British Empire homepage
British Empire
British Empire Overview
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Why should we study the British empire?
How big was the empire?
How long did it last?
How did a small country like Britain rule so much territory?
Was the British empire a force for good or not?
Why did the British empire decline?
What has the British empire left behind?
 
british empire overview
What are the big questions when we study the history of the British empire?
 
4. How did a small country like Britain rule so much territory?

Historians are still arguing about this question! There is no doubt that Britain was powerful. It used its wealth, its armies and its navy to defeat rival European countries and to conquer local peoples to establish its empire. However, the empire did not just rely on force. In most of the empire Britain relied heavily on local people to make it work. The empire was a very sophisticated network of nations and peoples, linked by trade, by political systems and sometimes held together by force.
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