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British Empire - 2.Version - Referat

Reasons for empire-building:
- Britain has long been a seafaring nation because it is an island first great explorations took place during reign of Elizabeth I (1558-1603); first long-term colonies were no founded until the beginning of the 17th century
- ecomomic factors played an important role from the start idea was to establish foreign trade to bring wealth to Britain; colonies = source of cheap raw materials (goods that were trade: e. g. silk, cotton, salt, opium, tea)

British overseas Territories today:
- name given tot he 14 territories that remain under British jurisdiction  self-governing but dependant on Britain for defence/foreign affairs
- e. g. Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands etc.
- Argenatinia claims that the Falkland Islands are Argentinian, Spain claims that Gibraltar is Spanish

Timeline of British rule:
- British East India Tea Company was founded during the 16th century trade in tea/spices/cotton
- British started to play an active role in Indian politics to consolidate their position there
- East India Company (had its own army) conquered large parts of India, acted as an administrator for the Indian subcontinent
- 1857-1858: Indian Rebellion (also: Sepoy Mutiny/Indian Mutiny)  unsuccessful attempt to regain control of the territories governed by the East India Company
- 1858: after supressing the rebellion, the British Crown took control of the Indian subcontinent beginning of the Raj (= reign, period from 1858-1947 when Britain ruled over Indian subcontinent)
- English became the official language
- 1876: Queen Victoria was pronounced Empress of India
- 1937: Burma became a seperate colony within the Indian Empire gained independence in 1948
- 1947: Indian Empire became independent, was divided into the Union of India & the Dominion of Pakistan

Difficulties faced by post-colonial societies:
- under British rule, the countries had been forced to adopt British values, which were often different from their own  many people felt at a loss because they had tosearch for their identity/recreate traditions that had been partly forgotten
- people who had grown up under British rule often felt they were not really a part of their own culture, but were not really British either
- some former colonies had difficulties in forming a government, citizens had to get used to voting for/being governed by their own people  sense of instability
- some colonies were left weaker economically  had to establish their own trading partners

Problems following independence:
- many people disagreed with the partition of Indian Empire riots
- Union of India was mainly Hindu, Dominion of Pakistan was mainly Muslim  fear of religious persecution led to mass integration  result: 2 million homeless people, at least half a million killed

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