From the eighteenth century until the 1950s, the British Empire was the largest and most far-flung political entity in the world, holding sway at one time over one fifth of the world's population. The territories forming this colossus ranged from tiny islands to vast segments of the world's major continental land masses, and included Australia, South Africa, India, and Canada. This vast empire left its mark on the world in a multitude of ways, many of them permanent.
In this Very Short Introduction, Ashley Jackson introduces and defines the British Empire, shedding light on a series of key questions, reviewing how it evolved into such a force, and looking at the legacy it left behind.
About the Series:
Oxford's Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects--from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume in this series provides trenchant and provocative--yet always balanced and complete--discussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject has developed and how it has influenced society. Eventually, the series will encompass every major academic discipline, offering all students an accessible and abundant reference library. Whatever the area of study that one deems important or appealing, whatever the topic that fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introductions series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.
Ashley Jackson is Professor of Imperial and Military History at King's College, London. His books include Mad Dogs and Englishmen: a Grand Tour of the British Empire at its Height, The British Empire and the Second World War, and Churchill.