The British Empire
Painting in broad strokes on a massive canvas, this course will examine the history of the British Empire from its inception in the sixteenth century through its dissolution in the twentieth. The British Empire, whose beginnings were modest, would by the close of the nineteenth century encompass almost thirteen million square miles and a population of nearly four hundred million. Well before the end of the twentieth century, this empire, the largest the world had ever seen, virtually ceased to exist. Its story, from inception to extinction, is a remarkable one. Internal imperatives, global imperial rivalries, and developments on the periphery impelled the empire forward and ultimately brought about its demise. This course will investigate the evolving characteristics of the British imperial experience and the dynamics responsible for the rise and fall of the British Empire.