October 1, 2023

The British Empire (jan 1, 1757 – nov 23, 1926)


Britain's success and gains after the Seven Years' War completely ended France's colonial power and made the British Empire the most powerful maritime empire in the world.

At the height of it's expansion, the British Empire ruled, in come capacity, over 412 million people, living across 13,700,000 sq miles (35,500,000 sq km) which amounted to 24% of the Earth's total land area.

Over the years however, some of the lands ruled by the British had started to become more independent. Nations such as Canada and Ireland had declared themselves as separate at specific times, whereas other countries like South Africa and Australia slowly grew more independent over time with governmental changes.

It was then, on 19th November 1926, that Lord President of the Council Arthur Balfour, at an Imperial Conference declared that the United Kingdom and its numerous dominions to be "autonomous Communities within the British Empire, equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by a common allegiance to the Crown, and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations."

Essentially, the declaration was the beginning of a British decolonization. Although it's territories wouldn't start becoming fully independent until the 1940s, the establishment of the Commonwealth of Nations was the first step in retracting imperial control. It’s leaders were no longer viewed as representatives of the British government, and over the next seventy years, their lands would gradually be recognised as nations in their own right.

Added to timeline:

2 months ago
History of Human Civilization
This is a rough history of human migration, advancement, and...


jan 1, 1757
nov 23, 1926
~ 170 years


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