The British Empire was founded in 1707 by the merger of the kingdoms of Scotland and England in the late 16th and early 17th century. At its peak, it was the biggest and largest empire in history, and it ruled the world for almost a century. It is estimated that at its height, it covered approximately 2.5 million km2 (1 million sq mi) and had about 800 million people living within its borders.
Britain's monarchs were also crowned king or queen of Ireland until the execution of Charles I. Ireland remained part of the British Isles but had its own government and laws they could decide what role, if any, they wanted with the Empire.
In 1815 Britain defeated France in a series of wars known as The Napoleonic Wars. This marked the end of the French Empire and the beginning of the British Empire.
So, the British Empire started in 1707 and ended in 1949 when it withdrew from India.
I am sure you have many more questions about this era so feel free to ask in the comments section below.
It all started with England's foreign colonies and commercial stations established during the late 16th and early 18th centuries. For more than a century, it was the world's most powerful superpower and the biggest empire in history.
1707 England, and, after 1707, Great Britain, rose to become the world's major colonial power in the 18th century, with France as its principal adversary on the imperial arena. The English foreign possessions before to 1707 formed the foundation of the First British Empire. The acquisition of more land led to the development of trade which in turn produced more resources that were brought back to Europe or transformed into European products. This was the origin of the industrial revolution.
1815 With the ending of the Napoleonic Wars, Europe became divided into two opposing alliances: the First French Empire under Napoleon I and the Kingdom of Prussia. The main issue for these states was which one would be able to defeat the other in an open battle. In the end, it was the Royal Navy that made sure that Napoleon could not invade England, while King Frederick William III could not invade France. Thus, Britain and Germany were able to make peace with each other after years of fighting.
1914-18 During World War I, Britain sent troops overseas to fight against German imperialism. In 1917, the government of David Lloyd George announced the creation of the Union of South Africa, which included the former Boer republics of Transvaal and Orange Free State. This union proved to be very profitable for Britain since it provided it with much-needed supplies of gold.
Britain began to create its empire in the 16th century, pushing the country's sovereignty and influence beyond its borders through a process known as "imperialism." This resulted in significant changes to communities, businesses, cultures, and people's lives all across the world.
How did Britain come to be an empire? After the Norman invasion of 1066, William I claimed the whole of France for himself and his heirs, thereby creating a large British kingdom. But the French were not about to give up their claims to what they saw as their own territory, so wars continued to be fought between Britain and France, with both countries forming alliances with other nations who they felt could help them win these wars. These alliances often included giving money or goods to people who would go on to form their own armies, thus beginning the practice of imperialism. The British Empire was very different from the French one because France had many colonies of its own while Britain didn't. However, both countries involved themselves in political affairs of other nations by offering support to certain people who they believed could help them achieve power.
When did the British Empire begin? The British Empire started in 1555 when Elizabeth I came to the throne. At this time, England was fighting France for control of Europe, and it made sense for Britain to try and expand its influence into areas where it was likely to find opposition to French rule.
Because it was the birthplace and driving force of the Industrial Revolution, Great Britain grew into a powerful empire. The Industrial Revolution was a cultural and economic shift from home-based production, traditional agriculture, and manual labor to a system of factory-based manufacturing that included complex machinery and continuous production. It began in England but spread to other parts of Europe and to the Americas.
In addition to machine tools and other manufactured goods, the industries of Great Britain developed new products for the world market: chemical compounds, drugs, many types of metal products (bridges, cannons, knives), and fibers (cotton, wool). All of these developments required a large consumer market and they helped make Britain and later its colonies an important player on the global stage.
The British empire at its height under Queen Victoria contained nearly a quarter of the world's population and accounted for almost half of the world's exports. It ruled over 50 countries and was the largest empire in history. Such enormous power could not be maintained without support from within the empire itself, so institutions were created to coordinate trade, commerce, law enforcement, and defense. These included the Royal Mail to transport letters and packages, the East India Company to conduct foreign trade, and the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories which operate their own governments but are not part of the United Kingdom.
For a variety of reasons, the British desired an empire. To begin with, the discovery of the New World afforded the potential to amass wealth. This may be used to relieve strain on domestic land, to farm for items needed in Britain, and to offer trading stations on the way, ideally, to the Far East. The empire also provided security against invasion from France or Spain. Finally, the empire offered prestige to those who ruled it.
In order for the British empire to exist, trade between the various colonies had to be allowed. The British government approved laws that regulated trade, but didn't allow them to stop people from trading wherever they wanted. At first, most trades were done by ship, so the government approved the building of large ships to make trading more efficient and profitable. As time went on, other ways were found to send and receive information, money, and goods. These methods included sending agents to different cities with letters of introduction from the secretary of state for the colonies, paying smugglers to carry goods across borders, and ordering things through mail-order companies. Although these methods were useful, they could not match the speed or efficiency of sailing ships.
As the number of people living as colonists in the empire increased, so too did the need for schools. Since there were no universities in Europe at this time, all education past the minimum requirements for employment was done by individuals or groups outside of the government system.