By Ronald Hyam
The undisputed most sensible creation to the background of the world-wide trend of British job within the 19th century, embracing its expansive spirit in addition to its formal territorial empire. The dynamics of this impressive company are thought of generally: the high-political matters of technique and foreign geopolitics are analyzed, in addition to the commercial size, missionary task, and racial attitudes, including quite a lot of cultural facets, together with game and the pursuit of sexual chance. neither is the non-public contribution of a few of the top Victorian figures neglected.
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Extra resources for Britain’s Imperial Century, 1815–1914: A Study of Empire and Expansion
From 1829 this was to preoccupy Indian strategists for the remainder of the century. Secondly, Britain had to deal with the Americans, with whom there had been war in 1812, and who threatened British interests in Canada, Mexico and Latin America. Canning as foreign secretary, 1822-27, addressed himself seriously to this problem (see below, p. 56). Finally, the Dutch in Indonesia had to be dealt with, because the China tea trade was dependent on a long, single arterial line of communication via the Cape, and awkwardly straddled by the Indonesian empire.
Malta also became British. All of these acquisitions, whether from the French or the Dutch or the Spanish, improved the security of British communications world-wide. The contrast with what had happened to France was striking indeed. Between 1763 and 1830 the only positive effort in French expansion had been in Egypt in 1798, and that was abortive. In 1804 France had finally lost control of her principal colony, Saint Domingue, when the independent republic of Haiti was set up. Thus by 1815 the intense international competitiveness overseas which the British had grappled with for two centuries had evaporated.
Ln some ways the Indian empire was a nuisance. It involved many headaches, including the costs of defending it against Russia, and it embittered relations with other European powers, not only expanding Russia but also jealous France. By 1900 it had become a net military liability. Governing India was a task causing untold personal hardship and frustration. Two million Britons died in India . Everyone who went there suffered from the heat, the dust, persistent diarrhoea and recurrent dysentery, to say nothing of the risks of malaria and cholera; suffered too from the lack of privacy, yet acute loneliness, the long separation from wives and families, or, if wives joined them, the awesome hazards of childbirth and infant health posed by a country lacking adequate medical resources.