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Was The British Empire A Force For Good Or For Evil?

1438 words - 6 pages

The British Empire is the largest empire ever seen on the face of this planet. The empire was divided into two. The first part of the empire revolved around the British colonies in America that were popularly known as the thirteen colonies. These gained independence from Britain in 1783. The second part of the empire, which developed from the first empire, came later. It started during the Napoleonic wars and survived throughout the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century. In fact, the British withdrew from its last colony, Hong Kong, in 1997; indeed the empire lasted for a long time. It developed from India and spun to regions of Africa and Australia. The influence and the power of the empire spun around the world shaping it in different ways. This influence is still evident in many places that fell under its control (Ferguson, 2004). To many people the world is the way it is due to the effects of the British Empire. Certainly, this empire just like other numerous empires before it and after it had triumphs and humiliations; however, the fact that this empire had numerous good effects cannot be overemphasized. The empire impacted positively on Britain and the colonies.

The first notable positive effect of the empire is industrialization. The British having been ahead in industrial evolution helped spread technology to new places around the world. Particularly, the British Empire was responsible for the development of early industries in their colonies (Balasubramanyam & Wei, 79). They built industries in the colonies such as sugar factories, cotton factories and tobacco industries. Certainly, this was a new development in these colonies that later led to the colonies mechanizing their cottage industries for mass production. The industries built by the British laid the foundation for industrialization in these countries.

The development of infrastructure is another positive impact brought about by the empire. To manage the colonies and open them up for easier mobility, the British needed to have proper infrastructure in place. As a result, they constructed numerous roads, railroads, airports and ports in their colonies. For instance, the British developed the Suez Canal and an important sea passage from Europe to India as well as developed a 70, 000 mile of paved roads, 40,000 miles of railroads in India and others (Iyer, 2004). They also constructed numerous ports, roads and railroads on their colonies in Africa. This was indeed a great development in these countries, and the accessibility of different places became easier since roads and railroads now linked the places. Such developments are still very efficient till this day and age

The empire was also responsible for the spread of new agricultural technologies and farming methods. In many nations that the British colonised, they introduced plantation farming, by cultivating many parts of what was “wilderness” into farmland (Chin, 2009). Vast chunks of...

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