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 16th century through its dissolution in the 20th. The British Empire, whose beginnings were modest, would by the close of the 19th century encompass almost 13 million square miles and a population of nearly 400 million. Well before the end of the 20th 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.