British Empire Map

Map British Empire

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*Map highlights the British empire with current country boundaries. Expansion of British empire approximately from 16th to 20th century.

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The British entered India first in the name of the British East India Company. Initially all events seemed simple transactions between the two countries but later subjugation and annexation of the territories which grew spices, opium and cotton started.
This British infiltration was supported by the then Indian nobles such as bankers and merchants. The British rule could not have been developed in the country without the help of their Indian counterparts.

Threats such as the Napoleonic wars in 1796 to 1815, the Russian step towards Afghanistan in the 1830s led to occupation of more and more territory in the country. By the 1810s the British had begin the territorial enhancement and soon welcomed new areas under the London crown. The Portuguese and the French were allowed to settle in the maritime enclaves by the British forgetting their own differences with them.

Many Hindu and Muslim rulers lost their territories in struggling to remove the British governors who had by now taken control. The tremendous success of the British is not only because of their great strategies and weapons but because of their skillful diplomatic relations with the Indian rulers through the 'alliance system' which was introduced in the nineteenth century.

Very intelligently the 'Doctrine of Lapse' was introduced by Lord Dalhousie and this is when they took over the domains of the deceased kings of Satara, Udaipur, Jhansi, Tanjore, Nagpur and Oudh. A lot of western intellectual and innovations were brought by the British to India.

A series of rules were passed by the British Parliament out of which one was the Regulating Act in 1773 which restrained the company traders' uninhibited commercial activities and were subjected to face changes in the territories under the British East India Company. Under this act the British government got managerial right over Bombay (Mumbai), West Bengal and Madras presidencies. Bengal was of great importance to the British since the main British power sat in their.

Another act in 1784 called the India act was famously known as the 'half loaf system' since it intervened between the parliament and the company directors. This act ultimately helped them strengthen the parliament rule by creating a 'Board of Control'. The Charter Act in 1813 managed to abolish some of the ill social practices such as 'sati' and 'thagi' (robbery with ritual murder) from the society.

Charles Cornwallis was the governor in general from 1786 to 1793. He made the administration more professional, bureaucratic and Europeanized. Also he paid graduated salary to the employs and banned private trade. With the Mayor court establishing in 1727 the British saw its rule proliferating in India. This court was established fro the proceedings in Bombay, Calcutta and Madras.

In the 1850's introduction of the three 'engines or social improvement' strengthened the position of the British Empire in the country. These three 'engines' were the railroads, the telegraph and the postal service under the office of Lord Dalhousie.

The British Empire brought about immense changes in the country some of which were good and some evil for the country. They introduced policies and passed acts according to their convenience and in their interest. It was in 1856 that the Sepoy mutiny put an end to the company's rule but the British government continued to rule until 1947.

Last Updated on : 6/1/2012