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The First British Empire - Referat

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Here you can see the British Empire, which cover approximately 38 million inhabitants. It was the largest colonial empire in history. No country in the world has ever done colonial policy so fiercely and aggressive as Great Britain. Britain was the biggest country on earth- from antiquity to the present day. There has never been an empire like it.
The Empire is divided into two parts, which are the “first Empire” from 1600 to 1776 and the Victorian Empire.

Well, England became the most important country, because they had some important advantages. For example: she has a very good position as an island. Moreover she had along tradition as a seafaring nation and had a very modern war fleet. The reason why England wanted to get colonies was very simple: England thought the colonies would give her raw materials and she could sell her manufactured products. For example: cotton, wheat, tea, oil or beef.

In the 15th and 16th century, at the beginning of the European colonialism, Spain and Portugal were the dominant forces and formed huge colonial empires. Well, England, France and the Netherlands, which have sea and continental powers, they began to form their own colony and set up the trade in America and Asia. Then there was a fight between the Netherlands and England about the West Indies and Gibraltar; a fight with France with India and Canada. They fought because they all wanted the commercial supremacy around the American continent.
The individual adventurers, trades and explorers of the Elizabethan period increased together the public policy. This was the basis for the emergency of the British Empire.
John Hawkins (*1532, †1595) organized the slave trade since 1562 between Africa and the West Indies; from 1577-1580 Sir Francis Drake sailed around the world; Sir Raleigh and Gilbert settled in Newfoundland and Virginia from 1583-1585. The first trading companies of Merchant Adventurers had been privileged in 1552: e.g. the East India Company (since 1583) against the Netherlands and more. But the first settlement failed. In North America there was a success with the arrival of the Puritans (1620 pilgrims of the mayflower). In 1612 the Bermudas were occupied; in 1623 St. Kitts; Barbados in 1627 and in
1655 Jamaica. The African society which was established in 1618 increased the number of trading on the west African coast to secure the British position in the slave trade. In India they were built factories since 1611. In 1664 New Amsterdam established a connection between Virginia and New England by acquisition. 1704 Gibraltar become a part of the British Empire, which was the key to the Mediterranean. Also in 1714 Newfoundland and Nova Scotia from France come to the British Empire. During the European seven years war from 1756-1763 the British Empire won India and most of the colonized North America. The end of the first Empire came when the North American people fought for their independence against the colonial policy of Great Britain in 1763.

The 13 colonies declared the independence in 1776 which had to be recognized in 1783 by the British government. The importance of the first Empire was an economic one.
As a part of the economic policy the colonies should be raw material suppliers and they should buy weapons. Therefore it was forbidden for them the trade on their own.

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