The History Of The British Empire History Essay
The British empire is an empire that was formed in 1707 by the union of the kingdom of Scotland and the kingdom of England in the late 16th and 17th centuries as its height, it was the biggest and the largest Empire in history and, for over a century was the foremost global power.
The foundation and establishment of the british empire were laid when england and scotland were separste kingdoms. The british empire in 1922 held sway of over about 458million of people, that is about one-fifth of the population of the world at that time the british empire covered more than 33,700,000 km2. Almost a quarter of the earthâ€™s total land.as a result of that the british epire,its political,legal,linguistic and cultural legacybecame widespread .the british empire at the peak of its power was the strongest empire the britist empire has some features that differ it from other empires for example the british empire in some countries adopted the indirect rule system while the french adopted the direct rule system and the policy of assimilation
In the british empire,the crown colony was regarded as a british territory and it was directly controlled from britain .in the british empire,the british lawsapplied to the crown colonies and the citizenswere regarded as british subjects. The land and mineral in countries under colonial rule belonged to the british government.the crown colony administered the colony directly while the governor made laws trough proclamations.the protectorate was a territory under the control and protaction of the british government.in the british empire the administration of the crown colonies was conducted by a number of institutions such a the secretary of state for the colonies, for thecolonies it was called the colonial secretary. He was a cabinet minister who was accorded recognition in the british cabinet and parliament as representative of the colonies he therefore stood between the colonial government and the british government he also had the power to appoint governors and can transfer them as he is deemed fit.
Also in the british empire the governor headed the administration the legislative council made laws for the colonies it had official members such as the british citizens and unofficial members who were not british citizens for example when the british came to Africa the unofficial members were the African Chiefs, European Merchants and representatives who were nominated into the council.
Also the british empire, had an executive council which carried out the function of the executive arm of government, the executive council for each colony consisted of officials who were departmental heads the secretary to the colonial government and director of medical services. The council was responsible to the governor and adviced him on government policies.
The factors that enabled the birtish empire to be are so many because the rule were under colonial rule were colonised depending on how the policies of the countries are.
The first and the most known factor that led to the success of the british empire is adopting the indirect rule. Indirect rule is a system of government whereby the british colonial administrators adopted existing political institutions of a particular territory to suit their purpose. For example the indirect rule was prominent in various African Countries for example in Nigeria the indirect rule was introduced by Lord Luggard and Uganda in Africa,and also in India in Asia.
The indirect ule became success because of certain factors like first of all the the british were short in terms of funds because of her commitment to the prosecution of the first world war in 1914-1918 because britain spent so much on the maintenance of her troops and equipment and was therefore not in a position to finance direct administration which will involve posting out large number of britains and caring for them and the machinery of governance and also the luggage barrier because direct administration of the colonies was not possible as a result of differences in language between the local people and the colonial masters since the people could neither speak nor write english the colonial masters decided to rule the people indirectly through the traditional rulers.
Also the british empire allowed their colonies to retain the culture was also a success unlike the French colony which imposed their culture and civilsation of the people through the policy of assimilation.
The british utilised African traditional rulers and retained the peoples custom and laws in the running of local affairs.
The British empire also has its own factors that led to its disintegration and collapse. The factors are as follows;
The introduction of taxation, the taxation also led to the disintegration of the british empire because the local people could not pay because they could not afford it and it was a part of the british indirect system that citizens must pay taxes and it was acceptable to the people anyway. A new system was imposed on the people by the colonial authority it was unacceptable and resulted to protests in some parts of the country.
Another factor that led to the disintegration of the British Empire is the use of Evil practices by the British Empire, most of the traditional rulers were involved in evil practices and the system could not prosecute them for necessary punishment. Also the British, during its colonial rule excluded Educated people from taking part in the colonial administration instead they made use of the illiterate
The British Empire introduced a system of monopoly. The colonial authority monopolised the right to appoint and dispose traditional rulers and chiefs without the peoples consent.
The Brithish also denied the democratic right of the people, this is because people were denied of their right for example in Nigeria. Some Countries under colonial rule were seeking independence and needed to be free from colonial rule so this also led to the disintegration of the British Empire.
Another factor for the down fall of the empire is that in most countries that were under colonial rule began to develop their country themselves since the British were ruling from their Country, the countries under colonial rule started developing gradually this also led to the down fall of the British Empire.
The High headedness of the warrant Chiefs in Africa appointed by the British led to its disintegration also because the functions of the Warrant Chiefs were not clearly defined and so they abused the actual roles and positions and this led to chaos and uncertainty in the system for example, the Aba Womens riot of 1929, Warri Provincial Tax Riot of 1927.
The british empire has colonized countries like nigeria,india which is their most valuable colony until its independence two years after the second world war,hong kong,tanzania ,uganda,barbados,the gambia,ghana,botswana,sudan,kenya,zimbabwe,south africa,new zealand,malta,cyprus,jordan,palestine,sri lanka,singapore,kuwait,namibia,zambia,Australia.th countries that gained independence are now members of the commonwealth which is a voluntary organization
The legacy left by the british empire are endless like the spread of English language ,football,tennis and so on
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