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Статьи » География » The rise and fall of the British empire
The rise and fall of the British empire

The rise and fall of the British empire



British Empire флаг Британской империиThe British Isles are situated on the crossways of sea routes. That helped the British fleet to develop very early in history. In the 17th century Britain became not only the «workshop of the world» but also «the mistress of the seas». Her ships carried the products of British industries all over the world and brought back food and raw materials.


Large territories in India, Australia, America and Africa became dependent on the British Empire. Britain sent to these overseas lands soldiers and clerks to look after its property. Settlers from Britain moved to these new lands in search of riches. Some colonies were self-governing or dominions such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Others like India, Africa and the West Indies were ruled by a governor appointed from Britain.


At the period of its prosperity the British Empire covered one quarter of the earth and had one quarter of the world's population.


At the end of the 19th century Britain began to lose industrial supremacy to the United States and Germany, The capitalists in Britain exported money to different countries all over the world where labour and raw materials were cheap. The home industry and agriculture were not progressing. The population of the colonies began to struggle against the British colonists. The colonial wars took much money and people from the British Empire.


The Great October Socialist Revolution intensified national liberation movement in India, Africa and other colonial countries. In 1921 Afghanistan got its independence and later Egypt became independent, too.


A new era of the colonial liberation movement opened after the Second World War when the powerful union of socialist countries with the U.S.S.R. at the head came to life.


India, Burma, Pakistan and many colonies in Africa became independent. Britain lost military strength and employment for its population. W. Churchill, the British Prime Minister, said in Parliament in 1952, «Tragic is the sight of the powerful British Empire which has no money to pay the monthly bills».




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