Why the British Empire was a very good thing

Empire 650

It is utterly sickening that two of the greatest ever writers of English literature, William Somerset Maugham and Joseph Rudyard Kipling have become non persons, cast into oblivion by the politically correct left. Not because they promoted Empire, but because they wrote about it. We now have had several generations who have been denied the incredible insight into the human condition, the great adventures, the fantastic characters, the sounds and smells of exotic places that both these amazing authors created. But you can’t keep a great man down, Kipling rightly won the Nobel Prize for literature and every year If is voted to be the nation’s favourite poem. The ignorant left must be seething.


The left’s view of Empire is that it was just pure exploitation and suppression. This is a complete lie. The British Empire did more to advance civilisation than any other force in history. Let’s look at some of what was achieved:

  • Peace. Pax Brittanica. We came to lands were warfare had been the way of life for millennia, India and Africa. And we stopped it. We made the world into the most peaceful place it had ever been, far more peaceful than it is today.
  • Rule of Law. Most places we arrived had no rule of law. Might was right. We put in the British legal system which gave the vast majority of people far more human rights than they had ever had before.
  • Trade. The left spout that Empire was exploitative and merely extracted the wealth of other nations. This is a lie. Empire was all about trade, creating markets for British goods around the world whilst creating markets for global goods in Britain. And huge trade between all the different parts of Empire. This massively advanced the economy of the whole world.
  • Infrastructure. We established and maintained the world’s shipping routes, road systems everywhere we went, and railways including the world’s biggest system, in India. Our plumbing was famous and on the Mediterranean islands we ran, Cyprus, Malta, Rhodes, Corfu, Menorca etc it is safe to drink the tap water!
  • Education. In many nations we brought literacy for the first time and created widespread educational reform. When we found intellectual superstars we often brought them back to Britain to receive the world’s best education. Look up Srinivasa Ramanujan.
  • The English language. The world’s language upon which so much of man’s development has been built. English is the language of trade, the language of science, the language of entertainment.
  • A middle class. Not only businessmen and traders, Empire created a global middle class of doctors, dentists, lawyers, journalists and all the other professions necessary for an advanced civilisation.
  • Technology. The industrial revolution happened in Britain, we invented and developed most of the technology that makes the modern world possible. And we exported much of this out to the Empire. From printing presses to steel works. Tata Iron and Steel Company (TISCO) was established by Dorabji Tata, India in 1907.
  • Sport. The world’s sports, from soccer, through golf to tennis are the British sports. Empire achieved this.
  • Slavery. The British led the world in trying to get rid of this. The Slave Trade Act of 1807 made the slave trade illegal throughout the British Empire, the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 made slavery totally illegal. Between 1808 and 1860, the Royal Navy’s West Africa Squadron seized approximately 1,600 slave ships and freed 150,000 Africans who were aboard.

When Empire ended it was often not replaced by liberal democracy, instead a venal, avaricious ruling class took over and treated whole countries as personal fiefdoms. Very many countries went backwards and lots of people in the world would have preferred to have the Empire back. And for those who think that democracy is the great panacea, just remember the immense harm it has caused (click here to open article).

So far from something to be ashamed of, the British Empire was one of mankind’s greatest ever achievements. It created the modern world that we all live in and everyone owes it a huge debt for the huge advance in civilisation that it brought. The left are very wrong about this, just as they are wrong about most things.



  1. I from the left and somehow If doesn’ t anger like you think it does.

    Also you take a naïve view of empire. Yes it did some good with helping with infrastructure and technology.

    However, some of the points you make are based on misunderstanding. On peace we did not help that much. We instigated many long wars. Also the suggestion that all colonies were constantly war torn before our arrival is absolute nonsense and we did little to enhance peace but actually caused division to help us rule. This created create hostility in old colonies so when we left we had created a mess.

    Furthermore before we arrived the countries were not lawless and the rule of law we established was not wholly good. It is was authoritarian and lead to oppression of many people through military force. I am surprised you support a regime so draconian despite claiming to be a libertarian.

    Also during our occupation of India the living standard of ordinary Indians fell as they did not benefit from the trade and they suffered from famines that can only be described as manufactured.

    In conclusion I believe your view of empire is excessively positive. Of course we did some good in building infrastructure and the such like. However, we quite clearly did it to benefit ourselves and not for the locals as shown by the inequality distribution of benefits and drawbacks. It is this general attitude of selfishness which I criticise about empire as we could have helped improve infrastructure and trade more collaboratively than we did and help share the benefits we everyone. Yet we insisted on using military force to subjuagte people for our gains and the gains they received were side effects and could have been achieved without their suffering.


    1. Do you actually believe that? Take just a few examples. In west africa the dominant tribes got rid of their opponents that they had by selling them into slavery. The same was true of the Sudan.

      In India, a majority Hindu nation, the Muslim mougals oppressed the people by controlling the food supply. It was the French under Louis XVI, who wanted to own India and cut off Great Britain from their small trading post in Bombay. The French enlisted, or rather promised the Tippu Sultan, a Muslim ruler who had a population of only 3% Muslim. The whole of India as his own kingdom providing he allowed them to control the entire export trade, plus French ownership of mineral and precious stone production on an exchange rate of 10:1. The French also promised to remove the only two major opponents in the Maratha forces in the form of Scindia, the Raja of Berar and Holkar. Once they were out of the way, he would give the other small state rulers the choice, be subservient to him, or be killed.

      Several of the smaller state rulers then turned to the East India Company (EIC) (not the British), which was made up of shareholders from around the globe, Gr Britain, Russia, USA, Spain, Germany etc. The troops within the EIC were British, but they were also Russian, Germans, Danes, Dutch, Poles.

      The EIC were asked by dozens of smaller Maratha and Raja’s such as Gaekwad of Baroda to protect them from these big three. The EIC forces were outnumbered 30:1, so you could hardly call it an Imperial Army, or Army of a conquest. The EIC forces were there to protect the companies trade and most importantly, were there by invitation.

      So yes, it eventually turned into a series of wars and the British took over from the EIC when it became apparent it was not acting along the lines of the remit given to it by Queen Anne some hundred years +.

      The girders for every bridge, the track for every mile of railway and the vast array of machinery required for India’s infrastructure were all carried there by the same ships that joined India to a global trade system and lands thousands of miles away. The engineers who laid the cornerstones for India’s development from Third World nation to burgeoning industrial superpower were British..

      Now, however, academics challenge the old mantra that the British simply stripped India. They dispel these claims saying the modern, prosperus India we find is as a direct result of Empire. Last week, a new book written by an Anglo-Indian challenges this notion. It asserts that in fact Britain laid the foundations for modern-day India and the prosperity that it enjoys today.

      The girders for every bridge, the track for every mile of railway and the vast array of machinery required for India’s infrastructure were all carried there by the same ships that helped connect India to a global trading system and nations thousands of miles away. The engineers who laid the cornerstones for India’s development from Third World nation to burgeoning industrial superpower were British.

      “The indisputable fact is that India as a nation as it stands today was originally put together and created by a small, distant island country,” says Dr Kartar Lalvani, founder of the vitamins company Vitabiotics and a former Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year, in the book he has spent the past eight years writing, The Making Of India: A Story Of British Enterprise, which has just come out give irrefutable proof of the case.

      He adds: “The ‘sins’ of the Empire have been widely and frequently written about while the other positive side of the imperial coin, of which Britain can be proud and which laid the foundations for modern-day India, has always been overlooked. This is the first book of its kind to recognise Britain’s vast contribution to India’s social, civil and physical infrastructure provided during two centuries of colonial rule.”

      THE British administration of India, a country then with a population of 500 million, diverse religions and spread over 17,000 square miles, was “superbly efficient”, he argues. Dr Lalvani was born in Karachi, in 1931, where his father was a successful pharmacist and the family lived comfortably. But in 1947 the partition of India forced them to flee to Bombay, where they had to start their lives from scratch. With that background he is better placed than most historians, who have judged India from afar. He claims that India’s success as the world’s largest democracy, during a period when many other fledgling nations have endured strife, is largely down to imperial rule. It established the framework for India’s justice system, civil service, loyal army and efficient police force.

      Dr Lalvani, who came to the UK in 1956 to study, believes that both nations benefited from the trade links that were firmly established in the 17th century and continued under the often maligned East India Company, which founded its first trading post in Surat, on the west coast of India, in 1613. Within 40 years it had another 22 bases, supplying the motherland with everything from salt to opium. At the time India, a country of disparate states, had no uniform government and it seemed that France might gain control as it also sought to expand its empire overseas. That prospect was ended by the victory of Robert Clive over French forces at Plassey, in Bengal, in 1757.

      It paved the way for the British Raj to rule India for almost two centuries, for the East India Company to thrive and for fortunes to be made by individuals.

      There were cases of corruption and greed and cruel reprisals against opponents but Dr Lalviani says: “It is important to note that there is a substantial list on the credit side.

      “They include railways, roads, canals, mines, sewers, plantations and the establishment of English law and language.

      “Great cities including Bombay, Calcutta and Madras were built and some of the finest universities and museums in India were founded. The first definitive atlas of India was drawn and there were great social reforms, such as the eradication of thugee (violent highway robbery), the banning of the custom of suttee (the burning of widows on the husband’s funeral pyre) and female infanticide.

      “Perhaps most innovative of all was the bringing together of several different states into one unified India.”

      Gradually the power of the East India Company was eroded to be replaced by more direct British government of India, leading to more investment. The Indian Army was formed and its top officers trained in new military academies, modelled on Sandhurst.

      At the heart of India’s development was the expansion of the rail network, originally built to secure the colonial hold, which still prospers.

      Within 25 years, 10,000 miles of track were laid joining distant parts of the nation. By independence, 136,000 bridges had been constructed.

      Today Indian Railways is the world’s largest employer, with a staggering 1.6 million workers on the payroll. By the mid-19th century India had a postal system, the spread of the English language allowed communication between people from different backgrounds, and the arts were thriving.

      Wildlife and ancient buildings, such as the Taj Mahal, were protected.

      As long ago as 1905 India’s first national park was opened, in Assam state, to allow the endangered rhinoceros to flourish unmolested by hunters.

      Then we look at Australia and New Zealand. They have gone from tribal nations where a few thousand indigenous people looked to the stars for guidance, into the great beacons of culture, industry and learning today. I’m not going to deny ecological crimes and crimes against the Aboriginals were committed. However, you cannot change the past, only try to mend the future.

      The Fmr British Colonies in the Caribbean have still got some way to go. But they’re democracies, who still receive hundreds of millions of pounds in support from the old motherland. One day they will hopefully be like those Caribbean nations who chose to stay part of the UK as overseas protectorates. The very prosperous islands of Anguilla, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos Islands, British Virgin Islands, Bahamas and Bermuda are the richest nations in the entire region. The sad fact is what would Barbados, Dominica, Grenada,Jamaica, St Kitts, St Vincent & Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, Belize and Guyana look like today had they chose to stay like the former with billions in GDP? They all still rely on the British armed forces to not only provide overlying protection, but to train and support their small forces. British Police still work with and in these island, so even more support is provided today.

      Then you can look at the five islands plus some smaller chain that would be impossible to inhabit without British support. Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. Then South Georga, South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctica and of course, The Falklands, the south Atlantic islands recieve some £1.4bn a year.

      I won’t go into the great former British colonies, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand and of course, the USA, who, still speak the language (like India), have the same education, commerce and legal system. What would they have been had there been no British Empire? (Yes, I know, French).


  2. This is eye-rollingly naïve. ‘Tribal people are savage and constantly at war, compared to the peaceful British invaders.’ Did you even attend school? Do you have a basic understanding of history and historical narrative? If you turned a paper in for this while studying for, say, an Arts or History BA, you’d fail. God help you.


    1. Gemma,

      You seem to have attended school and to have been brainwashed by the leftie teachers. After so much confirmation bias you now seem to be suffering cognitive dissonance when faced with the truth. You provide no evidence or facts to prove me wrong, you merely launched into a personal attack. I suggest that you go and learn what critical thinking is and then go and apply it. The scales will lift from your eyes.

      And always remember that your teachers are not your friends. Their aim in life is to bend you to their distorted world view. And they seem to be succeeding.

      If you want a more balanced and factual view of Empire than what you have been brainwashed with I suggest that you read Winston Churchill’s A History of the English-Speaking Peoples.


  3. Fraser Delstar replied to this article on Facebook with this:

    Peace, rule of law, trade, infrastructure, education, language, a middle class, technology, sport, and slavery this is what your paper is based on and once again and extremely Anglo egotistical point of view.

    Peace – there is always this view that we were at ‘war’ with each other, as with Europeans that fought Aboriginal people must have fought.

    Rule of law – there was rule of law, there were sacred sites, there were men’s sites, woman’s sites, birthing sites, ceremonial (religion), sacred sites, there were roles in society that each member had and needed to abide by.

    Trade – we had full trade systems with Maccassans and I believe the Junk boats (Japan) made it here too.

    Infrastructure – sacred sites, and other ceremonial places

    Education – we passed on knowledge through our creation stories

    Language – in southern states there is a movement to relearn language however in Northern states Aboriginal people still has up to 5 dialects of language.

    Middle class – Wow!

    Technology – This is where mainstream society is only today catching up to how in tune with the environment Aboriginal people were. We had an understanding that the moons controlled the tides, our bullet (boomerang) returned if it didn’t impact, we had such things as an abortion pill (natural)

    Sport – we had sports. We played a version of what is known as AFL today.


  4. Lol, your article tried, it really did. Yes colonisation and the British empire killed hundreds of millions, that’s a fact you cannot escape.

    Peace – LOL LOL LOL, I can’t. Have you been hiding under a rock? They didn’t bring peace, the whole ethos of expanding the British Empire was playing on the existing regional divides under a ‘divide and conquer’ rule. Mix that with the killing of millions, yes millions resulted in ruling using fear and oppression, not peace as you would like to call it.

    Rule of Law- LOL “we put in the British Legal system which gave the vast majority of people far more than human rights than they have ever had before.” Are you really being serious sweetie? I won’t even start on the other parts of the colonies, let me focus on Australia. So those laws that didn’t recognise Native Australians as people. When declaring Australia a British colony, there were no negotiations with the natives and subsequent to that, the wars that eventually resulted in their lands being dispossessed. We can go on to the snatching of children from their families denying them a right to family life. Till this day, you have to be very blind or just plain ignorant to ignore the treatment of native Australians. Fact is, when the invasion happened, Native Australians were not recognised as humans, so unfortunately and it still happens today, human rights applies more to the British lineage side of the population more than it applies to Native Australians.

    Trade – “British goods” LOL what British goods? Or do you mean the goods that the British killed Indigenous people to expand the “British empire”, exploit the goods and resources and sold them off as “British Goods.” Trade was happening way before the British Empire happened. Sorry to break it to you. Look at the evolution of languages like Swahili a language that evolved through trade, waaaaaaaaaay before the British Empire. It’s a mixture of Bantu, Arabic, Portuguese, Hindustani and later, it’s noted through Swahili scripts, (yes they could read and write before in Arabic script before the British Empire,) when the script started to change from Arabic to Latin, French, German and English words were incorporated. With trade and evolution of language, you find that the commodities and words associated with these are very similar stretching across different languages and dialects.

    Infrastructure- the British didn’t establish shipping routes. There were very sophisticated trade routes developed by Africans, Indians, Arabs and Chinese to trade. I think you really need to educate yourself on Maritime history. Road systems, LOL so people didn’t travel at all before the British Empire right and there were no road routes. Okay! The conceptualisation of railways dates back to Ancient Egyptian civilisations and the Roman Empire. In all those Mediterranean islands you mention, the major infrastructure was already there and the work done by the “British Empire” wasn’t much to be honest. The basics were there and had already been there for years.

    Education – the British brought their version of education. Indigenous people had their own scripts and their own way of educating their communities. Just because their way of education was different from the British way doesn’t mean it was the wrong way to educate, but that’s the way the British saw it and that’s the history you have been taught. The British education system has a a way or conveniently adjusting history, I mean look at how long it took to include slavery in the British Curriculum.

    English Language – See point above and insert other languages existing before colonisation

    A middle class – LOL

    Technology – the exploitation of the native lands in the British empire contributed quite a bit to what you would like to attribute to British “inventions.”

    Sport – see point above about other native sport before the British came along. Also tennis is a French game and soccer originates from ancient Chinese civilisations. See another thing that The British Empire would like to think they invented but really, they colonised China and exploited what already existed and attempts to take all the credit.

    Slavery – Bwahahahahaha really babe really. You missed the part where this was over 200 years after the British propagated the enslavement of Africans in the first place. I love British selective memory of its own involvement in Slavery. Also, I love how you forgot the part whereby when Britain abolished slavery, it’s the British slave owners that were compensated today’s equivalent of £2bn for “loss of property” and the “freed slaves” we’re forced to work for free under 40.5 half hours until 1840. Also, even after abolition, segregation was present until as late as the 90’s in the ‘British empire’. The treatment of ethnic minorities as second class citizens is still apparent till this day.

    Robert Mugabe etc- Selective memory. See, I am not a fan of the man however, he learned from the best, that British empire you speak so fondly of, on how to lead by manipulation and only caring about one’s individual interests. British occupation of Rhodesia. Cecil Rhodes slaughtered and isolated natives, after obtaining permission from London to occupy the lands for mining. Was disappointed because there wasn’t as much gold to be sold off as “British Goods” LOL, found that they area would be great for farming, passing punitive laws that did not protect black landowners for the ‘British Empire’s’ own gain. Not a penny was pains for those lands so Mugabe took it back in exactly the same way it was taken from the natives. Zimbabwe has a very log way to go but it’s very rich for the ‘British empire’ to try and absolve themselves of their part in creating people like Mugabe. In Nigeria post colonisation, the manipulation of wars in the delta areas for the British interest in oil in the area.

    The problem with Churchill’s writing (I have read it by the way) is that no matter the attempts to twist it, it is written from the ‘British Empire is so great’ perspective. It doesn’t listen or attempt to look at the perspectives and stories of those on the other side. If you would like to present your version of the benefits of colonisation, do not forget to present the atrocities and injustices that accompanied those ‘benefits.’


    1. Petronila

      I am doubly impressed, you are the first young person I have come across who has read A History of the English Speaking Peoples, all 4 volumes and 1,600 pages of it. Which edition did you read, mine is the Chartwell from 1958?
      The second thing that impresses me is that you know so much more about history than Churchill. He was only British Home Secretary 1910/1, Secretary of State for the Colonies 1921/2, Chancellor of the Exchequer 1924/9, and Prime Minister 1940/5 and 1951/5. What could he have possibly known?

      Your rant is full of fallacies, prevarication, equivocation and falsehoods, all of which are perpetuated by proselytising leftie “academics”. For instance you really do not understand the growth in world trade and the opening up of sea routes that Empire achieved. Between 1815 and 1914, the huge Royal Navy (c 1,000 ships) saw little in the way of major engagements. Its job, instead, was policing the world’s sea routes. It pretty much eradicated piracy worldwide, which was a huge enabler for the advancement of civilisation and trade. Prior to this putting any cargo to sea was fraught with dangers from banditry.

      It is really sad that obviously well meaning and intelligent people, such as yourself, have had their heads stuffed with so much lefty propaganda and so many lies in our failed “education” institutions. I can only hope that it is a phase you are going through and that one day you learn critical thinking and how to balance arguments, so as to derive the truth.


    2. I get it. British (me), bad. Everyone else, was enlightened, peaceful, thrived on commerce, never had a war, could speak dozens of languages, invented everything which the British strolled up and said “look here old chap, you’re too stupid to use. We shall take it for our own”, yes, something like that?

      By the way, how do you manage to walk with that giant chip on your shoulder Petronila?


  5. The thing is every country was guilty of participation in slavery. Yes, the British did and they stopped it, other countries continued unabated. In Zanzibar the Arabs continued after the work of Livingston to abolish slavery, it’s a beautiful place, would recommend a visit.

    After visiting Gambia – where much of their infrastructure is still legacy British, the locals miss the involvement of Britain and have embraced the education system. This was just my view, after chatting with plenty of locals. They also love football. Whilst some might claim it was invented in China, the current worldwide format was definitely invented in England 🙂

    Whilst I might not agree with everything Bruce says, there are some valid points. Look at Hong Kong – since leaving Britain, they have suffered an oppressive regime – culminating in the population asking Britain to re-colonise them! If British colonial rule was so bad, why would they do that?

    I think it’s easy to rubbish the achievements of Britain, nothing in life is perfect. The mere notion of perfection is idiosyncratic. The world is an imperfect place and typically you only understand perfection, the moment it’s lost.

    Anyway, I digress…

    For me there are a lot of positives, but definitely some huge negatives, as always when ‘greed and corruption’ occur. However, not much has improved in many countries since leaving, leading to the possibility that whilst not perfect, the influence of the British was a force that steadied the ship and could ultimately be viewed as a positive thing, upon balance.

    I think the middle class statement is also blown out of proportion a little bit – I think what it was meant to portray, was an effort vs reward scenario, if you are good at something and work hard you can achieve XYZ. I personally don’t have a problem with that ethos.


    1. I agree with you Murray 100%. Jamaica has had a long running campaign to become a British Overseas Protectorste, a recent poll saw 60% wanting to return as a British Colony. it and other Caribbean nations have seen just how well Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas are doing.

      Even I am shocked to read there are others. There’s a movement in Hong Kong to return to a British Colony, 92% voted in favour. Ghana has a similar movement, 76% want to return to British rule. Yet Petronila claims there were indigenous farmers in what became Rhodesia who were doing well before Cicil Rhodes came along and made it the bread basket of Africa? Who exactly does she claim was “they”? Small farmers in mud huts? Because since independence it has become ‘the basket case of Africa’. Mugabe never “learned” the skills from the British as claimed by her/him. The whites fought for years to stop him taking over as they knew what was going to happen. It’s happening in South Africa now. The ANC is buggering the country up. The UK is taking thousands of SA whites in who claim they are being threatened, robbed, and are at the end of government sponsored anti-white laws.

      As for football (soccer for some reason people call it), it is and always was an English invention. I live 5 miles (as in the imperial weights & measures) away from a town called Atherstone in Warwickshire. They have records going back to 670 of a game played on Shrove Tuesday with a large ball, two teams and a goal. The winners was the team that scored in the opponents goal. Now, in England, the game of football (two/four/six etc opponents in teams of any size being played for over 1500 years) in a semblance of what we would know has been played. However, there’s evidence from archaeological digs from time just before or around that of the building of Stonehenge of a game being played with tightly woven balls of bracken and fur played by many men or between settlements. Digs at the sites of the Iceni (as in Queen Bodica) and Venicones, have turned up evidence, so has ground radar shown flat squares outside the settlements that it’s believed were places used for sports.

      Tennis has been played as far as records are concerned, since 1350. It’s called “real tennis” and difficult to explain, just Google “Real Tennis, Hampton Court Palace”. It’s totally different to the game later developed from it by the British in the 1860’s that we all now associate with the modern game.

      The British may not have been perfect, but as it has been seen in Australia, New Zealand and Canada etc. When the real British values are taken on board and kept. Nations become something everyone aspires to become, not a selection of failed states such as Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Uganda and the like!


  6. Dear Haters,

    I wish the entire Latin America or at least South America was colonised by the British Empire.

    Argentina should had been more advanced or similar to Australia and Brazil should had been similar to the USA. I wonder why… Oh yes, please guys refer back to Mr. Everiss post.

    And yes, India didn’t make it and yes South Africa either. “When Empire ended, it was often not replaced by liberal democracy, instead a venal, avaricious ruling class took over and treated whole countries as personal fiefdoms”. – Everiss.

    Hong Kong is going to be in a big trouble when China completely takes over in 2027.

    So, please, please, stop being a fool!

    What a fool believes…



  7. I’m just catching onto this blog but want to give my two cents on the British Empire. I can’t say I’ve read Churchill’s ‘A History of the English Speaking Peoples’ book but I have been to many of the lands that our Empire included or at least where we’ve been involved in some way.

    Luckily through my work & travels I’ve managed to live for good periods of time in Eastern Europe, Afghanistan, Pakistan FATA, NWFP, Iraq, Jordan, India, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Somalia, most of West Africa, etc. I’ve seen the Victorian buildings, hospitals, stations, government buildings & still extant railway systems in many of these places and worked closely with locals. Indeed in FATA they still use the original British formed Federal Crime Regulation as their law and I have a copy of it.

    In normal discourse (about the Empire or the British in general) if I’ve been unsure of a reaction I would always say that I was Scottish (Strikes a cord as everyone has their own version of Mel Gibson Braveheart). And to a man it’s been nothing but positive. Yep even in war torn countries where we divided the Pashtuns up along the the Durand Line in Afghanistan and we’ve fought 3 Anglo Afghan wars – I never heard a bad word uttered about the image of Empire.

    Not to say there isn’t but ultimately the reputation of a culture or people is better heard in hindsight from those most affected – and the worst I got was indifference. Everyone spoke positively about the British and certainly wanted to come to the UK and, if you’ve every been to African countries, you can’t move through large swathes of the place without someone wearing a damn Man Utd or Chelsea top.

    The worst response I received was from a Kenyan who said ‘It wasn’t all fun and games with the insurrection of the Mau Mau which wasn’t nice but you gave us bureaucracy, education, industrial farming. limited famines, logistics, value chain distribution, schooling, hospitals, roads, taxation”. Now we’re dealing with our own corrupt politicians”.

    It’s clear that being a former soldier I know things can get ugly. I know that innocents can become casualties and the odd soldier can commit horrendous crimes (we’re a microcosm of society after all). But I also know that the Empire should be taken in it’s context at it’s time and comparing to the Belgium, Spanish, French, Dutch, Portuguese and every other Empire ours was the most sustainable and grudgingly respected by those who were under it.

    So it irks me that the regressive Left shown above can only see the bad in everything, who only survive in our society due to the freedoms former British soldiers and frontiersmen sacrificed for them do nothing but feed off the very state that they so bad mouth.

    I’ve never met a Leftie Socialist (and I include Scottish Nationalist type as well) that has ever had experience of the wider world but are so opinionated about the horror that the UK has done. That horror that has never been conveyed to me in such tones by the people we have supposedly done it to.


    1. As a leftist (relatively high taxes for social programs, public welfare, government intervention, probably making you want to puke here haha) from Canada who is a staunch monarchist and is very proud of being a British subject, I must disagree. I think the lack of respect for the British Empire does not stem from left or right on the spectrum, it stems from proper historical knowledge that is taught in a way that people understand. I am a history major in university (Concordia in Montreal, Quebec) and because I know (via higher education, not high school) of not only the bad that colonialism (King Leopold II of the Belgians is a good example) did but also the good (education systems etc) therefore I can logically deduce that the British were by far, the better of the colonizers. If one looks at the countries still under British rule (either over sea’s territories or commonwealth realms like Canada,NZ,Australia) or the countries that had a peaceful transition (unlike Rhodesia into Zimbabwe) they are better off then the countries either colonized by the other European superhouses or like the USA who decided to create a bogus political system (Westminster model works fantastically) and develop without a sense of unity and common goal (thats how civil wars happen people). I am a leftist, but because I am informed, I am able to defend my opinion. Point being i believe this should be taught at a high school level for all across the commonwealth, so there is a general comprehension of all aspects of colonialism, not simply what is read on facebook or told by some anti-british person (we have them here in quebec, im sure you have them in the uk as well) who does not know or comprehend anything.


  8. I hate these debates hinging on the civilisation we brought to the world vs the oppression and exploitation. Essentially, colonialism was a EUROPEAN phenomenon. And we far and away did the best job. The sheer volume of wealth generated, and the fact that we had vast numbers of troops from conquered lands fight for us indicate the most highly effective utilisation of a nation’s assets since the Romans, and perhaps ever. Also I would like to point out that a lot of the initial wealth was actually state sponsored piracy, I.e. Drake & co ripping off staggering quantities of wealth from Spanish treasure ships. This view of the things we did being bad, rather than normal for the era and merely implemented exceptionally well winds me up. Point to a nation during this era that can claim the moral high ground without being incapable of Imperialism anyway. We were the most successful so we’re baddies? Please…


  9. It is quite common to sneer at the British Empire, it is especially common for the ignorant to do so. I shall defend it by pointing to ONE single example of its behaviour which sets it apart from EVERY other empire in history,its treatment of its sworn enemies.

    The richest part of the empire was India and our control of that was constantly threatened by one man , Gandhi. Despite endless provocations this bony little man was never given the sort of treatment that was then being routinely dealt out around the world to those who bothered the Authorities. He remained alive,well and more often than not FREE. At the time he was very conspicuously treated like this, despite being the arch enemy of British colonialism, those who opposed the authorities in places like the USA, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan and the USSR were simply being beaten to a pulp, jailed for life or killed .

    Try to imagine how each of these countries would have dealt with Gandhi if THEY had ruled India and he was threatening their possession of it. Can you imagine what would have happened to India and Gandhi if the Japanese had occupied it and he had tried to negotiate with them as he had with the British, how do you think PASSIVE RESISTANCE would have worked against the Japanese Imperial Army, the Red Army, the NAZIS or the USA which during this time was still happy to enforce racial segregation and rabid anti-trade unionism with the most brutal methods imaginable.

    It was the British that refused to execute Napoleon, TWICE. And it was the British that Napoleon handed himself to in the full expectation that he would be allowed to live quietly in England as a private citizen, and this only narrowly failed to happen.In the USA the tribe led by Chief Joseph made an enormous effort, and only narrowly failed, to reach Canada to escape from the warm embrace of the US government. They had heard of how other tribes were allowed to live in peace under the Great White Queen and they fought like hell to reach safety in Canada.

    The British Empire should not be judged by todays liberal standards but in comparison to the standards under which it existed and competed. And by THOSE standards the British Empire was something very special as it was trusted and admired even by some of its most determined enemies, how else would you describe NAPOLEON ?


  10. What a refreshing article! It is my belief that British socialism has done more harm to the UK than many of our traditional competitor/enemies have ever done. I have often thought that socialism (an off-shoot of communism) an ideology invented by the traditionally Anglophobic Russians was specifically designed to bring grief to the UK as those that perpetuate this toxic ideology promotes such poisonous anti-British sentiment. Why did the left target, then infiltrate the education system? Why was infiltrating academia so important to them? Well, that is obvious, to indoctrinate our children in the hope that they will see themselves and their countrymen as ‘bad’ while creating a ‘victim pyramid’ with themselves at the bottom and their detractors at the top. thereby condemning and abandoning the exceptionality so previously inherent. No, socialism an ideology abandoned by its creators decades ago lingers like a foul tumour on the soul of the nation, a cancer we must eliminate if we are to avoid the destiny of unhappier lands.


  11. Hundreds of millions of people killed by the British? Who told you that? It´s not a fact, but your own assumption


  12. hang on a minute, they killed loads of ppl but what about the opium trade in hong kong when they got hold of it? in 1776 alone there were 1000 crates of opium coming into the country and at one stage 25% of the male population, about 10 million people, spent their time languishing in opium dens making no contribution to their families, and you can’t say that’s just assumption.


  13. Thank you for an exceptionally clear-sighted view of the empire. My ancestors served in various outposts of the empire for centuries, usually at great personal sacrifice. I have myself stood in a church in india where the walls and floors were lined with the crypts of people who had served the empire – and the average age they lived to was between 27 to 35 years!

    Some points that would add to your thoughts…

    1) India had a caste system before the British arrived that kept its masses in the worst, most self-perpetuating slavery ever developed. British thought and education directly contributed to crushing this system, insomuch at those who eventually rose against the caste system were educated by Britain. Had the british not brought their systems of education to india, it is quite likely that the caste system would still prevail. Can you imagine living in such a system – if one is born a carpenter, one must only be a carpenter, with no hope of anything else, not matter what your intelligence or talents may be. It is the world’s worst social system – much worse than communism!

    2) British medical knowledge largely wiped out the horrible, large-scale epidemics that used to ravage colonies like India.

    3) Economically-ignorant people say that countries like india are poor today because of britain’s interference. In reality, these countries are poor today because they have increased their populations many times since independence, and hence each person has a ‘smaller piece of the economic pie’. India’s population at independence was 230 million people. Today it is (officially) 1.3 BILLION people. The country has actually made massive economic progress, and would be one of the richest countries of the world IF their population had remained static at 230 millions. India is poor because it has allowed uncontrolled population growth since independence, and there is no move on the part of the indian government even today to control that uncontrolled growth. This is a self-inflicted economic (an environmental) disaster on an unprecedented scale.

    It is easy to point to india and say ‘it’s the fault of British imperialism. Such statements are made by armchair theorists with little or no knowledge of the REAL situation ‘on the ground’ in india today.


  14. From what I’ve read there was the ‘pull’ of empire by locals who wanted stability as well as the ‘push’ for land grab and cheap labor.
    Take this: The Report on the Parliamentary Committee on Aboriginal Tribes (1837) The Empire was happening quickly and by accident and this document is important as it shows how the British government agonized over how best to treat its new dependents. With modern parlance it would read like a modern liberal article and I think it shows policy was essential benevolent, the reality on the ground of course could be quite different.
    It’s worth skim reading especially the start and the end.
    (Bruce, good primary source of an article?)


  15. For all of those who believe the British Empire was horrible and malignant, let’s think about the alternative. Where would mankind be today without it?

    America, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand wouldn’t exist. Hong Kong would have remained a mosquito and malaria infested hellhole virtually devoid of human habitation.

    Many cite the numerous indigenous peoples deaths during this time as an indication of it’s cruelty, but what were the main causes of their deaths?

    – Disease: Increased global trade would have eventually spread small pox and other devastating diseases; it must be remembered the plague came from the Far East and it wasn’t introduced to Europe because of unsavory machinations. It just happened.
    -War: The deaths caused by war would have occurred anyways. Human history is one of constant war punctuated by brief periods of peace. Native Americans and Africans were constantly warring. The Mughal Empire wasn’t benevolent in the least and with rival powers constantly emerging, how many would have died in the ensuing civil wars?
    -Starvation: Colonization brought about modern farming methods that in all likelihood decreased the severity of the famines that did occur. How many were prevented? Many places colonized relied on monsoon rains and historical records demonstrate what happened when the rains failed.
    -Slavery: It’s been part of human civilization since ancient times. It still exists today in some parts of the world. Almost all indigenous peoples practiced it in one form or another. Even with all the deaths caused by European involvement in the trade, how many would have occurred anyways?
    -Genocide: Precolonial history is rife with genocides ranging from the Assyrian one, the Dzungar one, to the ones in Imperial China. Genocides even occurred in North and South America. The Anasazi people were exterminated by other local tribes; the Aztec and Incan empires were just as nasty to those they conquered. It’s obvious that many indigenous and colonized people were quite willing to commit genocide against their neighbors. The real question is how many would have occurred absent colonization than with it as well as how many were prevented taking the current historical record into account. This also includes the number of deaths. Did the Turks need European involvement to slaughter the Armenians and Kurds?

    It is true that many civilizations were technologically and educationally competent at the outset of the Age of Exploration, but many of them had stagnated. China hadn’t advanced much since the 1600’s; India wasn’t advancing much either. In many places industrialization didn’t even exist.

    Indigenous cultures would still be increasingly displaced due to modern day globalization. If colonization hadn’t occurred, it might have taken an extra 50 to 100 years for it to begin.

    Even without colonialism, exploitation of the less-developed world would still be occurring. The real golden rule, he who has the gold makes the rules, is as valid today as it was in antiquity. Based off history, inductive reasoning would still demonstrate European global dominance. The great sub-Saharan civilizations like the Mutape Empire and the North-Central Songhai Empire would have still collapsed due to the reasons they did. North and South American civilizations would have still fallen even without European involvement due to the same reasons their predecessors did, famine and political strife. India and China would both be pre-industrial kingdoms. Colonization, especially British, prevented India and China from the same level of exploitation as is seen in Africa and South East Asia.

    Essentially the world would have ended up the same, if not less-developed and more famine prone, if British colonization hadn’t occurred. For all the evils it brought, most would have occurred anyways but by other means.


    1. William,

      China was not in the Empire.
      The Chinese refused to trade except for silver and opium.
      So we gave them what they wanted.

      Also much of the opium trade was handled by the Hongs in Hong Kong, which were largely Scottish.


  16. Can’t we just all agree that the British Empire had its Highs and its Lows??? Like seriously people you have been fighting over this subject for like what 2-3 years??? There is no Yes or No to this question it’s not just black and white people. “free lunch doesn’t exist”. There are always always always downsides and upsides to something.
    So can’t we just agree that the empire did some good and some bad? Like did any of you say that?


    1. There was approximately 100 years of Pax Britannica, from the defeat of Napoleon until the outbreak of WW1. During this time we ruled the waves. We used this power mainly to promote trade, to eliminate slavery and to wipe out piracy. The Spanish and Belgian “empires” were based on plunder. The British empire was built on trade. Largely we supplied manufactured goods, the fruits of our industrial revolution, largely we imported raw materials and food. Many countries we arrived at hadn’t even invented the wheel. We left them with universities, hospitals and democracy. It was the largest advance in the condition of humanity in all history. When British power declined it was replaced by dictators and ideologies which saw vastly more people violently killed in the 20th century than in any previous century.


      1. Yes, let’s not forget all the Indian famine which could’ve been avoided, were it not for the staunch British principle of supporting free trade. Take a look at some of those photographs and if you continue to tell me you do not understand why a significant part of the world abhors this monstrous thing called Britain, then at least I will have some confirmation of the moral failure of your education and upbringing.


        1. Simon, take a look here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_famines
          Famines were pretty common in the world until fairly recently, often with a million or more dead, out of a far smaller global population. So taking one famine in isolation is perhaps a little disingenuous.
          There are three main reasons we don’t have them now:
          1) Release of CO2 into the atmosphere from our use of fossil fuels has massively greened the planet. This is the equivalent of another Amazon basin added to the world’s vegetation. https://www.nature.com/articles/nclimate3004
          2) Hugely improved crop varieties and farming methods which have boosted yields several fold in many instances.
          3) Logistics and transport infrastructure improved beyond belief. A WW2 Liberty Ship was a little over 14,000 tons. Now big cargo ships are around 200,000 tons. Air transport has improved even more significantly.


          1. Brucie boy, u a mong

Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.