"Rule Britannia! Britannia rule the waves!" We've all probably heard the song in movies or on television, but what prompted its creation, and what is it in the minds of the citizens of the Empire that keep it so fixed in their national identities and psyche? As you browse this sight, you will come to learn the answer to this question and many more besides. This website aims to provide an accurate and insightful look at the modern history of Britain and her late empire for everyone with a need or interest in the subject area.
“Britain cannot be thought of as a single state in isolation. She is the founder and center of a worldwide empire and Commonwealth.” This quote by Winston Churchill epitomizes the idea of the British identity for the past two hundred years. Being apart of this great empire meant being apart of a world power consisting of approximately a quarter of the world’s population. This was truly the largest union in modern memory.
Originally the Empire focused itself on instilling its people with the attributes of obedience, manliness, and resourcefulness. However, by the twentieth century, a shift in beliefs occurred and then empire instead dedicated itself to preparing the colonies for their eventual freedom and independence. The empire, like a parent, was learning to let go. They had built their colonies up, taught them how to stand on their own, and then remained as guiding figures, always there if necessary in the form of the Commonwealth. Yet, in the end each entity of the empire retained its own identity, like every child takes lessons from their parents while creating their own character, and often ends up teaching their parents something along the way.
Marshall, P. J. "Imperial Britain." In The Cambridge Illustrated History of the British Empire, by P. J. Marshall, 318-37. Cambridge England: Cambridge University Press, 1996.
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