and emperors who helped advance British and the Monarchy's interest in other parts of the World.

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Britain was fighting with other European powers such as Germany and France to have control and acquiring of foreign territories which were known as colonies became a new way of competing with each other and British advanced this policy to their level best-controlling majority of the foreign territories (Newsinger 15). During the period of 1650 to 1960, British imperialism was widespread. Imperialism is credited for having helped the growth of transoceanic trade between Europe and other continents where raw materials and agricultural products would get to the European market that was more civilized and had industries that required the raw materials and a population to feed. England military strength and success over the neighboring European countries helped advance their control over other territories and spread British imperialism with commercial interest with the intention of gaining more economic strength over her European neighbors (Pradella 126). Each nation in Europe wanted to feel superior over the other and England did this by spreading British imperialism to other territories. British imperial policies were supported by the advanced civilization over most foreign territories around the world together with their highly industrialized society. This meant that British had the capacity to influence their policies especially trade over a wide region with the help of improved mode of ocean transport that was facilitated the building of advanced trade ships (Hopkins et al 19).

Effects of British imperialism on England History

Both in British Africa and British India, England is seen as having opened up these countries to global trade even after their independence though at first this was done with selfish interests. In British Africa, the British government introduced the settler economy by taking over the most fertile regions where they practiced large scale agriculture.They benefited from the cheap labor provided by the native communities thus experiencing the minimal cost of production. They built railways that opened up these regions to the international oceanic trade routes that promoted trade globalization (Levine 56). Even after the British left these countries, the railways built by the English government continued to be used by the successive native governments thus the impact of the settler economy and the railway lines built was viewed as beneficial in the long run and the history of the British imperialism had a positive image. The natives viewed British farmers as having introduced modern ways of farming which were continued even after the British left. Some of the governance and infrastructural structures left courtesy of British imperialism were helpful to the native countries in setting up their own governance and economic structures. British imperialism was considered to have impacted positively in the history of England (Hobson 79).

British imperialism gave England global influence. This impacted positively on the history of England as many countries recognize Britain as a powerful state even today courtesy of its earlier influence over many territories. Britain is still viewed as a global power and any global decision has to be endorsed by the British government for it to appear to have global support. Without British support, most policies advanced by the western powers would lose credibility and political strength needed to implement them. Most countries that were controlled through British imperialism have historical respect for the state of Britain (Hopkins et al 42). Some even formed a common organization such as the Commonwealth countries which is formed by the countries which were under the British imperialism. It is based on the history of England that these countries have with England which was as a result of the historical British imperialism. Having colonies gave Britain global influence over other European countries such as Germany which lost its colonies after the Second World War. Loss of these colonies diminished Germany's global presence to the advantage of Britain which has been helpful to Britain even today. Britain has more global influence compared to Germany courtesy of the imperialist policy. It impacted positively to the history of England (Evans 30).

Effects of British imperialism on the World History

The world could not have experienced global trade in the since the 16th century the way it did were it not for the impact of British imperialism. Britain was more civilized and advanced technologically and thus was able to build ships that promoted global trade and cultural exchanges thus promoting globalization through global trade. Using advanced technology then, Britain was able to open up new trade routes that exist till today thus connecting different parts of the world to each other and promoting trade (Hopkins et al 52). Through British imperialism, foreign territories and colonies were developed and opened up to civilization as most had not experienced advanced technology existing in Europe then. Great discoveries of raw materials and agricultural products were made by British traders and researchers. Occupation of foreign territories through the policy of British imperialism helped open up the world and today the word has become a global village courtesy of the earlier explorations done by the British Empire in the quest for power and global control (Dawson 165).

British imperialism helped in the development of countries and their boundaries as they are known today. Most countries were divided along tribal lines that could not have formed a country but with the spread of British imperialism, these countries were divided into countries. For example, British Africa was divided up into countries during the colonial period such as Ghana and Kenya.Before British occupation, these regions were divided up as chiefdoms that were small in size (Evans 27). British imperialism helped build the economies of the newly created countries with borders and introduced governance structures that helped in the formation of states as opposed to tribal regions with no formal governance structures. The world as it is known today with different countries and their names was courtesy of British imperialism (Gardner 22).

However, British imperialism impacted negatively too on the history of England and the world in general. British imperialism was used as a tool of exploiting foreign territories and colonies that were weak enough not to resist British invasion. Natives of the foreign regions conquered by the British were denied the right to their land and natural resources. British authorities governed these regions and transferred raw materials back to England with brute force while occupying and farming the native lands with utmost impunity (Hobson 79). They had a powerful military that was more advanced technologically and thus were able to force natives into submissions while taking away their natural resources and arable lands. For example, the settler economy was meant to benefit the British farmers and not the local communities. Violence and exploitation advanced by the British Empire over conquered territories tainted the history of England (Dawson 160).


British Empire had started by discovering new lands and trade routes and building them up. However, this changed later to exploitation especially for British Africa and British India. British Empire helped advance the ideals of England and the queen around the world and for more than three decades Britain controlled the globe together with other European powers such as Germany and France. They were more civilized and technologically advanced compared to other continents. The expansion of the British Empire impacted both negatively and positively to the history of England and the monarchy in general. It is through the expansion of the British imperialism that Britain has retained the global influence to date. It remains a global power whose opinion is considered before a global decision especially in trade and military intervention is made.

Works cited

Dawson, Graham. Soldier heroes: British adventure, empire and the imagining of masculinities. Routledge, (2013):155-170.

Evans, Eric J. The Forging of the Modern State: Early Industrial Britain, 1783-c. 1870. Routledge, (2018):25-36.

Gardner, Leigh. Taxing colonial Africa: the political economy of British imperialism. Oxford University Press, 2012.

Hobson, John Atkinson. Imperialism. Cambridge University Press, (2011):76-82.

Hopkins, Anthony G., and Peter J. Cain. British Imperialism: 1688-2015. Routledge,(2016):13-57.

Levine, Philippa. The British Empire: sunrise to sunset. Routledge, (2013):56-72.

Newsinger, John. The blood never dried: a people's history of the British Empire. Bookmarks, (2013):13-19.

Pradella, Lucia. "Imperialism and capitalist development in Marx's capital." Historical Materialism 21.2 (2013): 117-147.

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