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First British Empire - Referat



First British Empire (1607-1776)
Spain, England, Portugal, France, Holland struggled for new colonies in the 17th century
England was the last country that joined the colonial powers but became the most important
- England had some important advantages:
- very good position as an island
- long tradition as a seafaring nation and very modern war fleet
B. E. was the largest colonial empire in history and comprised 1/5 (a fifth) of the land surface and 1/4(a quarter) of the world's population at its peak
British colonialism from the 17th to the 19th century pursued economical independence
Empire proceeded in three steps:
first discover - found trading posts - build settlements
most important trading company: East India Company
emigration from Britain because of religious struggle; refugees come to the New World, e.g. on the May Flower in 1620
first British Empire includes: Bahamas, Newfoundland, Hudson Bay territory....
- New England Colonies -> territory around Boston, populated by English protestants
- Middle Colonies -> around New York, attracted all kinds of European immigrants who were looking for religious and political freedom
- Southern Colonies -> settled by merchants who profited from tobacco and cotton
England wanted to levy taxes on tea etc., but the Americans wanted to be represented in Parliament -> Boston Tea Party against the taxes, 1773
War of Independence from 1776 to 1783 ended with the Independence of the United States
France lost its Canadian possessions to England during Seven Years of War, but England was deeply indebted
After losing the American Colonies the British Empire planned to establish a new Empire to secure the sea route to the existing colonies and India
England and the Netherlands questioned Portugal's monopoly on trade with Asia
founded East India and Dutch India Company
- they wanted to be a part of profitable spice trade
closeness of both countries lead to conflicts
- Dutchmen ensured their supremacy on the Moluccas and England ensured its supremacy in India




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