British Empire was known to be “the empire on which sun never sets” and when Queen Victoria came to throne in 1873, Britain already governed Canada, Australia, New Zealand and parts of India, South America and Africa. Here are some more interesting facts about British Empire.
1. Started With…
Talking about British rule, one instantly thinks about the East India Trading Company which also made England a super-power.
England then began its way to an ultimate global empire. In the 17th century, it started making colonies in North America and India which lead to the conquest of Netherlands and France after the Anglo-Dutch war.
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2. Inspiration For Germany
The British Empire stood as an inspiration for other nations, most notably Germany. Germany was infamous for starting wars in Europe. That was partly because they wanted an Empire like the one that Britain had established.
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3. Commonwealth Games
The Commonwealth Games began as a part of British Empire in Canada, 1930. An interesting fact about this is that its latest members, Rwanda and Mozambique, were never a part of the Empire.
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The British Empire was a populated one. It ranked at number fifth when it came to the most populous Empire in the world.
The Britishers had to lose its American colonies which were very prominent to them. This was mainly due to the American War of Independence.
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British Empire was considered one of the most economically strong empires, though it all changed when Germany and America rose to power in the 20th century.
7. Still Working
The British Empire still comprises 14 sovereign territories of UK called the British Overseas Territories (BOT).
8. American War Again
During the American Revolution, many British soldiers serving in the colonies actually brought their wives and children along. Women in the army served as nurses, washer women, and sutlers or took jobs to support their families. Approximately 20-25% of soldiers serving in America had their wives and children with them.
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9. British Army
The first British “standing army” was formed in 1661. Before that, armies had only been raised when they were needed. Super powerful, eh?
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10. Victoria Cross
In 1863, Queen Victorian commissioned the Victoria Cross during the Crimean War. It is the highest honor to be awarded to a member of the British Armed Forces and is made up from not gold but scrap metal taken from a Russian cannon captured during the war. Due to its rarity, the medal is a highly sought after item, and once fetched £400,000 at auction.
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11. WW I/WW II
Whereas the British Empire took over most of the German and American colonies in WW I, in WW II, Japan captured most of the British’s south-east Asian colonies.
12. Not so Prestigious Anymore
Britain lost its prestige when Japan captured south-east Asian colonies of the British Empire and it remained the same even after when Japan was defeated by the allies. This was the time when the Britishers realized that it has come to an end. India and Pakistan got its Independence soon after in 1947.
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13. The End
British Empire ended when it transferred Hong Kong back to China in 1997.