Essay on Britain 's First Trading Nation Of The World

Essay on Britain 's First Trading Nation Of The World

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Britain had an empire entrenched on commerce, sea power and naval supremacy and had developed herself as the first trading nation of the world. Britain’s colonial empire began with the global maritime explorations of Portugal and Spain in the 15th century. Britain used its naval power to rule the seas and by the late 19th century, had gained control of territories on every continent which included more than a quarter of the world’s population. Scottish writer John Wilson devised the axiom “The sun never sets on the British Empire” due to it being daytime in at least one of her colonies at some point of the day. However Britain’s colonial reign was not as smooth as she would have hoped, challenges soon emerged from other nations. Threatening British interests thus forcing Britain to have more colonial involvement and control, in order to protect her colonial empire. Britain’s expansion of colonial territories during this time, proved to be advantageous in initiating an imperial reign. It enabled Britain to gain raw materials and also create further markets for the manufacturing goods. Expansion also helped to acquire safe naval and supply stations with the aim of benefiting the safety and security of the nation. A disadvantage of colonial expansion was that it was advocated from social Darwinism , the belief that some races were biologically advanced and had the right to dominate others. The idea of Darwinism was accepted and used to justify imperialist, racist attitudes towards the African slaves and in using them for their own gain and prosperity. Britain had made a decision in the 1840’s to shift towards unilateral free trade. This new policy would end the old colonial and slave systems as the new adoption of free trade took p...


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...nations, creating further markets and acquiring safe naval and supply stations, which secured the nation. Colonial expansion also initiated Britain to take control and defend her nation. Free-trade initiated Britain as it was a pre-emptive attempt to protect their existing trade links, it also contributed towards a democratic culture in Britain. British politics benefited Britain in gaining financial and commercial power, and added control of the seas. Gentlemanly capitalism promoted their greed and self-interests, granting Britain the authority to take control, expand and conquer. Due to these benefits, Britain was also able expose other nations to her culture, her language and its economy. Therefore it is evident to see that Britain benefited immensely from being an imperial power, although there were dis-advantages, the benefits helped shape Britain as we know it.

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