Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Capitalism in India (contd-1)

The first step towards industrial Capitalism India was started by the East India Company sometimes the 1850s.
 The history and development of Indian Ordnance Factories is directly linked with the British reign in India. East India company of England for their economic interest in India and to increase their political hold considered military hardware as vital element. During 1775 British authorities accepted the establishment of Board of Ordnance in Fort William, Kolkata. This marks the official beginning of the Army Ordnance in India.
In 1787 a gun powder factory was established at Ishapore which started production from 1791 ( at which location Rifle Factory was established in 1904). In 1801 a Gun Carriage Agency at Cossipore, Kolkata (presently known as Gun & Shell Factory, Cossipore) was eatablished and production started from 18th March, 1802. This is the first Industrial establishment of Ordnance Factories which has continued its existence till date.

Growth of Indian Ordnance Factories

The growth of the Ordnance Factories leading to its present setup has been continuous but in spurts. There were 18 ordnance factories before India became independent in 1947. 21 factories have been established after independence - mostly, in wake of defence preparedness imperatives caused by the three major wars fought by the Indian Armed forces. 40th Factory is under establishment at Nalanda, Bihar.

Main Events

Main events in the evolution of Ordnance Factory can be listed as below:
  • 1801 - Establishment of Gun Carriage Agency at Cossipore, Kolkata.
  • 1802 - Production started from 18th March 1802 at Cossipore.
  • 1906 - The Administration of Indian Ordnance Factories came under a separate charge as 'IG of Ordnance Factories'.
  • 1933 - Charged to 'Director of Ordnance Factories'.
  • 1948 - Placed under direct control of Ministry of Defence.
  • 1962 - Dept. of Defence Production was set up at Ministry of Defence.
  • 1979 - Ordnance Factory Board came into existence from 2nd April

Capitalism In India

History of Indian Railways
A rail system in India was first put forward in 1832 in Madras but it never materialised. In the 1840s, other proposals were forwarded to the British East India Company who governed India. The Governor-General of India at that time, Lord Hardinge deliberated on the proposal from the commercial, military and political viewpoints. He came to the conclusion that the East India Company should assist private capitalists who sought to setup a rail system in India, regardless of the commercial viability of their project.
In 1844, British civil engineer Robert Stephenson's published work titled: Report upon the Practicability and Advantages of the Introduction of Railways into British India led to widespread investor interest in the UK. By 1845, two companies, the East Indian Railway Company operating from Calcutta, and the Great Indian Peninsula Railway (GIPR) operating from Bombay, were formed. The first train in India was operational on 1851-12-22, used for the hauling of construction material in Roorkee. A few years later, on 1853-04-16, the first passenger train between Bori Bunder, Bombay and Thana covering a distance of 34 km (21 miles) was inaugurated, formally heralding the birth of railways in India.
The British government encouraged the setting up of railways by private investors under a scheme that would guarantee an annual return of 5% during the initial years of operation. Once completed, the company would be passed under government ownership, but would be operated by the company that built them. Robert Maitland Brereton, a British engineer was responsible for the expansion of the railway from 1857 onwards. In March 1870, he was responsible for the linking of both the rail systems, which by then had a network of 6,400 km (4,000 miles).
By 1880 the network had a route mileage of about 14,500 km (9,000 miles), mostly radiating inward from the three major port cities of Bombay, Madras and Calcutta. By 1895, India had started building its own locomotives, and in 1896 sent engineers and locomotives to help build the Ugandan Railways.
In 1900, the GIPR became a government owned company. The network spread to modern day states of Assam, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh and soon various independent kingdoms began to have their own rail systems. In 1901, an early Railway Board was constituted, but the powers were formally invested under Lord Curzon. It served under the Department of Commerce and Industry and had a government railway official serving as chairman, and a railway manager from England and an agent of one of the company railways as the other two members. For the first time in its history, the Railways began to make a profit.
In 1907 almost all the rail companies were taken over by the government. The following year, the first electric locomotive makes its appearance. With the arrival of World War I, the railways were used to meet the needs of the British outside India. With the end of the war, the state of the railways was in disrepair and collapse.
In 1920, with the network having expanded to 61,220 km, a need for central management was mooted by Sir William Acworth. Based on the East India Railway Committee chaired by Acworth, the government takes over the management of the Railways and detaches the finances of the Railways from other governmental revenues.
The period between 1920 to 1929 was a period of economic boom. Following the Great Depression, the company suffered economically for the next eight years. The Second World War severely crippled the railways. Trains were diverted to the Middle East and the railways workshops were converted to munitions workshops. By 1946 all rail systems were taken over by the governmen

Capital formation (contd-1)

Manifesto of the Communist Party describes the ultimate stage of the Capital formation within a century, eighteenth to nineteenth, and its effect on the society and on the working class and explains the relation between two participating classes.
The history of all hitherto existing society [2] is the history of class struggles.

Freeman and slave, patrician and plebian, lord and serf, guild-master [3] and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.
In the earlier epochs of history, we find almost everywhere a complicated arrangement of society into various orders, a manifold gradation of social rank. In ancient Rome we have patricians, knights, plebians, slaves; in the Middle Ages, feudal lords, vassals, guild-masters, journeymen, apprentices, serfs; in almost all of these classes, again, subordinate gradations.
The modern bourgeois society that has sprouted from the ruins of feudal society has not done away with class antagonisms. It has but established new classes, new conditions of oppression, new forms of struggle in place of the old ones.
Our epoch, the epoch of the bourgeoisie, possesses, however, this distinct feature: it has simplified class antagonisms. Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other -- bourgeoisie and proletariat.
From the serfs of the Middle Ages sprang the chartered burghers of the earliest towns. From these burgesses the first elements of the bourgeoisie were developed.
The discovery of America, the rounding of the Cape, opened up fresh ground for the rising bourgeoisie. The East-Indian and Chinese markets, the colonisation of America, trade with the colonies, the increase in the means of exchange and in commodities generally, gave to commerce, to navigation, to industry, an impulse never before known, and thereby, to the revolutionary element in the tottering feudal society, a rapid development.
The feudal system of industry, in which industrial production was monopolized by closed guilds, now no longer suffices for the growing wants of the new markets. The manufacturing system took its place. The guild-masters were pushed aside by the manufacturing middle class; division of labor between the different corporate guilds vanished in the face of division of labor in each single workshop.
Meantime, the markets kept ever growing, the demand ever rising. Even manufacturers no longer sufficed. Thereupon, steam and machinery revolutionized industrial production. The place of manufacture was taken by the giant, MODERN INDUSTRY; the place of the industrial middle class by industrial millionaires, the leaders of the whole industrial armies, the modern bourgeois.
Modern industry has established the world market, for which the discovery of America paved the way. This market has given an immense development to commerce, to navigation, to communication by land. This development has, in turn, reacted on the extension of industry; and in proportion as industry, commerce, navigation, railways extended, in the same proportion the bourgeoisie developed, increased its capital, and pushed into the background every class handed down from the Middle Ages.
We see, therefore, how the modern bourgeoisie is itself the product of a long course of development, of a series of revolutions in the modes of production and of exchange.
Each step in the development of the bourgeoisie was accompanied by a corresponding political advance in that class. An oppressed class under the sway of the feudal nobility, an armed and self-governing association of medieval commune [4]: here independent urban republic (as in Italy and Germany); there taxable "third estate" of the monarchy (as in France); afterward, in the period of manufacturing proper, serving either the semi-feudal or the absolute monarchy as a counterpoise against the nobility, and, in fact, cornerstone of the great monarchies in general -- the bourgeoisie has at last, since the establishment of Modern Industry and of the world market, conquered for itself, in the modern representative state, exclusive political sway. The executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.
The bourgeoisie, historically, has played a most revolutionary part

Capital formation

The capital formation is the ultimate stage of social development. Marx and Engels studied the development of human society from its primitive stage to the ultimate one.Marx said in his book 'A contribution to the critique of political economy',
In the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter into definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely relations of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness. At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or – this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms – with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto. From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution. The changes in the economic foundation lead sooner or later to the transformation of the whole immense superstructure.
In studying such transformations it is always necessary to distinguish between the material transformation of the economic conditions of production, which can be determined with the precision of natural science, and the legal, political, religious, artistic or philosophic – in short, ideological forms in which men become conscious of this conflict and fight it out. Just as one does not judge an individual by what he thinks about himself, so one cannot judge such a period of transformation by its consciousness, but, on the contrary, this consciousness must be explained from the contradictions of material life, from the conflict existing between the social forces of production and the relations of production. No social order is ever destroyed before all the productive forces for which it is sufficient have been developed, and new superior relations of production never replace older ones before the material conditions for their existence have matured within the framework of the old society.
 Mankind thus inevitably sets itself only such tasks as it is able to solve, since closer examination will always show that the problem itself arises only when the material conditions for its solution are already present or at least in the course of formation. In broad outline, the Asiatic, ancient,feudal and modern bourgeois modes of production may be designated as epochs marking progress in the economic development of society. The bourgeois mode of production is the last antagonistic form of the social process of production – antagonistic not in the sense of individual antagonism but of an antagonism that emanates from the individuals' social conditions of existence – but the productive forces developing within bourgeois society create also the material conditions for a solution of this antagonism. The prehistory of human society accordingly closes with this social formation.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Working Class movement in England ( Contd-1)

Chartist Movement;
In 1838-1839 the Chartist movement began to receive an influx of proletarians of the factory regions of England and Scotland, miners of Wales, low-paid sections of London workers and workmen of the declining manual trades. August 1838 saw the beginning of a broad discussion of the petition compiled in 1837, which the Chartist leaders intended to address to parliament . Mammoth labour rallies in Manchester, Glasgow, Newcastle and many other cities discussed the draft of the petition and elected their representatives to the nation wide forum of Chartists - the Universal convention of the of Industrial classes .
In February 1839, the first Chartist convention opened in London. In July 1840, the National Charter Association -the first mass political organisation of the working class of England was set up which Lenin said, as 'preparation of Marxism.' In 1848, an Economic depression aggravated the plight of the workers. Engels wrote : ' Chartism was a purely a working -men's cause freed from all bourgeois elements.'
Chartism was a great achievement for the working class-the legislative institution of a 10-hour working day in June 1847.  

Sunday, August 28, 2011

First Working Class Organisation

One of the main slogans of the strike struggles in the thirties was the demand for a 10 hour working day. The workers succeeded in achieving it in many cities of the mid-Atlantic states  ( for instance, in Philadelphia by a successful general strike in 1835, etc). A common feature of all strikes in the period under review, wherever they might occur, was that the strikers put forward mainly economic demands; the establishment of a minimum wage or a wage rise, timely payment of wages etc.
In the late eighteenth and the early 19th century the broad involvement of the English proletariat in the movement for radical democratic reforms became an important aspect of its growing political activity.The idea of the Great French Revolution of the late eighteenth century (1789) exerted a tremendous influence on England's working class.
In the late 18th and the early 19th century first labour unions formed in the United States (in 1792 the unions of hired shoe-makers in Philadelphia, of tailors in Baltimore, of printers in New York, in 1796 of New York furniture-makers, in 1803 of New York in ship wrights etc)  and in France  ( in 1790 Persian printers Club, etc). Later trade unions were formed in other European countries.
In England the trade unions throughout the 18th century were often persecuted on the basis of broad interpretation of the medieval laws on 'conspiracies', and on individual parliamentary statutes referring to associations within specified trades. In fact dozens of illegal or semi-legal organisations of the workers existed at that time.            

Working Class movement in England

In England, in the first place, there was the movement of the machine breakers. It was started in the textile industry where small crafts and artisan workmanship were most firmly established : clothes, cotton, and knitted goods production. In England this movement at the time of its climax (1811-1817)was limited territorially mainly to three districts : West Riding, South Lanchashire, and Nottinghamshire.These categories of workmen of the cottage industries and crafts suffered most of all from the introduction of machines. handicraft products could not compete against products of mechanistic factories. As factory industry grew an ever larger number of craftsmen and cottage industry workers became destitute. Curtailment of earnings, unemployment, which soared catastrophically in years of an unfavorable economic situation consequent  on the proletarians living in poverty towards a struggle against machine and factories.
The protest actions of the machine breakers who destroyed and burned down factory buildings, warehouses raw materials and manufactured goods have been conventionally named Ludhite movement in the historical literature after the name of the legendary "King" ( or general) of the workers Ned Lud, a Leicestershire journeyman who had repeatedly been the first to break up stocking frames . The Luddite movement had started as far back as the sixties of the 18th century and lasted in main until 1830. It developed irregularly with varying intensity. The most violent outbreaks of the Luddite movement took place in 1779 in Lanchashire, in 1802 in Wiltshire, in 1811-1812 in Nottinghamshire. many of these riots were extremely violent. After 1830 the Luddite movement which had used up its resources and was undermined by reprisals  to exist.
In France Luddism first became manifest in the period 1817-1823.
As Marx said, " it took both time and experience  before the workmen learnt to distinguish between machinery and employment by Capital, and to direct their attacks, not against the material instruments of production, against the mode in which they are produced. Marx and Engels  mentioned in their Communist Manifesto; they direct their attacks not against the bourgeois conditions of production, but against the instruments of productions themselves ; they destroy imported wares that compete with their labour.
Then the workers resorted to strike to place their demands. The first to use strikes as a method of economic struggle and fairly often for that matter, workers of the textile branches, cottage industry workers etc. in the late eighteenth century and the beginning of the 19th century.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Exploration of Working Class movement & Capital Formation

Origin  of the Working Class;
Wage labour existed under all antagonistic social systems but only in the last of them does its exploitation make the basis of society. "Without wage labour ," Marx said , "there is no production of surplus value...without production of surplus value there is no capitalist production, and hence no capital and no capitalist."
In Wesern Europe the rudiments of capitalist relations appeared in the 14th and 15th centuries. Although wage labour had also been used in other periods of feudalism.
Italy furnished the first examples of the origination of embryonic capitalist relations in the cities of Florence, Siena, Lucca, Bologna etc.
It was in the 14th century that the Spring fullers of the then new industrial center of Lavenham founded a fullery manned  by hired workers.The names of some other employers who exploited  wage workers have come down to us from that time,
In the late 15th century 17-20 workers were hired in each of Lyons workshops  (France), including some print-shops.
The 16th century ushered in the Capitalist era. It was precisely from this time that the long process of stabilisation and then victory of the capitalist system and the establishment of manufactory capitalismwas in evidence in Europe.
In the 14th-15th century England the working day according to statutes was to last fro 5 am to 7-8 pm. in summer and from 5 am until dark in winter with breakfast, lunch and dinner totalling 3 hours,The statutes of 1562 limited the break time to 2.5 hours in summer and 2 hours in winter,
Labour struggle against exploitation;
'The contest between  the capitalist and the wage labourer,' Marx said , 'dates back to the very origin of capital,' the first element of the new antagonism became manifest in the actions of the proletarians against their masters as early as 14th and 15th centuries. In Florence a wool comber attempted to organise a union of wage labourers.
Throughout the history of the early capitalism  purely proletarian economic battles merged into a common struggle of the popular masses against feudalism and reaction. In every great bourgeois movement , Engales pointed out , ' there were independent outbursts of that class which was the forerunner, more or less developed, of the modern proletariat.'
In England's North American colonies massive popular revolts, with workers taking part against the oligarchic administration and colonialism took place in Boston in 1688-1689 and in New York in 1688.
The formation of the working class was a process on a world historical scale connected with the emergence and growth of large scale capitalist production, In the early stages of the Industrial Revolution within the framework of the of the period under review (until 1871) this process had developed, however, on a territorially  limited scale; the main area of the evolution of the industrial proletariat in the late 18th and the early decades of the 19th century was only Western Europe and partly North America. The first Industrial country in that period was England where the most numerous working class had formed already towards the 1830s, The process of the formation of the proletariat as a class embraced the countries of Eastern Europe and spread to Australia, a number of Asian Countries, to Latin America, and later became world wide.          

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Causes of Dominance of Europe (contd - 1)

High Middle Ages (AD 1000–1300)

The translation of Greek and Arabic works allowed the full development of Christian philosophy and the method of scholasticism.
Beginning around the year 1050, European scholars built upon their existing knowledge by seeking out ancient learning in Greek and Arabic texts which they translated into Latin. They encountered a wide range of classical Greek texts, some of which had earlier been translated into Arabic, accompanied by commentaries and independent works by Islamic thinkers.
Gerard of Cremona is a good example: an Italian who traveled to Spain to copy a single text, he stayed on to translate some seventy works. His biography describes how he came to Toledo: "He was trained from childhood at centers of philosophical study and had come to a knowledge of all that was known to the Latins; but for love of the Almagest, which he could not find at all among the Latins, he went to Toledo; there, seeing the abundance of books in Arabic on every subject and regretting the poverty of the Latins in these things, he learned the Arabic language, in order to be able to translate."

Map of medieval universities. They started a new infrastructure which was needed for scientific communities.
This period also saw the birth of medieval universities, which benefited materially from the translated texts and provided a new infrastructure for scientific communities. Some of these new universities were registered as an institution of international excellence by the Holy Roman Empire, receiving the title of Studium Generale. Most of the early Studia Generali were found in Italy, France, England, and Spain, and these were considered the most prestigious places of learning in Europe. This list quickly grew as new universities were founded throughout Europe. As early as the 13th century, scholars from a Studium Generale were encouraged to give lecture courses at other institutes across Europe and to share documents, and this led to the current academic culture seen in modern European universities.
The rediscovery of the works of Aristotle allowed the full development of the new Christian philosophy and the method of scholasticism. By 1200 there were reasonably accurate Latin translations of the main works of Aristotle, Euclid, Ptolemy, Archimedes, and Galen—that is, of all the intellectually crucial ancient authors except Plato. Also, many of the medieval Arabic and Jewish key texts, such as the main works of Avicenna, Averroes and Maimonides now became available in Latin. During the 13th century, scholastics expanded the natural philosophy of these texts by commentaries (associated with teaching in the universities) and independent treatises. Notable among these were the works of Robert Grosseteste, Roger Bacon, John of Sacrobosco, Albertus Magnus, and Duns Scotus.
Scholastics believed in empiricism and supporting Roman Catholic doctrines through secular study, reason, and logic. The most famous was Thomas Aquinas (later declared a "Doctor of the Church"), who led the move away from the Platonic and Augustinian and towards Aristotelianism (although natural philosophy was not his main concern). Meanwhile, precursors of the modern scientific method can be seen already in Grosseteste's emphasis on mathematics as a way to understand nature and in the empirical approach admired by Roger Bacon.

Optical diagram showing light being refracted by a spherical glass container full of water (from Roger Bacon, De multiplicatione specierum)
Grosseteste was the founder of the famous Oxford franciscan school. He built his work on Aristotle's vision of the dual path of scientific reasoning. Concluding from particular observations into a universal law, and then back again: from universal laws to prediction of particulars. Grosseteste called this "resolution and composition". Further, Grosseteste said that both paths should be verified through experimentation in order to verify the principals. These ideas established a tradition that carried forward to Padua and Galileo Galilei in the 17th century.
Under the tuition of Grosseteste and inspired by the writings of Arab alchemists who had preserved and built upon Aristotle's portrait of induction, Bacon described a repeating cycle of observation, hypothesis, experimentation, and the need for independent verification. He recorded the manner in which he conducted his experiments in precise detail so that others could reproduce and independently test his results - a cornerstone of the scientific method, and a continuation of the work of researchers like Al Battani.
Bacon and Grosseteste conducted investigations into optics, although much of it was similar to what was being done at the time by Arab scholars. Bacon did make a major contribution to the development of science in medieval Europe by writing to the Pope to encourage the study of natural science in university courses and compiling several volumes recording the state of scientific knowledge in many fields at the time. He described the possible construction of a telescope, but there is no strong evidence of his having made one.

 Late Middle Ages (AD 1300–1500)

The first half of the 14th century saw the scientific work of great thinkers. The logic studies by William of Occam led him to postulate a specific formulation of the principle of parsimony, known today as Occam's Razor. This principle is one of the main heuristics used by modern science to select between two or more underdetermined theories.
As Western scholars became more aware (and more accepting) of controversial scientific treatises of the Byzantine and Islamic Empires these readings sparked new insights and speculation. The works of the early Byzantine scholar John Philoponus inspired Western scholars such as Jean Buridan to question the received wisdom of Aristotle's mechanics. Buridan developed the theory of impetus which was a step towards the modern concept of inertia. Buridan anticipated Isaac Newton when he wrote:

Galileo's demonstration of the law of the space traversed in case of uniformly varied motion. It's the same demonstration that Oresme had made centuries earlier.
. . . after leaving the arm of the thrower, the projectile would be moved by an impetus given to it by the thrower and would continue to be moved as long as the impetus remained stronger than the resistance, and would be of infinite duration were it not diminished and corrupted by a contrary force resisting it or by something inclining it to a contrary motion.
Thomas Bradwardine and his partners, the Oxford Calculators of Merton College, Oxford, distinguished kinematics from dynamics, emphasizing kinematics, and investigating instantaneous velocity. They formulated the mean speed theorem: a body moving with constant velocity travels distance and time equal to an accelerated body whose velocity is half the final speed of the accelerated body. They also demonstrated this theorem—essence of "The Law of Falling Bodies" -- long before Galileo is credited with this.
In his turn, Nicole Oresme showed that the reasons proposed by the physics of Aristotle against the movement of the earth were not valid and adduced the argument of simplicity for the theory that the earth moves, and not the heavens. Despite this argument in favor of the Earth's motion Oresme, fell back on the commonly held opinion that "everyone maintains, and I think myself, that the heavens do move and not the earth."
The historian of science Ronald Numbers notes that the modern scientific assumption of methodological naturalism can be also traced back to the work of these medieval thinkers:
By the late Middle Ages the search for natural causes had come to typify the work of Christian natural philosophers. Although characteristically leaving the door open for the possibility of direct divine intervention, they frequently expressed contempt for soft-minded contemporaries who invoked miracles rather than searching for natural explanations. The University of Paris cleric Jean Buridan (a. 1295-ca. 1358), described as "perhaps the most brilliant arts master of the Middle Ages," contrasted the philosopher’s search for "appropriate natural causes" with the common folk’s erroneous habit of attributing unusual astronomical phenomena to the supernatural. In the fourteenth century the natural philosopher Nicole Oresme (ca. 1320–82), who went on to become a Roman Catholic bishop, admonished that, in discussing various marvels of nature, "there is no reason to take recourse to the heavens, the last refuge of the weak, or demons, or to our glorious God as if He would produce these effects directly, more so than those effects whose causes we believe are well known to us."
However, a series of events that would be known as the Crisis of the Late Middle Ages was under its way. When came the Black Death of 1348, it sealed a sudden end to the previous period of massive scientific change. The plague killed a third of the people in Europe, especially in the crowded conditions of the towns, where the heart of innovations lay. Recurrences of the plague and other disasters caused a continuing decline of population for a century.

 Renaissance of the 15th century

The 15th century saw the beginning of the cultural movement of the Renaissance. The rediscovery of Greek scientific texts, both ancient and medieval, was accelerated as the Byzantine Empire fell to the Ottoman Turks and many Byzantine scholars sought refuge in the West, particularly Italy. Also, the invention of printing was to have great effect on European society: the facilitated dissemination of the printed word democratized learning and allowed a faster propagation of new ideas.
When the Renaissance moved to Northern Europe that science would be revived, by figures as Copernicus, Francis Bacon, and Descartes (though Descartes is often described as an early Enlightenment thinker, rather than a late Renaissance one).

 Byzantine and Islamic influences

Byzantine science played an important role in the transmission of classical knowledge to the Islamic world and to Renaissance Italy, and also in the transmission of medieval Arabic knowledge to Renaissance Italy. Its rich historiographical tradition preserved ancient knowledge upon which splendid art, architecture, literature and technological achievements were built.


Byzantine scientists preserved and continued the legacy of the great Ancient Greek mathematicians and put mathematics in practice. In early Byzantium (5th to 7th century) the architects and mathematicians Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles used complex mathematical formulas to construct the great “Hagia Sophia” temple, a magnificent technological breakthrough for its time and for centuries afterwards due to its striking geometry, bold design and height. In late Byzantium (9th to 12th century) mathematicians like Michael Psellos considered mathematics as a way to interpret the world.

The Causes of dominance of Europe

The causes of dominance of Europe are;
1. Exploration of population,
2. Exploration of Naval power,
3. Exploration of Science,
4. Exploration of Working Class movement, and
5. Exploration of Capital formation.
All these factors contribute to the dominance of Europe over the world.
Exploration of naval power is also known as the age of discovery

 The Age of Discovery

Resources for the Study of the Age of ExplorationIntroduction -- The mid-to-late 15th century has quite rightly been called the AGE OF EXPLORATION and Discovery. It was an age in which European sailors and ships left the coastal waters of the Old World and embarked on their adventure on the vast "green sea of darkness." First, Portuguese ships, then Spanish and finally, in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, British, French and Dutch ships set out to discover a world, a world they originally called the Other World, but eventually called the Mundus Novus -- the New World.
The costs were minimal but the risks were high. Whole continents were discovered and explored. However, despite the fact that history textbooks have, until quite recently, always glamorized this age of European exploration, there is one series fact we need to consider. That fact is this: Europeans found native populations wherever they landed and their first task was to befriend them. After this initial period came to an end, that is, after gold and silver was discovered among the natives, the age of European exploitation began. In this way, exploration turned to exploitation. One example says a lot: during the second voyage of Columbus in 1494, and while at Hispaniola, one of his captains collected 1500 Indians and held them captive. Five hundred were taken on board Spanish ships and 200 died at sea. Others were treated cruelly by the Spanish -- the first armed conflict between Indians and Europeans occurred in March 1495. So strong were the Spanish that the Indian population of Hispaniola was nearly destroyed. Of a population of 250,000 in 1492, barely 500 remained alive in 1538, just over forty years later.
Why did Europeans take to the Ocean Sea? What made the civilization of the Renaissance turn to discovery? Something drove Europeans out of their native lands in order to contact other lands. I would suggest that there are four basic motives. The first motive was perhaps the willingness or the courage to learn and understand other cultures. This idea naturally follows from what we accept as fundamental to the Renaissance in general -- a willingness to experience and observe as much as possible (see Lecture 1). In other words, man's curiosity was a prime motive to know as much about the world as possible. A second motive or explanation for this age of discovery was religious in origin. In this respect, the age is also connected to the idea of the Crusades of the 12th and 13th centuries. There was evident throughout Europe a religious desire to save souls, and the myth of PRESTER JOHN was extremely persuasive. Prester John was supposedly a powerful king of a legendary Christian nation in the east. It was popularly believed that Prester John had ordered all Christians to join him in a holy war against the infidels. There was no Prester John, nor was there any Christian kingdom to the east -- it was a myth. But Europeans believed that Prester John was real, a living fact in the age of discovery. After 1415, Portuguese explorers were told to search for Christians on the African coast but they found none.
A third motive was economic. Western Christendom felt itself to be shrinking and decaying at a time when Islam seemed to be enlarging its domain. Europe was exposed to attacks from the infidel east. Europeans also knew and agreed that the Far East was rich in luxuries. They knew this in their daily lives - -they assumed that these luxuries were in the East, just waiting to be taken by those adventurous and courageous enough to make the voyage. It was the Spanish who embraced the simple desire for gold and silver. Europe had scant resources in precious metals and the economy itself needed gold and silver. A final motive was political, economic and cultural in nature. We tend to speak of imperialism when we observe nations conquering other lands and the 15th century was no exception. As naval technology advanced, and as Europeans settled down to the notion that there was a much larger world at their disposal, they naturally made the attempt to colonize foreign lands. After all, the ancient Greeks and Romans had already done so. Perhaps it was now Europe's turn to create an empire.
Most of the explorers had the immediate task of finding a direct route to India and the Far East in order to obtain spices such as pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. There are over 250 varieties of spices native to the East, some are specific to one island or region alone. In 1291, two sailors from Genoa, Doria and Vivaldo, sailed through the Straits of Gibraltar trying to get to India -- they were never heard from again.
There were, of course, many obstacles to success in ocean navigation. Geographical knowledge of the world was obviously not what it is today, or even three hundred years ago. According to the ancients, only certain parts of the world were inhabited by men, the rest was barren of life. It was also commonly believed that Africa and Malaysia were connected so that the Indian Ocean was landlocked. Another important obstacle was simply the danger of ocean travel itself. The oceans were inhabited by dragons and sea monsters and there were great holes in the sea where ships would simply disappear. There was also the problem of wild natives, cannibals, reefs and shoals, unmapped waters, running aground and storms. Conditions on board ship were far from ideal. In 1521, Magellan recorded that:
we were three months and twenty days without refreshment from any kind of fresh food. We ate biscuit which was no longer biscuit but its powder, swarming with worms, the rats having eaten all the good. It stank strongly of their urine. We drank yellow water already many days putrid. We also ate certain ox hides that covered the top of the yards to prevent the yards from chafing the shrouds, and which had become exceedingly hard because of the sun, rain and wind. We soaked them in the sea for four or five days, then placed them for a short time over the hot embers and ate them thus, and often we ate sawdust. Rats were sold for half a ducat apiece, and even so we could not always get them.
And, of course, none of the explorers really knew where they were going!
What was necessary for travel on the open ocean was courageous men, a steadfast leader and strong ships. There were technological necessities as well. The chronometer, which measures longitude, was not available until the 18th century. The astrolabe, which measures latitude, was known to the ancient Greeks, and had been improved in the 15th century. The magnetic needle, or compass, came to Europe from the Arab world in the 12th century. Lastly, there was a need for more accurate maps and skilled mapmakers. One had to know how to map and chart what they had seen and the 15th century saw profound developments in the art and science of cartography.
The Portuguese -- In 1419, Prince Henry the Navigator (1394-1460), the son of King João of Portugal, began to subsidize sailors, mapmakers, astronomers, shipbuilders and instrument makers who were interested in discovering new lands. Although these men were mostly Italian, there were also many Jews, Muslims, Germans, Scandinavians and Arabs who came to Prince Henry's court. They were all united in their desire to find a way around Africa to India. These sailors did not succeed but they were successful in advancing down the west African coast, where they began to open a rich trade in gold and slaves. In 1444, 200 slaves were brought back to Portugal. In 1488, the Portuguese captain, Bartholomeu Dias (c.1450-1500), returned to Lisbon after having sailed to the east coast of Africa, passing the Cape of Storms, later renamed the Cape of Good Hope. Dias probably would have reached India had his crew not mutinied and forced him to return to Portugal. In the 1490s, Vasco de Gama (c.1460-1524) also rounded the Cape of Good Hope and ventured as far as the Indian Ocean. His voyage took two years but when he returned to Lisbon in 1499, the holds of his ships were swollen with spices from the East. Portuguese ambitions were at their peak by 1500.
Over the next twenty-five years, Portugal built an empire that remained entirely dependent on sea power. Rather than colonize its new territories, Portugal set up trading depots from West Africa to China, and made little attempt to conquer these lands by force. Despite one incident in which de Gama wrecked vengeance on CALECUT (Kozhikode) in 1502, the Portuguese set up military outposts with the sole task of protecting their investments. By the 16th century their wealth increased as they became the major importers of luxuries and spices from the East. Their expansion was sustained by the political and economic revival that was spreading throughout Europe at the time and also by competition with other nations. Although wealth flowed into Portugal, it was really northern Europe that was to benefit from Portuguese domination of the spice trade in the Spice Islands of Ceylon and Indonesia. Between 1501 and 1505, the Portuguese sent 7000 sailors to the east on voyages that were largely underwritten by Flemish, German and Italian bankers and other investors. Over time, Antwerp replaced Lisbon as the European center of the spice trade. The Portuguese were eventually to make greater gains in the accidental discovery of Brazil in 1500, than they did through the spice trade in the Far East. It also must be considered that Portugal faced outward toward the unknown waters of the Atlantic, away from the classic centers of European civilization, and to the south, lay Africa, a great untamed continent. So, it was natural for the Portuguese to ride the first wave of the age of exploration.
The Spanish -- It was the Spanish who rode the second wave of expansion and exploration, but unlike Portugal, Spain founded its empire on conquest and colonization, and not trade. Perhaps the most important of the Spanish endeavors was that of Christopher Columbus (1451-1506).
Columbus was born at Genoa, the son of a family of woolcombers. At the age of fourteen he went to sea, fought in several battles, and around 1470 was shipwrecked and reached the shores of Lisbon on a plank. As early as 1474, he conceived the idea of reaching India by sailing west. Three years later he sailed one hundred leagues beyond Thule and probably reached Iceland. Having voyaged to the Cape Verde Islands and Sierra Leone, he began to seek a patron for his intended voyage of exploration. He applied to John II of Portugal and Henry VIII of England but was refused both times.
Columbus was then referred to Ferdinand V (1452-1516) and Isabella I (1451-1504) of Spain (both Ferdinand and Isabella were known as la Católica, the Catholic). His plans were rejected by their board of advisors but after reconsideration and seven year's time, they were accepted by Ferdinand and Isabella in April 1492. A contract was drawn up on April 30, a contract which specified that Columbus would be designated the Admiral of the Ocean Sea. The contract also stated that Columbus would have control of all the lands he founded and 10% of all the riches. These rights were to be guaranteed and inherited by him and his family forever. He would also be admitted to the Spanish nobility.
On Friday, August 3, 1492, Columbus set sail on his first voyage in command of the Santa Maria and attended by two smaller ships, the Pinta and Nina. His whole squadron consisted of little more than 120 men. After thirty-three days at sea, Columbus sighted Watlings Island in the Bahamas. He then visited Cuba and Hispaniola, where he planted a small colony of forty men (Navidad), and then set sail for Spain. Fortunately, we have the JOURNAL of Columbus, which offers valuable insights into his first trans-Atlantic voyage. He entered the Spanish port of Palos on March 15, 1493 and was received with the highest honors of the court.
He sailed on a second voyage on September 25, 1493, this time with twenty ships (the trans-Atlantic passage lasted twenty-one days), and on November 3, sighted Dominca in the West Indies, and by the end of the month, he had discovered the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. He returned to Navidad only to find that the fortress he had left in 1493 lay in ruins and the men all dead. In April 1494 he left the West Indies in search of a route to China. He reached Cuba, but after hearing of an island that contained vast quantities of gold he sailed south and landed at Jamaica. After a hostile welcome from the natives, Columbus left for Cuba but faced with shoals, he gave up the quest and decided to return to Spain. In poor health, Columbus set sail on March 10, 1496, with two ships and returned to Spain on June 8.
The third voyage of Christopher Columbus began with six ships on May 30, 1498. Three ships sailed for Hispaniola while the other three, captained by Columbus, went on a mission of exploration. This voyage resulted in the discovery of Trinidad and Margarita. He eventually arrived at Santa Domingo on the island of Hispaniola on August 19, 1498. There he found the colony in turmoil. This time it was his own colonist who had led a revolt against his administration. Francisco de Bobadilla (d. 1502) was appointed as royal commissioner, Columbus was arrested, and in October 1500, he was sent home to Spain in irons.
On May 11, 1502, Columbus made his final voyage with four ships and 140 men. It was to be a voyage of continual hardship as constant storms and hostile Indians beleaguered Columbus and his tired crew. Although he was able to traverse the coast of Central America south to Panama. Columbus returned home on November 7, 1504. He died at Valladolid, Spain, on May 20, 1506. There is much controversy regarding his ultimate resting place, his body having been exhumed many times over a period of centuries.
Other Spanish discoveries followed those of Columbus. On September 1, 1513, Vasco Nunez de Balboa (1475-1519) left the Spanish settlement of Santa Maria de la Antigua with 200 men and a thousand Indians and crossed the isthmus of Panama. Three weeks later, Balboa climbed to the peak of a mountain, and saw the "South Sea." Four days later, he reached the Pacific Ocean and claimed all lands that it touched for Spain. And in 1519, the Portuguese sailor, Ferdinand Magellan (c.1480-1521), left Spain with five ships. He threaded the straits of Cape Horn at the tip of South America and reached the Pacific Ocean. He was killed during an expedition at Zebu in the Philippines on April 27, 1521, but his ship, the Victoria, returned to Spain with eighteen crew members, on September 6, 1522, thus completing the first circumnavigation of the globe (a Genoese sailor's journal is available).
In 1519, Hernando Cortés (1485-1547) set out to conquer the Aztec civilization of Mexico. His army consisted of 550 troops, 250 Indians and twelve horses. After a series of battles lasting more than a year, the conquistador Cortés brought Central and parts of South America under Spanish control and domination. His success was partly the result of obtaining allies from tribes that the Aztecs had conquered previously. Another reason for Cortés quick success was the superiority of European technology in small arms and artillery. By 1522, Cortés controlled a territory that was larger than that of Spain itself. But the human cost was immense -- in a period of thirty years, the Aztec population had been reduced from 25 million to 2 million people. This pattern of cruelty was repeated wherever Europeans landed. For instance, in 1531, Francesco Pizarro (1474-1541) conquered the Incan Empire of Peru. Gold and silver flooded back to Spain, especially after the huge silver deposit at Potosi was discovered.
The Spanish government established in the New World a pattern of political administration common back in Spain. Representatives of the throne were sent to administer the newly won empire and to impose centralized control. The native populations were treated cruelly by these governors and for the most part, the Spanish government remained totally indifferent to native traditions, customs and laws. The interests of the Spanish crown were basically to convert the natives to Christianity, extend Spain's power over its lands and to gain at least some portion of profit.
The gains of overseas exploration of the New World were immense. Gold and silver flooded into Europe, especially into Spain and ultimately into the hands of Italian and German bankers and merchants. Economic conditions seemed to be improving and the population was increasing. But with this wealth came poverty as investors and businessmen sought to take advantage of their new found wealth. The other gain was the simple fact of an awareness of new parts of the globe. This discovery of the New World as well as its exploration appeared at an opportune moment. For here was Europe sagging in its economy and its political power fragmented. If the Age of Discovery did anything, it restored the self-confidence of Europe, and in turn, Europe rediscovered itself

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Increase of Density of population in Europe in different centuries

Though Europe is one of the smallest continent in the world, it is among one of the populous continent. In fact, the density of population per square kilometer is 64 and its rank in this respect is first.The population of Europe is next to Asia. Its population is less than one-fifth of the whole of that of the world, it produces more than 50 % of the total industrial production. More than 50% of the people of Europe live in cities.There are more than 30 cities in Europe where more than 10 lakhs of people live in each of them. Among these countries in Europe there are at least 10 countries ho have extended there territories beyond their region to enrich their resources.

Growth of Population

The world population is the total number of living humans on the planet Earth, currently estimated to be 6.94 billion by the United States Census Bureau as of July 1, 2011. The world population has experienced continuous growth since the end of the Bubonic Plague, Great Famine and Hundred Years Wars in 1350, when it was about 300 million. The highest rates of growth—increases above 1.8% per year—were seen briefly during the 1950s, for a longer period during the 1960s and 1970s; the growth rate peaked at 2.2% in 1963, and declined to 1.1% by 2009. Annual births have reduced to 140 million since their peak at 173 million in the late 1990s, and are expected to remain constant, while deaths number 57 million per year and are expected to increase to 80 million per year by 2040. Current projections show a continued increase of population (but a steady decline in the population growth rate) with the population to reach between 7.5 and 10.5 billion by the year 2050

Monday, August 22, 2011

Growth of Civilisation (contd-1)

Japanese Empire
Anachnous Empire
British Empire
Ottoman Empire
Portuguese Empire
Qing Empire
Spanish Empire
Russian Empire
The building of monasteries and lateral of Gothic cathedrals expressed the spiritual preoccupaions of the pople and it was not until the Renaissance (which emaniated from the wealthy and vigorous Italian city states) that medieval ideas about life and the Universe began to be questioned,, The rebirth of classical learning sparked off scientific and artistc revolution that transformed Europe. Protestantism broke the religious supremacyof the church of Rome.New lands were discovered and European ideas were carried to many parts of the world. The 19th century saw a great industrial revolution, brought
about by the advance of science and technology and by an unprecedened growth in population which haunted them to try to find new places for rehabilitation and wealeth.
Meanwhile shipbuilding and navigation in Europe had considerably advanced and more extended voyages were possible Portuguese took the lead in this respect. From A.D. 1487 to 1650 they found out about the whole world to extend their Empire as colony.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Growth of Civilisation

Almost all the great civilisations originated in river valleys, were nourished by trade and came to maturity in cities. The condition of life in the cities provided the intellectual stimulus in which philosophers and scientists could study the meaning of the Universe and the nature of matter.Artists and writers could express the ideals and aspirations of their people through the medium of architecture, literature, paintings, and music.
The course of civilisation can be traced in four main geographical areas, 1. Near east; Egypt and Mesopotamian,2.Europe, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, 3.Middle east; India, 4.Far east; China, Mongal, Japan . The progress of a civilisation is marked by man's increasing control over nature through applied mathematics, and science, the evolution of writings of legal codes and of political and religious orgabisations.
The western civilisation, as we know, originated in the Aegean, but received in real character from the culture of Greece, Rome and Jeruslem. The Arabs, and the Christian Church had preserved different aspects of these ancient cultures,and in their development, carried them farther. The Greeks entering the Aegan from the north, built city states which though constantly at odds with one aonther, shared  a common cultural development and used the alphabet brought to them by trading Phoenicians. Sparta was a military state, but in Athens, Solon and Pericles developed a democratic form of Government for all free citizens. Philosophers, such as, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, sought knowledge  and truth about man and the Universe, and provided the starting points for most of our own ideas and ideals. The same spirit of inquiry animated mathematicians and scientists Pythagorus, Hippocrates. Drama was born in the movingand beautiful tragedies of Aeschylus and Sophocles. The Golden age of Pericles was symbolised by the building of the Parthenon.
The Romans created an enlightened and imperial system of laws, an international language, imposing architecture, and a net work of roads The Roman Empire was divided into east and west in the 4th century , the Eastern or Byzantine Empire, with Constantenople as its capital resisted the onslaught of the Arabs and the Turks for nearly 10 centuries and spread its religion and culture to Bulgaria and Russia.
Meanwhile Christianity, despite persecution, had penetrated into central and northern Europe. During the Dark Ages the Church was responsible for the preservation of knowledge inherited from the past.                   

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Marx and Indian Society

Evolution of British Empire (contd-1)


First steps: AD 1497-1600
England makes tentative first steps towards establishing a presence beyond the ocean in the same decade as Spain and Portugal, the 1490s. In 1497 Henry VII sends John Cabot on an expedition across the Atlantic to look for a trade route to China. The explorer probably reaches Newfoundland, but his journey provides no lasting result (apart from a theoretical claim to Canada, and news of the rich fishing potential in north Atlantic waters).

During the 16th century, when English seamen are honing their skills, Drake and his colleagues find it more profitable to raid the Spanish main as privateers than to go to the expense of transporting colonists across the Atlantic.

The exception is Walter Raleigh, who sponsors two attempts to settle a colony on Roanoke Island, off the coast of what is now north Carolina. Both are disastrous. The colonists left there in 1585 are soon desperate to return, and are brought back to England by Drake in 1586.

Another group of settlers is brought to the island in 1587, a year which sees the first child born in America to English parents. She is called Virginia Dare (Virginia, in honour of England's virgin queen, is the name given to the colony). But when an English ship next visits the island, in 1590, no trace remains of any member of this pioneering community.

The next attempt to establish English colonies in America comes in 1606, with the founding of two companies for the purpose.

Meanwhile England is also considering a more active role in European adventures to the east. At the very end of the century an initiative is taken which will lead, through the activities of the East India Company, to the longest of Britain's colonial enterprises.

English trade in the east: 17th century AD
On the last day of the year 1600 Elizabeth I grants a charter to a 'Company of Merchants trading into the East Indies'. Early voyages prove successful; by 1614 the East India Company owns twenty-four ships. But competition with the Dutch in the spice islands leads to violence, culminating in a massacre of English merchants at Amboina by their Dutch rivals in 1623.

This disaster causes the company to concentrate on its interests in India. In 1613 a factory (meaning a secure warehouse for the accumulation of Indian textiles, spices and indigo) has been formally established on the west coast, at Surat. The first English vessel with a cargo of these Indian goods sails from Surat in 1615.

Surat remains the English headquarters on the west coast until it is gradually replaced, between 1672 and 1687, by Bombay (given to Charles II in 1661 as part of the dowry of his Portuguese bride, Catherine of Braganza, and leased by him to the company in 1668).

Meanwhile the English are establishing secure footholds on the east coast. Fort St George is begun at Madras in 1640 and is completed in 1644. Calcutta is eventually selected, in 1690, as the best site for a trading station in the Ganges delta; it is fortified, as Fort William, in 1696. By the end of the 17th century the three English presidencies of Bombay, Madras and Calcutta are securely established

British Empire where sun never sets

British Empire

British Empire
The areas of the world that at one time were part of the British Empire. Current British Overseas Territories are underlined in red.
The areas of the world that at one time were part of the British Empire. Current British Overseas Territories are underlined in red.
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates, and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1922 the British Empire held sway over about 458 million people, one-quarter of the world's population at the time, and covered more than 33,700,000 km2 (13,012,000 sq mi), almost a quarter of the Earth's total land area. As a result, its political, linguistic and cultural legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, it was often said that "the sun never sets on the British Empire" because its span across the globe ensured that the sun was always shining on at least one of its numerous territories.
During the Age of Discovery in the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal and Spain pioneered European exploration of the globe, and in the process established large overseas empires. Envious of the great wealth these empires bestowed, England, France and the Netherlands began to establish colonies and trade networks of their own in the Americas and Asia.[5] A series of wars in the 17th and 18th centuries with the Netherlands and France left England (Britain, following the 1707 Act of Union with Scotland) the dominant colonial power in North America and India. The loss of the Thirteen Colonies in North America in 1783 after a war of independence deprived Britain of some of its oldest and most populous colonies. British attention soon turned towards Africa, Asia and the Pacific. Following the defeat of Napoleonic France in 1815, Britain enjoyed a century of almost unchallenged dominance, and expanded its imperial holdings across the globe. Increasing degrees of autonomy were granted to its white settler colonies, some of which were reclassified as dominions.
The growth of Germany and the United States had eroded Britain's economic lead by the end of the 19th century. Subsequent military and economic tensions between Britain and Germany were major causes of the First World War, during which Britain relied heavily upon its Empire. The conflict placed enormous financial strain on Britain, and although the Empire achieved its largest territorial extent immediately after the war, it was no longer a peerless industrial or military power. The Second World War saw Britain's colonies in South-East Asia occupied by Japan, which damaged British prestige and accelerated the decline of the Empire, despite the eventual victory of Britain and its allies. India, Britain's most valuable and populous possession, won independence within two years of the end of the war.
After the end of the Second World War, as part of a larger decolonisation movement by European powers, most of the territories of the British Empire were granted independence, ending with the handover of Hong Kong to the People's Republic of China in 1997. 14 territories remain under British sovereignty, the British Overseas Territories. After independence, many former British colonies joined the Commonwealth of Nations, a free association of independent states. 16 Commonwealth nations share their head of state, Queen Elizabeth II, as Commonwealth realms.
Evolution of British Empire
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Animated map showing growth and decline of the British empire
The evolution of the British Empire is considered to begin with the foundation of the English colonial empire in the late 16th century. Since then, a great many territories have been under the control of the United Kingdom and its predecessor states.
The Kingdom of Great Britain was formed in 1707 by the union of the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland; in 1801 the Kingdom of Ireland joined this Union to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland; in 1922 most of Ireland gained independence as the Irish Free State, and in 1927 the formal name of the Union was changed to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to reflect this. Collectively, the territories under the control of these states since the 18th century are referred to as the British Empire.
From 1876 to 1947, the monarch of the United Kingdom was formally designated as Empress or Emperor of India, a title created by the UK Parliament. Currently, Elizabeth II is the monarch of sixteen Commonwealth realms.
The nature of the administration of the Empire changed both by time and place. Most of its parts were British territorial possessions, but after the First World War there were also several mandates granted by the League of Nations


Name of territoryDatesStatusComments
Anglo-Egyptian Sudan - see under "Sudan"
1871–1884annexed to Cape Colony
1965–1966self-governing colony
1966independent as Lesotho!T! abc /\\/
(see also under "British Bechuanaland")
1965–1966self-governing colony
1966independent as Botswana!T! abc /\\/
Bight of Benin1852–1861protectorate
1861united with Bight of Biafra
Bight of Biafra1849–1861protectorate
1861united with Bight of Benin
Bights of Biafra and Benin1861–1891protectorate
Brass-Bonny-Opobo-Aobh-Old Calabar1885–1891protectorate
British Bechuanaland
(see also under "Bechuanaland")
1885–1895crown colony
1895incorporated into Cape ColonyNow a part of the Northern Cape and North West provinces of South Africa
British Cameroons1916–1919occupation
1919–1946League of Nations mandated territory
1946–1961United Nations Trust Territory
1961northern part merged into Nigeria
1961southern part merged into the Republic of Cameroon!T! abc
British Central Africa - see under "Nyasaland"
British East Africa1888–1895territory leased to the Imperial British East Africa Company by the Sultan of Zanzibar
1920split into the colony of Kenya and the protectorate of Kenya
British Somaliland1884–1960protectorateforcibly merged with Somalia then became independent in 1991 as Somaliland (unrecognized)
Cape Colony1910colonybecame a province of the Union of South Africa as the "Cape of Good Hope"
1946–1951UN trusteeship under Britainnow part of Libya
- Suez Canal Zone1882–1956controlledrestored to Egyptian control
1956occupationrestored to Egyptian control
Gambia1816–1965crown colony
1965independent!T! abc
Gold Coast1874–1957colony
1957independent as Ghana!T! abc
Kenya, Colony of1920–1963colonyPreviously part of British East Africa
1963independentabc /\\/
Kenya, Protectorate of1920–1963protectoratePreviously part of British East Africa
1963merged with the colony of Kenya at independence
Lagos Protectorate1887–1906protectorate, governed from the Lagos Colony
1906incorporated into the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria
1910became a province of the Union of South AfricaNow part of the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Niger Districts1885–1899protectorate under the Royal Niger Company
1900became part of Northern Nigeria
Niger River Delta1886–1899protectorate under the Royal Niger Company
1900became part of Northern Nigeria
Nigeria, Protectorate of1914–1954protectorate governed by the Colony of NigeriaPreviously known as the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria
1954merged with the Colony of Nigeria to form the Federation of Nigeria
Nigeria, Colony of
known as the Colony of Southern Nigeria to 1913
1906–1954colonyPreviously known as the Colony of Lagos
1954merged with the Protectorate of Nigeria to form the Federation of Nigeria
Nigeria, Federation of1954–1960autonomous federationformed from the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria
1960independent!T! abc
Northern Nigeria1900–1913protectorate governed by the Colony of Southern Nigeria
1914merged with Protectorate of Southern Nigeria to form the Protectorate of Nigeria
known as the Nyassaland Districts until 1893, and then British Central Africa until 1907
1964independent as Malawi!T! abc /\\/
Orange River Colony1900–1910colony
1907granted responsible government
1910became a province of the Union of South Africa as the "Orange Free State"
Rhodesianow divided between Zambia and Zimbabwe
- Matabeleland1888–1894protectorate under British South Africa Company
1894united with Mashonaland as South Zambesia in 1894
- Mashonaland1889–1894protectorate under BSAC
1894united with Matabeleland as South Zambesia in 1894
- South Zambesia1894–1895protectorate under BSAC
1895united with North Zambesia as Rhodesia
- Rhodesia1895–1901protectorate under BSAC
1901Mashonaland and Matabeleland united as Southern Rhodesia
- Northern Rhodesia1911–1924protectorate under BSACamalgamation of North-Western Rhodesia and North-Eastern Rhodesia
1953–1963part of Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland
1964independent as Zambia!T! abc /\\/
- Southern Rhodesia1901–1923protectorate under BSAC
1923–1953self-governing colony
1953–1963part of Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland
Rhodesia1964–1965crown colony
1965–1970unilaterally declared independent, with Elizabeth II as head of statenot internationally recognised
1970–1979republicnot internationally recognised
-Zimbabwe-Rhodesia1979interim state
1980independent as Zimbabwe!T! abc /\\/
Sierra Leone1787–1808Freed slave colony organised by Sierra Leone Company
1808–1821crown colony
1821–1850part of British West Africa
1850–1866crown colony
1866–1888part of British West Africa
1896–1961colony and protectorate
1961independent!T! abc
South Africa1910–1961dominionformed by the federation of the Cape, Orange River, Natal, and Transvaal colonies
1961-republic!T! abc /\\/ (not a member of the Commonwealth between 1961 and 1994)
Southern Nigeria, Protectorate of
known as the Oil Rivers Protectorate until 1893, then Niger Coast Protectorate until 1900
1914merged with Northern Nigeria to form the Protectorate of Nigeria
("Anglo-Egyptian Sudan")
1899–1952condominium (joint-rule) with Egypt
1956independent!T! abc
Swaziland1893–1902protectorate under Transvaal
1968independentabc [X] /\\/
German East Africa1916–1922occupation
1946–1961United Nations Trust Territory under Britain
1961independent!T! abc /\\/ merged with Zanzibar in 1964 to form Tanzania
Tati Concessions Land1872–1893concession
1893detached from Matabeleland
1893–1911under protectorate of Bechuanaland
1911annexed to Bechuanaland
1884–1900independent as South African Republic
1906–1910self-governing colony
1910part of Union of South Africanow divided between the provinces of Gauteng/Limpopo/North West/Mpumalanga, South Africa
1946–1951UN trusteeship under Britainnow part of Libya
- Benghazi; Sirte1942–1946occupation
1946–1951UN trusteeship under Britainnow part of Libya
- Tripoli1943–1946occupation
1946–1951UN trusteeship under Britainnow part of Libya
Uganda1890–1893occupied by British East Africa Company
1893–1894provisional protectorate
1962independent!T! abc /\\/
Walvis Bay1795–1878occupation
1884part of Cape Colonynow part of Namibia
1963independentmerged with Tanganyika in 1964 to form Tanzania
Zululand1887–1897crown colony
1897incorporation into Natalnow part of the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

[edit] Northern America

Name of territoryDatesStatusComments
1836reverted to control of the Hudson's Bay CompanyNow part of the province of Manitoba, Canada
1637incorporated into Newfoundland
Bristol's Hope1618–1631colony
Canada, Dominion ofdominion (1867-1931)formed by the federation of the provinces of Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia:±: [X] abc
  • Queen Elizabeth II first monarch to be titled Queen of Canada (Ascended to the Throne of Canada in 1952)
  • 1982 - New Constitution updating Canada's relationship with the United Kingdom
  • Several Provinces and Territories have joined since Confederation.
Canada, Province of1841–1867colonyFormed by the amalgamation of the provinces of Lower and Upper Canada
1867joined the Dominion of Canada and divided into the provinces of Ontario and QuebecNow the southern halves of Ontario and Quebec, Canada
Cape Breton Island1763incorporated into Nova ScotiaPreviously under French sovereignty
1784colonyseparated from Nova Scotia
1820re-incorporated into Nova Scotia
1663–1691proprietary colony
- North Carolina1691–1710colony subordinated to South Carolina
1776declared independent as part of the United States
1783sovereignty formally relinquished by Great Britain
- South Carolina1691–1710colony
1710–1776proprietary colony
1776declared independent as part of the United States
1783sovereignty formally relinquished by Great Britain
Cuper's Cove1610–1621colony
East Florida1763–1783colony
1783returned to Spanish sovereigntyNow part of the state of Florida, United States
Florida - see under "East Florida" and "West Florida"
Georgia1732–1755proprietary colony
1755–1776crown colony
1776declared independent as part of the United States
1783sovereignty formally relinquished by Great Britain
Labrador1763–1774part of Newfoundlandannexed to Quebec
1774–1809part of Quebec (1774–1809)
1809annexed to NewfoundlandNow part of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
Lower Canada1791–1841province (colony)Now the southern half of the province of Quebec, Canada
1841merged with Upper Canada to form the Province of CanadaRe-established within the Dominion of Canada as the province of Quebec in 1867
New Brunswick1784–1867colonySeparated from Nova Scotia
1867became a province of Canada
Newfoundland1497–1583claimed by England
1818–1907crown colony
1934–1949Commission of GovernmentSelf-rule suspended, "Dominion" in name only
1949became a province of CanadaNow known as "Newfoundland and Labrador"
North-Western Territory1859–1870
1870incorporated into the Northwest Territories of CanadaNow divided between the Canadian provinces and territories of Northwest Territories, Yukon, Nunavut, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia
Stikine Territory1862–1863Now divided between British Columbia and Yukon, Canada
Nova Scotia1621–1632Scottish colony
1654–1670English occupation
1690–1691English occupation
1710–1713British occupation
1848granted responsible government
1867became a province of Canada
Prince Edward Island
known as New Ireland until 1769, and as St. John's Island until 1799
1763–1769part of Nova Scotia
1873became a province of Canada
Quebec1763–1791province (colony)Quebec and Ontario, in Canada, and (until 1783) the states of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, in the United States
1791divided into the provinces of Lower Canada and Upper Canada
Rupert's Land1670–1870possession of Hudson's Bay CompanyNominally included territory that is now part of the Canadian territories and provinces of Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Yukon (until 1858), British Columbia (until 1858), Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and (until 1818) parts of the U.S. states of North Dakota and Minnesota
1870incorporated into Canada
St. Pierre and Miquelon1713–1763part of Nova Scotia
1763restored to French sovereignty
South Falkland1623–1626colonyabandoned
Upper Canada1791–1841province (colony)Ontario, Canada
1841merged with Lower Canada to form the Province of CanadaRe-established within the Dominion of Canada as the province of Ontario in 1867
Vancouver Island1849–1866crown colony
1866merged into the colony of British ColumbiaNow part of the province of British Columbia, Canada
1624–1776crown colony
1776declared independent as part of the United States
1783Sovereignty formally relinquished by Great Britain
West Florida1763–1781colony
1781returned to Spanish sovereigntyNow part of the state of Florida, United States

 Central America and the Caribbean

Name of territoryDatesStatusComments
Anguilla1650–1696colony under St. Christopher
1696–1816part of colony of Leeward Islands
1816–1832part of colony of St. Christopher, Nevis, Anguilla, and the British Virgin Islands
1832–1871part of colony of Leeward Islands as colony of St. Christopher, Nevis, Anguilla, and the British Virgin Islands
1871–1882part of the presidency of Saint Christopher (within the Leeward Islands)
1882–1956part of the presidency of Saint Christopher and Nevis (within the Leeward Islands)
1956–1967part of Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla
1967–1969unilaterally declared independence
1969–1980part of Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla
1980–1983self-governing colony
1983–2002dependent territory
2002-British Overseas Territory!T! [X] abc /\\/
(incl. Barbuda from 1860)
1671–1672part of colony of Leeward Islands
1672–1816part of colony of Leeward Islands
1816–1832part of colony of Antigua-Barbuda-Montserrat
1833–1871part of colony of Leeward Islands
1871–1956presidency within the Leeward Islands
1958–1962province of West Indies Federation
1967–1981associated state
1981independent as Antigua and Barbuda:±: !T! [X] abc /\\/
Bahamas1670–1684proprietary colony
1684occupied by Spain
1718–1964crown colony
1973independent:±: !T! [X] abc /\\/
Barbados1624–1627claimed by England
1627–1652proprietary colony
1663–1833crown colony
1833–1885part of colony of Windward Islands
1958–1962province of West Indies Federation
1966independent:±: !T! [X] abc /\\/
1632–1671dependency of Antigua
1671–1816part of colony of Leeward Islands
1816–1832part of colony of Antigua-Barbuda-Montserrat
1833–1860part of colony of Leeward Islands
1860annexed to Antigua
1980unilateral declaration of independence
1981independent as part of Antigua and Barbuda
Bay Islands1643–1780crown colony
1780occupied by Spain for a month
1780–1860crown colony subordinated to Jamaica
1860ceded to Honduras
Belize - see under "British Honduras"
British Honduras1665–1742settlement
1742–1840settlement subordinated to Jamaica
1840–1862colony subordinated to Jamaica
1862–1884crown colony subordinated to Jamaica
1884–1954crown colony
1964–1981self-governing colony
1973renamed "Belize"
1981independent:±: !T! [X] abc
British Virgin Islands1666–1672occupation
1672–1713part of colony of Leeward Islands as part of Antigua
1713–1816crown colony part of colony of Leeward Islands
1816–1832part of colony of St. Christopher, Nevis, Anguilla, and the British Virgin Islands
1832–1871part of colony of Leeward Islands as colony of St. Christopher, Nevis, Anguilla, and the British Virgin Islands
1871–1956presidency within the Leeward Islands
1956–1960part of territory of Leeward Islands
1983–2002dependent territory
2002-British Overseas Territory!T! [X] abc /\\/
Cayman Islands1670–1958colony part of Jamaica
1958–1962province of West Indies Federation
1962–1983crown colony
1983–2002dependent territory
2002-British Overseas Territory!T! [X] abc /\\/
1778ceded to France
1871–1939presidency within the Leeward Islands
1940–1958colony within the Windward Islands
1958–1962province of West Indies Federation
1967–1978associated state
1978independent!T! [X] abc /\\/
1763–1779part of colony of South Caribbean Islands
1779occupied by France
1783–1802part of colony of South Caribbean Islands
1833–1958part of Windward Islands
1958–1962province of West Indies Federation
1967–1974associated state
1974independent:±: !T! [X] abc /\\/
Île de la Tortue and Saint-Domingue1655–1659occupation
1953–1958self-governing colony
1958–1962province of West Indies Federation
1962independent:±: !T! [X] abc /\\/
Leeward Islands1671–1816colony
1871–1956federal colonyComprised the presidencies of Antigua (incl. Barbuda), Dominica (to 1939), Montserrat, Nevis , Saint Kitts (incl. Anguilla, and combined with Nevis in 1883), and the Virgin Islands
Montserrat1632–1667colony part of Antigua
1667occupied by France
1668–1782part of colony of Leeward Islands
1784–1816part of colony of Leeward Islands
1816–1832part of colony of Antigua-Barbuda-Montserrat
1832–1833colony part of Antigua
1833–1871part of colony of Leeward Islands
1871–1956presidency within the Leeward Islands
1958–1962province of West Indies Federation
1967–1983associated state
1983–2002dependent territory
2002-British Overseas Territory!T! [X] abc /\\/
Mosquito Coast1668–1786protectorate
1861incorporated into Nicaragua
Nevis1628–1671colony subordinated to Barbados
1671–1701part of colony of Leeward Islands
1701–1704part of colony of Leeward Islands under Antigua
1704–1816part of colony of Leeward Islands
1816–1833part of colony of St. Christopher, Nevis, Anguilla, and the British Virgin Islands
1833–1871part of Leeward Islands as colony of St. Christopher, Nevis, Anguilla, and the British Virgin Islands
1871–1883presidency within the Leeward Islands
1883amalgamated with Saint Kitts to form the presidency of Saint Christopher and Nevis (within the Leeward Islands)
Redonda1872–1981part of Antigua
St. Christopher
(Saint Kitts)
1666occupied by France
1671–1701part of colony of Leeward Islands
1701–1704part of colony of Leeward Islands under Antigua
1704–1782part of colony of Leeward Islands
1782occupied by France
1783–1816part of colony of Leeward Islands
1816–1833part of colony of St. Christopher, Nevis, Anguilla, and the British Virgin Islands
1833–1871part of Leeward Islands as colony of St. Christopher, Nevis, Anguilla, and the British Virgin Islands
1871–1882part of colony of Leeward Islands
1882amalgamated with Nevis to form the presidency of Saint Christopher-Nevis (within the Leeward Islands)
St. Christopher and Nevis1882–1958presidency within the Leeward Islands
1958–1962part of province of Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla of West Indies Federation
1962–1967part of colony of Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla
1967–1980part of associated state of Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla
1980–1983associated state
1983independent:±: !T! [X] abc /\\/
St. Eustatius1665–1666occupation
St. John1801–1802occupation
1807–1815occupationNow part of the United States Virgin Islands
St. Lucia1605–1640settlement
1838–1958crown colony part of colony of Windward Islands
1958–1962province of West Indies Federation
1962–1967crown colony
1967–1979associated state
1979independent:±: !T! [X] abc /\\/
Saint Martin1690–1699occupation
St. Thomas1801–1802occupation
1807–1815occupationNow part of the United States Virgin Islands
St. Vincent and the Grenadines1627–1636claimed
1776–1779crown colony
1779occupied by France
1783–1833crown colony
1833–1958part of colony of Windward Islands
1958–1962province of West Indies Federation
1969–1979associated state
1979independent:±: !T! [X] abc /\\/
South Caribbean Islands1763–1802colony
1802dissolvedIncluded the present-day countries of Dominica, Grenada, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and the island of Tobago
Tobago1762–1764part of colony of Windward Islands
1781colony of France
1802colony of France
1803–1833crown colony
1833–1888part of colony of Windward Islands
1889amalgamated with Trinidad
1635French possessionNow part of Haiti
1889amalgamated with Tobago as "Trinidad and Tobago"
Trinidad and Tobago1889–1958colony
1958–1962province of West Indies Federation
1962independent!T! [X] abc /\\/
Turks and Caicos Islands1799–1848colony part of Bahamas
1874–1959colony part of Jamaica
1959–1962province of West Indies Federation
1962–1983crown colony
1983–2002dependent territory
2002-British Overseas Territory!T! [X] abc /\\/
Virgin Islands - see under "British Virgin Islands"
West Indies Federation1958–1962federation of colonies
1962dissolutionIncluded the present-day countries of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados; Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago, and the British Overseas Territories of Anguilla, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, and Turks and Caicos Islands
Windward Islands1833–1956colony
1960dissolutionIncluded the present-day countries of Barbados (to 1885), Grenada, Dominica (from 1940), St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and (until 1889) the island of Tobago

[edit] South America

Name of territoryDatesStatusComments
Berbice1781–1782subordinated to Barbados
1782occupied by France
1802restored to the Netherlands
1831united with Demerara-Essequibo to form British GuianaNow part of Guyana
British Guiana1831–1961colonyFormed by the merger of the colonies of Berbice and Demerara-Essequibo
1966independent as Guyana
Demerara1781–1782subordinated to Barbados
1782French occupation
1802restored to Netherlands
1814merged with Essequibo to form Demerara-Essequibo
Demerara-Essequibo1814–1831colonyFormed by the merger of the separate colonies of Demerara and Essequibo
1831united with Berbice to form British Guiana
Essequibo1781–1782subordinated to Barbados
1782French occupation
1802restored to the Netherlands
1814merged with Demerara to form Demerara-Essequibo
Oyapoc1620settlementNow in Guyana
1689incorporated into EssequiboNow in Guyana
1688Dutch occupationNow Paramaribo, in Suriname


Name of territoryDatesStatusComments
Aden1839–1873colony subordinate to Bombay
1932–1937province of British India
1937–1963crown colony
1963part of protectorate of South Arabia
1967independentNow part of Yemen
British Mandate of Mesopotamia1920–1932League of Nations Mandate
2003–2004Successor state (Iraq) under partial British occupation
1896–1947province of British India
1947part of PakistanNow part of Baluchistan and the Tribal Areas, in Pakistan
1621expelled by the Dutch
1630–1634subordinated to Surat
1652–1682subordinated to Surat
1682expelled by the DutchNow in Indonesia
(Fort York)
1685–1760fort subordinated to Madras
1785–1825subordinated to Bengal
1825part of Netherlands East IndiesNow Bengkulu, in Indonesia
Bengal1634–1658factoriesNow divided between West Bengal (in India) and Bangladesh
1658–1681subordinated to Madras
1682–1694presidency of Coromandel and Bengal Settlements
1694–1698subordinated to Madras
1698–1700presidency of Coromandel and Bengal Settlements
1774–1854part of British India
1854–1905part of province of Bengal-Bihar-Orissa
West Bengal1905–1912province
1912partition reversedNow part of West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, and Jharkhand, in India
East Bengal1905–1912province
1912partition reversedNow part of Bangladesh
Fort William1912–1937presidencyNow divided between West Bengal (in India), and Bangladesh
1947divided between India and East Pakistan
1941–1945Japanese occupation
1984-Independent!T! abc /\\/
Burma1824–1852Arakan, Tenasserim
1852–1886Lower Burma
1885–1886Upper Burma
1886–1937province of British India
1942–1945Japanese occupation
Hong Kong1843–1941crown colony
1941Japanese occupation
1945–1983crown colony
1983–1997dependent territory
1997transferred to China as a Special Administrative RegionNow a special administrative region of the People's Republic of China
Hong Kong Island1841–1843annexed
1843made crown colony
Kowloon, Stonecutters Island1860–1997part of Hong Kong
1997transferred to China as part of Hong Kong SAR
India1757–1858Company rule in India
1858–1876Presidencies and provinces of British India
1876–1947Indian Empire
1947Independent as India after partition!T! abc /\\/
1947Independent as Pakistan after partition!T! abc /\\/
1971-East Pakistan, (part of Pakistan after partition), separated to form Bangladesh in 1971!T! abc /\\/
British Malaya1824transferred following Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824
1824–1867territory of British East India Company
1867–1946Straits Settlements, crown colony
1895–1946Federated Malay States, protectorate
1885–1946Johor, protectorate (part of Unfederated Malay States)
1909–1946Kedah, protectorate (part of Unfederated Malay States)
1909–1946Kelantan, protectorate (part of Unfederated Malay States)
1909–1946Perlis, protectorate (part of Unfederated Malay States)
1909–1946Terengganu, protectorate (part of Unfederated Malay States)
1942–1945Japanese occupation
1946–1948Malayan Union
1948–1957Federation of Malaya
1957–1963independent state
1963-Joined with North Borneo and the Kingdom of Sarawak to form independent state of Malaysia!T! abc /\\/ [X]
New Territories1898–1997lease territory part of Hong Kong
North Borneo1882–1946protectorate
1946–1963crown colony
1963-Part of Malaysia
Pulo Condore Island/Côn Đảo1702–1705possession of British East India Company
1705abandonedNow Côn Đảo, in Vietnam
Kingdom of Sarawak1888–1946protectorate
Straits Settlements1826–1858possession under British East India CompanyNow divided between Malacca and Penang, in Malaysia, and Singapore
1858–1867subordinated to British India
1867–1942crown colony
1942occupied by Japan
1668–1685possession under British East India Company
1685–1703subordinated to Bombay
1703incorporated into BombayNow in India
Palestine1920–1948mandateNow known as Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza Strip
1948independenceNow known as Israel
1948–presentoccupied by Israel
1824–1867Part of Straits Settlements (as residency of the Presidency of Bengal
1867–1942Part of Straits Settlements (crown colony)
1942–1945occupied by Japan
1945–1946military administration
1946–1963crown colony
1963–1965Part of Malaysia
1965-Independence!T! abc /\\/
Syriaoccupation (1941–1946)independence
Transjordan1920–1921part of Palestine MandateNow known as Jordan
1923formally separated from Palestine
1928emirate independent, except military and finance control
1946formal independence
Trucial States1892–1971protectorate
1971formation of Federation of Arab EmiratesNow part of the United Arab Emirates
South Vietnam1945–1946occupation
1946formation of Autonomous Republic of CochinchinaNow part of Vietnam
1930returned to ChinaNow part of the People's Republic of China

[edit] Europe

Name of territoryDatesStatusComments
Akrotiri and Dhekelia1960–1983colonies
1983-2002dependent territory
2002-British Overseas Territory
1279briefly occupied by France
1279-1660part of bailiwick of Guernsey
1825subordinated to Guernsey
(British Zone)
1945–1955occupiedIncluded Carinthia, Styria, and the east Tyrol
1955Austrian sovereignty restored
(British Sector)
1990incorporated into Germany
Calais1347–1558fort - regarded as part of English territory
1558recaptured by France
1796incorporated into France
1814restored to French sovereignty
Cyprus1878–1914administration while nominally remaining part of the Ottoman Empire
1925–1960crown colony
1947incorporated into Greece
England10th centurykingdom formed
1536incorporated Wales
1603–1649personal union with Scotland
1649–1660republic as the Commonwealth of England
1660–1707personal union with Scotland
1707political union with Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain
Faroe Islands1940–1945occupied
1945restored to Danish sovereignty
1800sovereignty restored to Republic of Genoa
1815annexed to Sardinia-PiedmontNow part of Italy
(British Zone)
1945–1955occupiedIncluded territories of the present-day German states of Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Lower Saxony, and North Rhine-Westphalia
1955full sovereignty restored to the Federal Republic of Germany
1830–1983crown colony
1983–2002dependent territory
2002-British Overseas TerritorySovereignty disputed by Spain
Great Britain, Kingdom of1707formed by union of the kingdoms of England and Scotland
1801union of Great Britain with Ireland to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
(incl. islands of Brechou, Herm, Jethou, and Sark)
1940–1945occupied by Germany
1890incorporated into Germany
Ionian Islands1809–1815occupied
1815–1864United States of Ionian Islands, under British protection
1864incorporated into Greece
1541-1800kingdom subordinated to the English (later British) Crown
1801merged with Great Britain to form the United Kingdom
1922secession of twenty-six counties as the Irish Free State
1937Irish Free State breaks most remaining constitutional links with the British Crown and is renamed Ireland (or Éire)
1949Ireland becomes a republic and leaves the CommonwealthSee also under "Northern Ireland"
Isle of Man1266–1290fiefdom under Scotland
1313–1317fiefdom under Scotland
1328–1333fiefdom under Scotland
1594–1610direct crown rule
1649–1660commonwealth and protectorate
1827-crown dependency
1947Italian sovereignty restored
Jersey1204fiefdom subordinated to Guernsey
1204–1205fiefdom subordinated to Guernsey
1206–1279fiefdom subordinated to Guernsey
1279–1380bailiwick subordinated to Guernsey
1382–1461bailiwick subordinated to Guernsey
1468–1487bailiwick subordinated to Guernsey
1940–1945occupied by Germany
1814–1921crown colony
1921–1933self-governing colony
1933–1947crown colony
1958–1961direct rule
1713ceded to Britain
1756occupied by France
1802restored to Spain
Northern Ireland1921-1972home rule within the United Kingdom
1972–1973direct rule
1973–1974home rule within the United Kingdom
1974–1999direct rule
1999–2002home rule within the United Kingdom
2002–2007direct rule
2007-home rule within the United Kingdom
1947incorporated into Greece
Scotland9th centurykingdom formed
1603–1649personal union with the Kingdom of England
1653–1660incorporated into the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland
1660–1707personal union with the Kingdom of England
1707union with England to form the Kingdom of Great Britain
1999-home rule within the United Kingdom
United Kingdom1801formed by the union of the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland
1922secession of the Irish Free State
1927formal name changed from "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland" to "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland"
(British Sector)
1955Austrian sovereignty restored
Wales1282–1301various former principalities subject to English rule
1301–1536principality subject to the heir to the English throne
1536incorporated into England
1999-limited devolution within the United Kingdom

 Antarctic Region

(territories south of 60°00′)
TerritoryStatus (Year)Event Ending Political EntityCurrent Jurisdiction
British Antarctic TerritoryBritish Antarctic Territory
South Shetlandclaimed (1819–1908)South Shetland, British Antarctic Territory
dependency of Falkland Islands (1908–1962)part of British Antarctic Territory
South Orkneyclaimed (1821–1908)South Orkney, British Antarctic Territory
dependency of Falkland Islands (1908–1962)part of British Antarctic Territory
Graham Landannexed (1832–1908)Graham Land, British Antarctic Territory
dependency of Falkland Islands (1908–1962)part of British Antarctic Territory
British Antarctic Territorycolony (1962–1983)British Antarctic Territory
dependent territory (1983-2002)
overseas territory (2002-)BAT Flag :±: !T! £GBP abc
Enderby Landclaimed (1930–1933)transferred to AustraliaAustralian Antarctic Territory, Australia
Victoria Landclaimed (1841–1933)


(islands in the Atlantic Ocean)
TerritoryStatus (Year)Event Ending Political EntityCurrent Jurisdiction
Bermudacolony (1612–1684)Bermuda
crown colony (1684–1968)
self-governing colony (1968–1983)
dependent territory (1983-2002)
overseas territory (2002-)Bermuda Flag :±: !T! abc /\\/
Falkland IslandsFalkland Islands
- West Falklandsettlement (1766–1774)withdrew settlement
- Falkland Islandssovereignty claim (1774–1833)re-occupation
crown colony (1841–1892)
colony (1892–1908)
colony (1908–1962)South Shetland/South Orkney/Graham Land, British Antarctic Territory; Falkland Islands
colony (1962–1983)Falkland Islands
dependent territory (1983-2002)
overseas territory (2002-)Falkland Islands Flag :±: !T! £FKK abc /\\/
Icelandoccupation (1940–1944)restored to IcelandIceland
St. Helenaclaimed (1588–1673)Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
possession of British East India Company (1673–1815)
crown colony (1815–1821)
possession of British East India Company (1821–1834)
crown colony (1834–1983)
dependent territory (1983-2002)
part of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha (2009-)
overseas territory (2002-)St. Helena Flag :±: !T! £SHP abc /\\/
- Ascension Islandpossession (1815–1922)Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
dependency of St. Helena (1922–2009)
part of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha (2009-)
- Tristan da Cunhadependency of Cape Colony (1816–1938)Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
dependency of St. Helena (1938–2009)
part of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha (2009-)
South Georgia and South Sandwich Islandsclaimed (1775–1908)South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands
dependency of Falkland Islands (1908–1985)
dependent territory (1985-2002)
overseas territory (2002-)South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands :±: !T! £GBP abc

 Indian Ocean

(islands in the Indian Ocean)
TerritoryStatus (Year)Event Ending Political EntityCurrent Jurisdiction
Ashmore and Cartier IslandsAshmore and Cartier Islands, Australia
- Ashmore Islandannexed (1878–1931)transferred to Australia
- Cartier Islandannexed (1909–1931)
British Indian Ocean TerritoryBritish Indian Ocean Territory
occupation (1810-1814)
part of colony of Seychelles (1814–1903)|
part of colony of Mauritius (1903–1965)
colony (1965–1976)Aldabra/Farquhar/Des Roches, Seychelles; British Indian Ocean Territory
colony (1976–1983)British Indian Ocean Territory
dependent territory (1983-2002)
overseas territory (2002-)British Indian Ocean Territory flag :±: !T! £GBP abc
Ceylonsubordinated to presidency of Madras (1795–1798)Sri Lanka
colony (1798–1802)
crown colony (1802–1886)
crown colony (1886–1942)Sri Lanka; Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Australia
crown colony (1942–1948)independence !T! /\\/Sri Lanka
Christmas Islandannexed (1888–1889)Christmas Island, Australia
leased (1889–1890)
dependency of colony of Straits Settlement (1900–1942)Japanese occupation
military administration (1945–1946)
dependency of colony of Singapore (1946–1958)
crown colony (1958)territory of Australia
Cocos (Keeling) Islandssettlement (1825; 1826–1831)Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Australia
fiefdom (1831–1857)
crown colony (1857–1878)
part of Ceylon (1878–1886)
part of Straits Settlements (1886–1942)
part of Ceylon (1942–1946)
dependency of colony of Singapore (1946–1955)territory of Australia
Heard Island and McDonald Islandsclaimed (1833–1947)transferred to Australian Antarctic TerritoryHeard Island and McDonald Islands, Australia
Madagascaroccupation (1942–1946)restored to FranceMadagascar
Maldivesprotectorate (1796–1953)Maldives
republic (1953–1954)sultantate restored
protectorate (1954–1965)independence !T! /\\/
- United Suvadivan Republicrepublic (1959–1963)restored to Maldives
Mauritiuscolony (1810–1965)Mauritius; Chagos Archipelago, British Indian Ocean Territory
colony (1965–1968)independence !T! abc /\\/Mauritius
- Rodriguesoccupation (1809-1814)Rodrigues, Mauritius
dependency of colony of Mauritius (1814–1968)part of Mauritius
Réunionoccupation (1810–1815; 1942–1946)restored to FranceRéunion, France
Seychellesoccupation (1794–1810)Seychelles
colony subordinated to Mauritius (1810-1814)
colony (1814–1903)
crown colony (1903–1970)
self-governing colony (1970–1975)
self-rule (1975–1976)independence !T! abc /\\/
- Aldabra; Farquhar; Des Rochespart of British Indian Ocean Territory (1965–1976)part of SeychellesAldabra/Farquhar/Des Roches, Seychelles
TranquebarAndaman and Nicobar Islands/Nagapattinam, India
- Dansborg; Frederiksnagoreoccupation (1801–1802; 1808–1815; 1845–1947)part of British IndiaNagapattinam, India
- Andaman Islandspossession part of British India (1789–1942, 1945–1947)occupied by Japan (1942–1945)Andaman Islands, India
- Nicobar Islandspart of British India (1848–1942, 1945–1947)occupied by Japan (1942–1945)Nicobar Islands, India

 Australasia and the Pacific

TerritoryStatus (Year)Event Ending Political EntityCurrent Jurisdiction
Australiadominion (1901-1942)ratified Statute of Westminster :±: !T! abc [X] /\\/Australia
Baker Islandclaimed (1886–1934)reclaimed by United StatesBaker Island, United States
Bonin Islandsclaimed (1827–1876)annexed by JapanBonin Islands, Japan
British New Guineaprotectorate (1884–1886)Papua New Guinea
New Guineacolony (1886–1906)transferred to Australia"
British Solomon Islandstripartite protectorate (1889–1893)Solomon Islands
protectorate part of British Western Pacific Territories (1893–1942)Japanese occupation"
protectorate part of British Western Pacific Territories (1943-1971)"
protectorate (1971–1973)"
autonomy (1973-1975)renamed"
Solomon Islandsautonomy (1975–1976)"
self-government (1976–1978)independence :±: !T! abc [X] /\\/"
Cook Islandsprotectorate (1888–1891)Cook Islands, New Zealand
federation (1891–1900)annexed by New Zealand"
Fijicolony (1874–1877)Fiji
part of British Western Pacific Territories (1877–1952)"
colony (1952–1970)independence !T! abc /\\/"
Friendly Islandstripartite protectorate (1889–1900)Tonga
protectorate part of British Western Pacific Territories (1900–1952)"
protectorate (1952–1970)independence !T! abc /\\/"
Gilbert and Ellice Islandsprotectorate (1892–1916)Tuvalu; Kiribati
crown colony part of British Western Pacific Territories (1916–1949)Tuvalu; Kiribati; Tokelau, New Zealand
crown colony part of British Western Pacific Territories (1949–1975)Tuvalu; Kiribati
- Gilbert Islandscrown colony part of British Western Pacific Territories (1975–1976)Kiribati
colony (1976–1979)independence !T! abc /\\/"
- Ellice Islandsdependency part of British Western Pacific Territories (1975–1976)Tuvalu
colony (1976–1978)independence :±: !T! abc [X] /\\/"
Howland Islandclaimed (1886-1935)reclaimed by United StatesHowland Island, United States
Jarvis Islandannexed (1889-1935)reclaimed by United StatesJarvis Island, United States
Naurupart of British Western Pacific Territories (1914–1920)Nauru
League of Nations mandate part of British Western Pacific Territories (1920–1921)"
League of Nations mandate (1921-1942)Japanese occupation"
mandate (1945–1947)"
United Nations Trust Territory (1947–1968)independence !T! abc /\\/"
New Hebridesprotectorate (1824–1878)Vanuatu
neutral territory (1878–1887)"
joint naval commission (1887-1906)"
condominium part of British Western Pacific Territories (1906–1976)"
condominium (1976–1980)independence !T! abc"
New South Walescolony (1788–1825)New South Wales/Queensland/Tasmania/South Australia/Northern Territory/Victoria/Norfolk Island, Australia; New Zealand
colony (1825–1836)New South Wales/Queensland/South Australia/Northern Territory/Victoria/Norfolk Island, Australia; New Zealand
colony (1836–1841)New South Wales/Queensland/Northern Territory/Victoria/Norfolk Island, Australia; New Zealand
colony (1841–1844)New South Wales/Queensland/Northern Territory/Victoria/Norfolk Island, Australia
colony (1844–1851)New South Wales/Queensland/Northern Territory/Victoria, Australia
colony (1851–1859)New South Wales/Queensland/Northern Territory, Australia
colony (1859–1863)New South Wales/Northern Territory, Australia
colony (1863–1901)state of AustraliaNew South Wales, Australia
- Lord Howe Islandclaimed (1788–1834)Lord Howe Island, Australia
settlement (1834–1855)part of New South Wales"
New Zealandclaimed (1769–1788)New Zealand
part of New South Wales (1792–1835)declared independence"
protectorate (1835-1840)"
possession part of New South Wales (1840–1841)"
colony (1841-1907)"
dominion (1907-1947)ratified Statute of Westminster :±: !T! abc [X] /\\/"
Niuetripartite protectorate (1889–1900)Niue, New Zealand
protectorate part of British Western Pacific Territories (1900–1901)annexed to New Zealand
Norfolk Islandsettlement part of New South Wales (1788–1844)Norfolk Island, Australia
part of colony of Van Diemen's Land (1844–1855)"
part of colony of Tasmania (1855-1856)"
subordinated to New South Wales (1856–1897)dependency of New South Wales"
Palmyra Atollannexed (1889-1898)annexed by United StatesPalmyra Atoll, United States
Pitcairn Islandsprotectorate (1838–1887)Pitcairn, Pitcairn Islands
colony (1887–1898)"
part of British Western Pacific Territories (1898-1902)"
part of British Western Pacific Territories (1902–1970)Pitcairn/Oeno/Henderson/Ducie, Pitcairn Islands
colony (1970–1983)"
dependent territory (1983-2002)"
overseas territory (2002-)Pitcairn Islands Flag :±: !T! abc /\\/"
Queenslandpart of colony of New South Wales (1824–1859)Queensland, Australia
colony (1859–1901)state of Australia"
- Torres Strait Islandspart of colony of Queensland (1879-1901)part of Queensland"
- Coral Sea Islandspart of colony of Queensland (1879–1901)"Coral Sea Islands, Australia
Samoatripartite protectorate (1889-1900)!T! abc [X]annexed by GermanySamoa; Niue, New Zealand; Solomon Islands; American Samoa, United States
Sandwich Islandsprotectorate (1794-10 February 1843)independenceHawaii, United States
Ceded to Britain 10 February 1843 - 31 July 1843"
South Australiapart of colony of New South Wales (1788–1836)South Australia, Australia
province (1836–1863)"
province (1863-1901)state of AustraliaSouth Australia/Northern Territory, Australia
Van Diemen's Landpart of New South Wales (1803–1825)Tasmania, Australia
colony (1825–1844)"
colony (1844-1855)renamedNorfolk Island/Tasmania, Australia
Tasmaniacolony (1855–1856)"
colony (1856-1901)state of AustraliaTasmania, Australia
- Macquarie Islandpart of colony of New South Wales (1810–1890)Macquarie Island, Australia
part of colony of Tasmania (1890–1901)part of Tasmania"
Tokelauprotectorate (1889–1898)Tokelau, New Zealand
protectorate part of British Western Pacific Territories (1898–1916)"
part of colony of Gilbert and Ellice Islands (1916-1949)transferred to New Zealand"
Victoriapart of colony of New South Wales (1839–1851)state of AustraliaVictoria, Australia
colony (1851–1901)state of AustraliaVictoria, Australia
Western Australia
- King George Soundsettlement (1791–1829)transferred from New South WalesWestern Australia, Australia
- Swan Rivercolony (1829–1832)renamed"
Western Australiacolony (1832-1901)state of Australia"

 Treaties and Acts of Parliament, etc.

This is a listing of the more important treaties, Acts of Parliament, and other legal instruments and events affecting the nature and territorial extent of the British Empire.
Effective dateName of treaty, etc.Territorial effect
1536/1542Laws in Wales Acts 1535-1542Wales annexed to the Kingdom of England
1707Acts of Union 1707Scotland and England unite as the Kingdom of Great Britain
1713Treaty of UtrechtSpain cedes Gibraltar to Britain. France cedes Newfoundland, Hudson Bay and Acadie to Britain.
1763Treaty of ParisFrance cedes all its territories in America to Britain except Saint Pierre and Miquelon Islands.
1776Declaration of Independence of the United StatesThe Thirteen Colonies (New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia) assert independence
1783Second Treaty of ParisGreat Britain formally recognises the independence of the United States. End of the American Revolution.
1788New South Wales is established by settlement as a penal colony
1791Constitution ActThe Province of Quebec is divided in two sections Upper Canada (now Ontario) and Lower Canada (now Quebec).
1801Act of Union 1800Ireland unites with Great Britain to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
1814Third Treaty of ParisFrance cedes the Seychelles to Britain
1840Treaty of WaitangiNew Zealand becomes a British colony
1867British North America Act 1867 (known in Canada as the Confederation 1867)The Province of Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia federate as the Dominion of Canada
1870Rupert's Land and the North-Western Territory are annexed to Canada
1871British Columbia becomes a province of Canada
1876proclamation under the Royal Titles Act 1876Queen Victoria adopts the title "Empress of India"
1899Joint British-Egyptian condominium established over Sudan
1901proclamation under the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act (1900)The Commonwealth of Australia is formed by the federation of the colonies of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania
1910proclamation under the South Africa Act 1909Union of South Africa formed by the federation of the colonies of the Cape of Good Hope, Natal, Transvaal, and the Orange River Colony
1914Cyprus (Annexation) Order in Council 1914Cyprus formally annexed
1920Kenya (Annexation) Order in Council 1920Most of the East Africa Protectorate is annexed as the Colony of Kenya
1922Anglo-Irish TreatyThe Irish Free State is separated from the United Kingdom
Unilateral Declaration of Egyptian IndependenceEgypt becomes independent
1931Statute of WestminsterCanada, the Irish Free State, and the Union of South Africa obtain effective sovereignty
1934Financial difficulties result in Newfoundland losing its status as a dominion
1942Australia adopts the Statute of Westminster, backdated to 1939
1947New Zealand adopts the Statute of Westminster
Indian Independence Act 1947British India is partitioned into the independent dominions of India and Pakistan
1948King George VI relinquishes the title "Emperor of India"
1949Newfoundland becomes a province of Canada
1960Nigeria Independence Act 1960The colony and protectorate of Nigeria become independent
1962Jamaica Independence Act 1962Jamaica becomes independent
1983The status of "colony" is renamed "dependent territory"
1997Sino-British Joint Declaration (1984) and the Hong Kong Act 1985Hong Kong is transferred to the People's Republic of China
2002The status of "dependent territory" is renamed "British Overseas Territory