Tuesday, February 18, 2014

History of British Empire -1583-1783

The foundations of the British Empire were laid when England and Scotland ( Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, Scotland shares a border with England to the south, and is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean; with the North Sea to the east, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the south-west. In addition to the mainland, the country is made up of more than 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrideswere separate kingdoms. In 1496 King Henry VII of England, following the successes of Spain and Portugal in overseas exploration, commissioned John Cabot to lead a voyage to discover a route to Asia via the North Atlantic. Cabot sailed in 1497, five years after the European discovery of America, and although he successfully made landfall on the coast of Newfoundland (mistakenly believing, like Christopher Columbus, that he had reached Asia), there was no attempt to found a colony. Cabot led another voyage to the Americas the following year but nothing was heard of his ships again.
No further attempts to establish English colonies in the Americas were made until well into the reign of Elizabeth I, during the last decades of the 16th century. The Protestant Reformation had made enemies of England and Catholic Spain. In 1562, the English Crown sanctioned the privateers John Hawkins and Francis Drake to engage in slave-raiding attacks against Spanish and Portuguese ships off the coast of West Africa with the aim of breaking into the Atlantic trade system. This effort was rebuffed and later, as the Anglo-Spanish Wars intensified, Elizabeth lent her blessing to further privateering against Spanish ports in the Americas and shipping that was returning across the Atlantic, laden with treasure from the New World. At the same time, influential writers such as Richard Hakluyt and John Dee(who was the first to use the term "British Empire") were beginning to press for the establishment of England's own empire. By this time, Spain was entrenched in the Americas, Portugal had established trading posts and forts from the coasts of Africa and Brazil to China, and France had begun to settle the Saint Lawrence River, later to become New France.
Although England trailed behind other European powers in establishing overseas colonies, it had been engaged during the 16th century in the settlement of Ireland with Protestants from England and Scotland, drawing on precedents dating back to the Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169. Several people who helped establish the Plantations of Ireland also played a part in the early colonisation of North America, particularly a group known as the West Country men.
Plantations in 16th and 17th century Ireland were the confiscation of land by the English crown and the colonisationof this land with settlers from England and the Scottish Lowlands.
They followed smaller-scale immigration to Ireland as far back as the 12th century, which had resulted in a distinct ethnicity in Ireland known as the Old English.
The 16th century plantations were established throughout the country by the confiscation of lands occupied by Gaelic clans and Hiberno-Norman dynasties, but principally in theprovinces of Munster and Ulster. The lands were then granted by Crown authority to colonists ("planters") from England. This process began during the reign of Henry VIII and continued under Mary I and Elizabeth I. It was accelerated under James ICharles I and Oliver Cromwell, and in their time the planters also came from Scotland.
The early plantations in the 16th century tended to be based on small "exemplary" colonies. The later plantations were based on mass confiscations of land from Irish landowners and the subsequent importation of large numbers of settlers from England and Wales, later also from Scotland.
The final official plantations took place under the English Commonwealth and Cromwell's Protectorate during the 1650s, when thousands of Parliamentarian soldiers were settled in Ireland. Apart from the plantations, significant migration into Ireland continued well into the 18th century, from both Great Britain and continental Europe.
The plantations changed the demography of Ireland by creating large communities with a British and Protestantidentity. These communities replaced the older Catholicruling class, which shared with the general population a common Irish identity and set of political attitudes. The physical and economic nature of Irish society was also changed, as new concepts of ownership, trade and credit were introduced. These changes led to the creation of aProtestant ruling class, which secured the authority of Crown government in Ireland during the 17th century.

First British Empire (1583 - 1783)

In 1578, Elizabeth I granted a patent to Humphrey Gilbert for discovery and overseas exploration. That year, Gilbert sailed for the West Indies with the intention of engaging in piracy and establishing a colony in North America, but the expedition was aborted before it had crossed the Atlantic. In 1583 he embarked on a second attempt, on this occasion to the island of Newfoundland whose harbour he formally claimed for England, although no settlers were left behind. Gilbert did not survive the return journey to England, and was succeeded by his half-brother, Walter Raleigh, who was granted his own patent by Elizabeth in 1584. Later that year, Raleigh founded the colony of Roanoke on the coast of present-day North Carolina, but lack of supplies caused the colony to fail.
In 1603, James VI, King of Scots ascended to the English throne and in 1604 negotiated the Treaty of London, ending hostilities with Spain. Now at peace with its main rival, English attention shifted from preying on other nations' colonial infrastructure to the business of establishing its own overseas colonies. The British Empire began to take shape during the early 17th century, with the English settlement of North America and the smaller islands of the Caribbean, and the establishment of private companies, most notably the English East India Company, to administer colonies and overseas trade. This period, until the loss of the Thirteen Colonies after the American War of Independence towards the end of the 18th century, has subsequently been referred to as the "First British Empire".
Thirteen Colonies of England
The thirteen colonies that declared independence were: DelawarePennsylvaniaNew JerseyGeorgiaConnecticut,Massachusetts BayMarylandSouth CarolinaNew Hampshire,VirginiaNew YorkNorth Carolina, and Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.
Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New Jersey were formed by mergers of previous colonies
 Following a series of protests over taxes in the 1760s and 1770s, these colonies united politically and militarily in opposition to the British government and fought the American Revolutionary War, 1775–1783. In 1776, they declared their independence, and achieved that goal with the signing of the Treaty of Paris (1783)

.British colonies in North America, circa 1750. 1:Newfoundland; 2: Nova Scotia; 3: The Thirteen Colonies; 4: Bermuda; 5:Bahamas; 6: British Honduras (was Spanish c1750: became British in 1798); 7: Jamaica; 8: British Leeward Islands and Barbados.

North American colonies 1763–76, illustrating and territorial claims

In 1775, the British claimed authority over the red and pink areas on this map andSpain claimed the orange. The red area is the area of settlement; most lived within 50 miles of the ocean.