The Oxford History of the British Empire, Volume 3: The Nineteenth Century

The Oxford History of the British Empire, Volume 3: The Nineteenth Century

Language: English

Pages: 797

ISBN: 2:00320575

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The Oxford History of the British Empire is an assessment of the Empire in the light of recent scholarship and the progressive opening of historical records. Volume III covers the long nineteenth century, from the achievement of American independence in the 1780s to the eve of world war in 1914. This was the period of Britain's greatest expansion as both empire-builder and dominant world power. It is divided into two parts. The first contains thematic chapters, some focusing on Britain, others on areas at the imperial periphery, exploring those fundamental dynamics of British expansion that made imperial influence and rule possible. They also examine the economic, cultural, and institutional frameworks that gave shape to Britain's overseas empire. Part 2 is devoted to the principal areas of imperial activity overseas, including both white settler and tropical colonies. Chapters examine how British interests and imperial rule shaped individual regions' nineteenth century political and socio-economic history. Themes dealt with include the economics of empire, imperial institutions, defence, technology, imperial and colonial cultures, science and exploration.

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1870 by mounting challenges from new claimants to colonial power. Italy's colonial ambitions in Tripolitania and the Horn of Africa pressed against British interest in the security of routes to India. Germany's developing territorial ambitions, chiefly in west, east, and south-west Africa, and the Pacific, were accommodated by Britain without much difficulty from 1884 to 1890, but subsequent initiatives were more worrisome. Germany's rapid commercial expansion, incursions into the Middle and Far

cultural bias, but this only confirms the point of our argument.29 'Favourable' areas were defined as those that northern Europeans found most suitable, and in which the main food-plants and domestic animals of Eurasian agriculture could flourish. Such lands as were still 'empty' in 1800—largely those of the Russian steppes, North America, Australasia, southern Africa, and the southern cone of Latin America—provided the most fruitful ground for European economic expansion in the nineteenth

Braganza dynasty bifurcated, when Pedro I proclaimed Brazil's independence, founding a new world empire which endured to 1889. Brazil thus won its independence by means of a peaceful, monarchical transition, aided and abetted by British diplomacy and maritime power; as a result, for the next generation Brazil displayed an unusual combination of political stability and successful British economic penetration. With the collapse of Spanish mercantilism—and well before Britain recognized the new

biggest British community—Argentina's—numbered 40,000 in 1914, but in a foreign population of 2 million, half of them Italians.62 Furthermore, while some British expatriates intermarried and naturalized (they included several major mercantile families—such as the Mexican Barrens, Chilean Edwards, or Venezuelan Boultons—who in the course of the nineteenth century effectively relinquished 'British' status), others remained resolutely British, preserving an Anglocentric lifestyle within the

highlights the limitations of informal empire. The treaties and all the consular and naval might behind them could not make the Chinese richer than they were and could not compel them to buy cloth that was expensive and often unsuited to their needs. Manchester exports never dislodged the home-woven product and finally lost in competition with the output of modern mills in the treaty ports. The treaty-stipulated exemption from certain transit duties and provincial taxes did not provide the

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