Advantages And Disadvantages Of Colonial Expansion

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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…show more content…
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 place. It would secure cheap imports of food and raw materials for their industry. It would also influence economic growth and prosperity, as it would not only reduce costs and help Britain maintain its industrial domination, but it would aid consumers too. The free trade policy culminated in the repeal of the Corn Laws and Navigation Acts in the 1840’s. The free trade policy was fulfilled by 1860 and by the late 19th century had helped to shape the British economy and eradicate the world slave trade. Therefore it is relevant to see how free trade helped shape Britain into an imperial power as it was a pre-emptive attempt in protecting the existing trade…show more content…
Therefore it was relevant to state why Britain became an imperial power, in order to consider the benefits achieved from gaining such power at that time. Industrialisation helped Britain at home and abroad, as she was able to maintain employment for the population, while further increasing trade upon world markets. The advantage to Britain gaining advancements in technology resulted in increasing trade between colonies and also generating further profits and increasing revenues. Therefore Industrialisation created a prosperous economy, while providing Britain with the tools of Empire. Britain’s economic ability and society initiated capitalists to take risks causing the British nation to expand, while creating financial stability. The surge in population also assisted as it was due to the influx of workers that Britain had the man-power to build on industry and trade, it also helped to create a consumption based society. The expansion of colonial territories helped to gain raw materials from other 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
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