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Rise of the 2nd British Empire - Referat

Rise of the 2nd British Empire – Asia, Australia, Africa
- Began with loss of the 13 American Colonies through American Revolution and War of Independence
- After the defeat of the British Army at the battle of Yorktown in 1781, Great Britain had to accept the independence of the United States in the ‘Peace of Paris’ in 1783
- The loss of a substantial Northern American part (Canada was still British) lead to the concentration on the Pacific and Asian area
- > seen as the passage from first to second British Empire
- Napoleons reign and supremacy in Europe lead to the French-British Colonial conflict
- Britain defeated Spanish-French Fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar 1805
- In 1815, Napoleon was finally defeated by an European alliance, Britain benefited from the peace treatys, received different areas all over the world, but also gave back some areas to the Netherlands and France
- After the French surrender, no important enemies of Britain were left
- British Empire began to rise, became biggest naval power, kind of a world’s policeman and the dominating world power till the first World War
- In India the British East India Company tried to improve their authority, when the mogul empire with which they traded faded away in the 18th century
- Gained the upper hand over the French East India Company in the Carnatic wars in the 1740ies and -50ies
- After several wars with the Indians, the BEIC was able to bring big parts of India under its control in the 19th century
- BEIC was also involved in the profitable trade of opium with China, even if it was prohibited by the Chinese government
- Confiscation of 20.000 chest of opium by the Chinese government in 1839 lead to First Opium War
- In 1841, the Britons conquered Hong Kong
- Indian Rebellion 1857 showed the near end of BEIC’s government, began with the rebellion of the sepoys (soldiers who fought for royal indian army)
- In 1858 the power of government was taken away from the BEIC, which was hated by the indian people, British parliament ruled from now on (Government of India Act, 1858) INDIA as PEARL of the British Empire
- Other Asian regions came under British control
- In 1770, James Cook claimed Australia as ‘New South Wales’ for Great Britain, firstly used as a colony for prisoners which were brought there till 1840, but other people also settled down there
- Australian colonies became profitable exporters of wool and gold
- In 1840 New Zealand also became British through a treaty with the leaders of the native inhabitants
- Also important - ‘Slavery Abolition Act’ made Slavery illegal in 1833
- The run for Africa began with the British occupation of the Cape Colony (founded by the Dutch)
in 1795
- After 1820, more and more Britons came to SA and the Boers became a minority, Boers went north in the ‘Great Trek’ and founded 2 Boer-Republics
- Violent incidents happened between the Boers and the Britons until the two Boer-Republics were defeated in the Second Boer War (1899-1902), which ended with the integration of those countries into the South African colony but social and political freedoms for the boers
- In 1869 the Sues-Channel was opened, first underestimated by the British Government, it bought the 44% share in the channel corporation from the Egyptian government in 1775
- In 1885, Egypt was conquered by Great Britain
- Related to the control over Sudan, Britain and France encountered again – Faschoda-Crisis, in the end, the Sudan became British in 1899
- Britain and France arranged; France claimed Northern Africa and Britain Eastern Africa
- Furthermore, Great Britain conquered many other areas in Africa, so that the British Imperialist Cecil Rhodes (1853-1902) propagandized the ‘Cape to Caio Railway’ and indirect a closed African Colony from the South to the North
- Rhodes took big part in the colonization of today’s South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia
- At the beginning of the first World War, Britain had big parts of Africa under her control
- In the late 19th and early 20th century, some colonies wanted to be independent, and so, at first only ‘white’ colonies became Dominions
- Could make their own politics, only the foreign policy was determined by Great Britain
- Examples: Canada (1867), Australia (1907), New Zealand (1907), South Africa (1910), Ireland (1922)
- Statute of Westminster in 1931 granted independence to the Dominions, other countries mostly became independent after the second World War
- Commonwealth of Nations was found as an international organization of former British colonies

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