The British Empire

The British Empire Free Essay


The British Empire was founded in 17th century as a gradual conquest process of Wales and Scotland. It lasted for four hundred years after subsequently colonizing more territories. Its global establishment is attributed to factors such as national prestige, an urge to share with other cultures and the colonialist's need to profit from imperialism ventures.

The British Empire

The Union of Wales and England under King Henry VIII's reign in 1536 and 1543 led to the formation of the Great Britain in 1707. England's dominion over the Wales marked the beginning of the British Empire following King John's coronation in 1199. The defeat of the Gaelic military in 1601 at the Kinsale battle ended up handing over Ireland to the English colony. The English colonial rule in Ireland brought about the reinstatement of English as the official national language, downgrading of the political class and drawing of labor from the country. This became a model for the early 17th century invasions by the British Empire in its bid to expand its territories in North America (McLeod, 2007).

The Atlantic Empire also known as the first empire or the mercantile empire arose from the need for raw materials and market. Companies such as the London Virginia Company were given incentives to carry out colonization of North America and the Caribbean territories. Labor was sourced through slave trade from Africa by Portuguese traders who formed part of the North American colonies. Australia and New Zealand were not an exception as they were both colonized by Britain becoming a destination for rebels and convicts. English India Company carried out colonization ventures in India on behalf of the British Empire following its royal charter in 1600 (McLeod, 2007).

The British Empire's dwindling imperialism and economic recession in the 19th century forced it to colonize Africa and the Middle East. The scramble for Africa in the late 1880s saw its partitioning. The end of the British Empire was characterized by guerilla actions which were part of the First World War leading to convictions in 1912. The imperialism of Britain in Africa largely disintegrated in the 1960s leaving British nationalists scattered all over the colonies.


The British Empire was facilitated by royal charters on companies which had interests in taking part on colonization ventures. Colonization of Ireland and Wales in 17th century set up a model for colonization of North America, Australia, New Zealand and later the Middle East and Africa in 19th century. The British Empire came to its end in 1960s.

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