In the nineteenth century, the industrial
revolution and population growth in Europe gave rise to a new impetus for
colonial expansion, of which the United Kingdom is one of the main players.
The British colonial empire is a
territorial ensemble governed or administered by the United Kingdom. At its
apogee in the early 20th century, it was the first power and colonial empire in
the world. It then brought together a quarter of the world’s population, or
more than 400 millions of inhabitants (Maddison 2001:98), and spread over
territories covering 30 million km² (Ferguson 2004:15). It was then the
greatest empire of all time.
To compare, the French colonial empire at
its apogee before the Second World War covered 12 million km² and had “just” 70
In the first place, I will explain the
different stages of British colonization, before talking about the control of
the Empire’s domination and statutes. Then I will see the economic and cultural
power imposed on these territories. Finally, I will conclude with inner and
outer resistance to this imperialism and the legacy of this Empire on this day.