The British: People from worldwide origins

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Malacca joined the empire in , and Sir Stamford Raffles acquired Singapore in The 19th century marked the full flower of the British Empire.


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That office, which began in , was first an appendage of the Home Office and the Board of Trade, but by the s it had become a separate department with a growing staff and a continuing policy; it was the means by which discipline and pressure were exerted on the colonial governments when such action was considered necessary.

New Zealand became officially British in , after which systematic colonization there followed rapidly. Partly owing to pressure from missionaries, British control was extended to Fiji , Tonga , Papua, and other islands in the Pacific Ocean , and in the British High Commission for the Western Pacific Islands was created.

The French completion of the Suez Canal provided Britain with a much shorter sea route to India. Britain responded to this opportunity by expanding its port at Aden , establishing a protectorate in Somaliland now Somalia , and extending its influence in the sheikhdoms of southern Arabia and the Persian Gulf. Cyprus , which was, like Gibraltar and Malta, a link in the chain of communication with India through the Mediterranean, was occupied in Elsewhere, British influence in the Far East expanded with the development of the Straits Settlements and the federated Malay states, and in the s protectorates were formed over Brunei and Sarawak.

The greatest 19th-century extension of British power took place in Africa , however. Britain was the acknowledged ruling force in Egypt from and in the Sudan from The cabinet would depend primarily on support by the colonial legislative assembly for its tenure of ministerial office. Decisions on foreign affairs and defense, however, would still be made by a governor-general acting on orders from the British government in London. The system whereby some colonies were allowed largely to manage their own affairs under governors appointed by the mother country spread rapidly.

In it was put into effect in the colonies in Canada, and it was later extended to the Australian colonies, New Zealand , and to the Cape Colony and Natal in southern Africa.

English people

These colonies obtained such complete control over their internal affairs that in they were granted the new status of dominions. This select group of nations within the empire, with substantial European populations and long experience of British forms and practices, was often referred to as the British Commonwealth. The demands and stresses of World War I and its aftermath led to a more formal recognition of the special status of the dominions.

When Britain had declared war on Germany in it was on behalf of the entire empire, the dominions as well as the colonies.

But after World War I ended in , the dominions signed the peace treaties for themselves and joined the newly formed League of Nations as independent states equal to Britain. The rest of the British Empire consisted for the most part of colonies and other dependencies whose predominant indigenous populations had no such experience. The last significant British colony, Hong Kong , was returned to Chinese sovereignty in By then, virtually nothing remained of the empire.

The Commonwealth, however, remained a remarkably flexible and durable institution.

See also colonialism. We welcome suggested improvements to any of our articles. You can make it easier for us to review and, hopefully, publish your contribution by keeping a few points in mind.

Old English (450-1100 AD)

Your contribution may be further edited by our staff, and its publication is subject to our final approval. Unfortunately, our editorial approach may not be able to accommodate all contributions. This language is called Middle English. It was the language of the great poet Chaucer c , but it would still be difficult for native English speakers to understand today. An example of Middle English by Chaucer public domain.

Towards the end of Middle English, a sudden and distinct change in pronunciation the Great Vowel Shift started, with vowels being pronounced shorter and shorter. From the 16th century the British had contact with many peoples from around the world. This, and the Renaissance of Classical learning, meant that many new words and phrases entered the language.

The invention of printing also meant that there was now a common language in print. Books became cheaper and more people learned to read. Printing also brought standardization to English. Spelling and grammar became fixed, and the dialect of London, where most publishing houses were, became the standard.

Settlers: Genetics, geography, and the peopling of Britain

In the first English dictionary was published. The analysis shows that despite the momentous historical impact on British civilisation of the Roman, Viking and Norman invasions, none of these events did much to alter the basic biological makeup of people living here. The findings support records suggesting that few high ranking Roman officials settled in Britain and that they and their families remained largely segregated from the local Celts.

The Danish Vikings, who ruled over large swathes of Britain from AD, are known to have inter-married with locals, but the latest study shows that the conquering force, while powerful, must have comprised relatively few fighters. The analysis also settles a long-running dispute about the nature of the Anglo-Saxon takeover of England following the collapse of the Roman empire.

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The replacement of the Celtic language by Anglo-Saxon and the complete shift towards North-West German farming and pottery styles has led some to suggest that local populations must have retreated to Wales or even been wiped out in a genocide. The authors suggest that DNA analysis should now be regarded as a powerful historical tool, sometimes providing more impartial information than traditional sources. It tells us what is happening to the masses Facebook Twitter Pinterest.