The British Empire

How far do you hold that altering attitudes to Empire within Britain explain both enlargement and the dismantlement of British imperial power in Africa?

The British Empire began to spread out into Africa in 1880 and by 1913 the imperium had control over 458 million people and 25 % of the universe ‘s land. However by 1981 the British Empire had come to an terminal after it could no longer afford the care of such a large Empire. British engagement in Africa was a period that saw many alterations, some economic, some international and political alterations, which in bend led to many accommodations in Africa itself. In bend these alterations affected attitudes of the British authorities and public sentiment and doubtless influenced cardinal determinations about both enlargement and dismantling in Africa.

Britain ‘s first intercession in Africa occurred in Egypt. Egypt was portion of the Turkish Empire in 1882 but discontent lead to national rebellions that scared Britain. Following the purchase of the Suez Canal portions in 1875, British fiscal and trading involvements had grown in the country. Britain could non let her investings in Egypt jeopardized, as Egypt was a critical path to India. As a effect of seeking to protect these investings Britain occupied Egypt for 40 old ages longer than anti imperialist Gladstone had hoped. This resulted in farther territorial control for Britain ; unconsciously Gladstone had expanded the British Empire and ignited the alteration from informal regulation to formal business in North Africa. This was all necessary as it was done to protect economic involvements of the imperium, every bit good as procuring the path to India.

The enlargement into the Sudan was comparable to that of Egypt as it was unwilled. Once once more Britain got drawn in due to an rebellion in the country. Gladstone ‘s first enterprise was to set down this agitation as he sent General Gordon who was an experient and valued soldier to evacuate British and Egyptian subjects from the Sudan to forestall any injury from happening to them. In malice of this General Gordon disobeyed these orders with an purpose of geting more land for the imperium, ensuing in his squad and himself acquiring slaughtered two yearss before a British force was sent to assist them. Expansion of the imperium at this point was coinciding and unforeseen as the enlargement in North Africa was the result of an unplanned policy to work economic benefits and guarantee stableness in the parts to care for British economic involvements. However it was a turning point in attitudes towards Africa as the business of Egypt resulted in the scramble for Africa between European powers.

Expansion remained informal. However ‘Men on the topographic point ‘ such as Cecil Rhodes, George Goldie and Sir William McKinnon influenced the cardinal authorities and construct their ain success through transporting trade and selling natural resources. Britain wanted the West Coast of Africa for its palm oil. The palm oil resources of West Africa were appealing as palm oil was used as an industrial lubricator and was the base for soaps and tapers. However this engagement was non one of formal regulation but instead informal trade.

It is important that Britain was merely involved for economic grounds and did non posses any political orientation of spread outing to the West. Britain took control of West Africa merely because the part was unstable due to local opposition and involvements of other European powers. In 1885 Chamberlain sent in a British force to back up George Goldie in order to procure the part for British involvements against both the Ashanti and the Gallic John Gallagher and Ronald Robinson, in their reappraisal of The Imperialism of Free Trade, Vol. VI, no. 1 ( 1953 ) underscore the economic importance of informal imperium to the British authorities. However Britain was in a quandary, as it could no longer conform to its informal regulation if other European powers established their control over West Africa. This resulted in farther loath enlargement and increased support for work forces on the topographic point, as Britain could non let other European states to command land in West Africa, which could endanger their trade involvements. Britain was one time once more driven into East Africa due to merchandise benefits and fright of European challengers, huge competition from Germany resulted in Britain giving support for McKinnon to set up the East Africa Company to battle the German East Africa Company. The alteration in the authorities ‘s attitudes was a consequence of seeking to salvage the imperium due to the huge competition it was sing at the clip.

Cecil Rhodes was the most dominant person in the push for British enlargement in South Africa. He was a member of the Cape parliament.It was clear that his vision was to spread out the imperium across all of Africa as he saw this as his sense of imperial fate. His enlargement in South Africa was good planned nevertheless this clip the British authorities supported the enlargement as Rhodes was able to carry the British authorities to allow a charter to organize the British African company. This was a transmutation as the cardinal authorities was back uping this enlargement to South Africa, it was Joseph Chamberlain who encouraged Rhodes in geting more land. The authorities actively supported him, as they needed to forestall other European power from holding influence and power in the country and besides they realized the monolithic economical benefits of South Africa.

This led to a dissension between the Afrikaners who were posterities of the Dutch colonists in South Africa and the British. The Boers resented the policies of Joseph Chamberlain, which they thought he would take their opportunity of independency and besides they loathed the British for taking their natural resources like gold and minerals. Therefore with equipment from the Germans the war between the Boers and the British had flared. This war would hold detrimental effects on both sides as the Boers land got destroyed and many were sent to awful concentration cantonments, but the reverberations of this event would hold a profound consequence on the dismantlement of the Empire as British position on imperium changed and the general populace were get downing to doubt if the imperium was morally good for Africa and sentiments shifted off from the old credence and pride felt by many in the state. The enlargement into South Africa made the British Empire seem weak as she was asseverating power on undeveloped people.

During World War one the African settlements played a major portion in the war attempt and their resources were much needed by Britain. At this point there was a alteration within the British Empire as the value of its settlements became evident. After WW1 the metropolitan attitudes to empire changed, as many politicians believed that the imperium was entirely based around economic involvements and partnership. This was enforced greatly following WW1 as Britain ‘s economic state of affairs had worsened and national debts had increased to a reeling $ 4000 million, which meant doubtless the aid and cooperation of the settlements was needed. At this point the imperium was going an economic load on the authorities, as the cost of war was intolerable, this contributed to the diminution of the imperium. WW2 had the same economic impact on the imperium as it weakened it from its foundations which so resulted in Britain losing her place as universe leader due to no longer being economically capable of managing such a imperium.

Britain wanted to act upon station war developments in Africa so that it was good to metropolitan investors nevertheless this was non able to happen due to the increased patriotism in African settlements such as Kenya, were the Mau Mau rebelled against British business and regulation. Rebellions by the Mau Mau made investors in 1950 unenthusiastic about puting in the country. Consequently this lead to nationalist force per unit area in the push frontward for independency. Robert Tignor in Capitalism and Nationalism At the End of Empire: State and Business in Decolonizing Egypt, Nigeria, and Kenya, 1945-1963 ( 1998 ) argues that it was ‘neither foreign nor local concern that were cardinal participants ‘ but this national motion that contributed to the dismantling of the British imperium. A direct impact of the economic failures experienced by Britain after the universe war was that it helped fuel national motions such as the Mau Mau. As new thoughts of self-government and international clime attitude go more evident after World War I and World War 2. This so reinforced the anti-imperial tendency and encouraged growing in patriotism in Africa as the settlements began the push for independency. This so hastened the dismantling of the British Empire.

The rate of decolonization was drastically accelerated because of the Suez crisis of 1956. Due to Nasser nationalising the Suez Canal Britain and France invaded Egypt with the hope of replacing Nasser and taking control of the canal. These actions had a monolithic recoil on British prestigiousness as the United States condemned their actions. Subsequently it resulted in the British withdrawing from Egypt, which highlighted Britain ‘s fragileness. This bend in the balance of power scared Eden, as he still believed there was infinite on the universe phase for the British Empire nevertheless he was mistaken, as the Suez crisis was the last straw in British imperialism as it changed the balance of universe power well. Britain was no longer the dominant power and solace and blessing from the United States was needed before the authorities could take any major determinations. This was a major blow to the imperium ‘s repute and power, this loss of religion accelerated the dismantling of the British Empire. This was seen through the alteration in political relations in London as Eden resigned and a new modern Prime Minster was appointed. Harold Macmillan ‘s modern and progressive prospective would speed up the decolonization of Africa, as unlike Eden he did non back up imperialism and realized that the imperium could no longer present the same economic benefits as earlier. Macmillan ‘s displacement in political sentiment resulted in him turn toing the South African parliament in 1960 with his air current of alteration address. This address would hold a immense impact on the decolonization of the imperium as it was seen as an indicant that the cardinal authorities had accepted that Britain could no longer have imperial ownerships. This was evident in the rapid granting of independency for the African settlements. [ 1 ] Libya gained independency in 1951 and Egypt in 1952 and were the first African states to derive independency. In 1957 Ghana was the first state South of the Sahara to derive independency. This period in clip marked a speedy decolonization as indicated by the affiliated map, as 14 African states gained their independency in 1960. By 1966, all but six African states were independent and the dismantling in these states would be different as it was non rapid but prolonged. One of these states was Zimbabwe, which was antecedently known as Rhodesia, it was a colonist settlement and the European colonist community kept the mass of the population, which was African from prehending bulk regulation. The European colonists.

This resulted in aggressive patriotism, which was different to the remainder of Africa. Subsequently it meant the drawn-out granting of independency as Zimbabwe was eventually independent in 1980.

Overall the position of imperium among the populace had changed dramatically over the hundred-year period. Attitudes had shifted from the old loyal position of imperium to a realisation that imperium could non be in the new modern universe. This was a consequence of events such as the Wars Britain was involved in and the dramatic alteration in international position. It is apparent that Britain did non mean on spread outing the imperium in 1880 and the reluctance of this enlargement was evident in the enlargement into North Africa. However, one time Britain realized the economic benefits of spread outing their districts in Africa imperialism became much easier which so generated broad dispersed support for imperium. Acquiring such good land made Britain really weary of other states as losing settlements in Africa would efficaciously ensue in a lessening in power and influence. This so resulted in the one major continuity in imperial policy through out this period, which was the focal point on protecting the imperium ‘s economic involvements. The dismantling of imperium was fast paced as the imperium had become more hard to pull off efficaciously. Empire was no longer being an economic benefit as it antecedently was in 1900, but more of an economic load due to invariably seeking to set down patriotism in Africa. The alteration in attitudes sing the benefits imperium in my sentiment resulted in the decolonization of these settlements and the terminal of an epoch in British regulation.

Part B bibliography:

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British imperial and foreign policy 1846-1980 ( text edition ) written by John Aldred.

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The king of beastss portion: A short history of British Imperialism, Bernard Porter, 2004.

British imperialism by R. Johnson.

Empire – docudrama by Neill Ferguson.

The history of Britain By Simon Schama.

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