The British Empire, 1815 - 70. Main characteristics: It was hardly a uniform association; It had no single constitution, religion, language or system of law; The colonies of the empire had very little in common with each other except their link with Britain;. The British Empire in 1815.
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The major decisions regarding the Empire were taken by the Colonial Office, a small sub-branch of the War Office;
Only in matters concerning TRADE the British government had a coherent policy in 1815.The British Empire in 1815
The Navigations Acts ensured that all of a colony’s imports and exports were carried by British ships.The British Empire in 1815
the Empire provided Britain with reliable sources of food and raw materials and a captive market for British exports (in 1815 Britain imported 31% of its food and 61% of its raw materials);The British Empire in 1815
the Empire provided the Royal Navy with a large number of important naval bases from which it was able to dominate the sea lanes of the world.The British Empire in 1815
This huge increase in the extent of the Empire was not the result of a co-ordinated policy of conquest by the British government!
Trade outside the Empire was increasing far more rapidly than trade within the Empire.
A movement of free traders viewed the mercantilist system as out of step with the trend of times.
The major political change was the granting of responsible self-government to the settlement colonies.The Changing Empire
The British had used slaves in North America since the seventeenth century.The Abolition of Slavery
African slaves were sold to British slave traders in West African ports.
They were transported across the Atlantic by ship in horrific conditions.
Then they were sold in the West Indies or North America at auction to the highest bidder.The Abolition of Slavery
Between 18 and 25 million people were forced to leave Africa in this way during the era of legalised slavery.The Abolition of Slavery
The British government soon bowed to this pressure and introduced several measures designed to end the slave trade.
In 1831 there was an unsuccessful uprising by slaves in Jamaica which resulted in 500 deaths.The Abolition of Slavery