10 Facts About British Empire

1. British Empire was composed of the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates, and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states.

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2. The British Empire began to take shape during the early 17th century, with the English settlement of North America and the smaller islands of the Caribbean, and the establishment of joint-stock companies, most notably the East India Company, to administer colonies and overseas trade.

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3. Great Britain, Portugal, the Netherlands, and the Holy Roman British Empire continued the War of the Spanish Succession, which lasted until 1714 and was concluded by the Treaty of Utrecht.

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4. The British Empire was territorially enlarged: from France, Britain gained Newfoundland and Acadia, and from Spain Gibraltar and Menorca.

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5. The Battle of Plassey in 1757, in which the British Empire defeated the Nawab of Bengal and his French allies, left the British Empire East India Company in control of Bengal and as the major military and political power in India.

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6. Path to independence for the white colonies of the British Empire began with the 1839 Durham Report, which proposed unification and self-government for Upper and Lower Canada, as a solution to political unrest which had erupted in armed rebellions in 1837.

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7. The colonies of Germany and the Ottoman British Empire were distributed to the Allied powers as League of Nations mandates.

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8. The British Empire granted independence to the Maldives in 1965 but continued to station a garrison there until 1976, withdrew from Aden in 1967, and granted independence to Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates in 1971.

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9. The British Empire provided refuge for religiously persecuted continental Europeans for hundreds of years.

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10. Conversely, historians such as Niall Ferguson say that the economic and institutional development the British Empire brought resulted in a net benefit to its colonies.

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