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The First British Empire. History 3152 September 26, 2007. Population of London. London: more populated than other British cities and most European cities Grew steadily through the course of the long eighteenth century 1700: over ½ million 1800: 1 million 1850s: over 2 million

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The First British Empire

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the first british empire

The First British Empire

History 3152

September 26, 2007

population of london
Population of London
  • London: more populated than other British cities and most European cities
  • Grew steadily through the course of the long eighteenth century
    • 1700: over ½ million
    • 1800: 1 million
    • 1850s: over 2 million
  • opportunities for work and leisure
  • youth and a preponderance of women
great fire of london
Great Fire of London
  • 1666; recovering from the Plague
  • Accidental Fires common
  • Lots of open fires: burned in houses, shops and workshops;
  • artisans kindled them in braziers in the streets.
  • Timber was the most common building material, and straw was laid on floors and stored in stables and outhouses.
  • No Fire Department.
great fire of london 1666
Great Fire of London, 1666
  • Started Sunday, September 2
  • Ended Wednesday, September 5
  • Destroyed:
    • More than 13,000 houses
    • 87 churches
    • The main buildings in the City
  • Human Costs:
    • Only 5 deaths
    • Up to 200,000 people were left destitute.
  • The cost of accommodation soared
  • A fire court was set up to judge disputes over who owned which property.
the main points
The Main Points
  • Traditional Interpretation: first empire was about trade/commerce!
  • Trade was most often the driving force behind colonial expansion BUT other factors matter too
  • Settlers were important, especially in North America and the West Indies
differences between this early imperialism what will come
Differences between this early imperialism & what will come
  • Primary focus for colonization was NOT the spreading of British values (political, social, or cultural)
  • The British Government was not in control (North America as exception?)
  • Fewer settlers on the whole
  • Women were less involved (except North America)
similarities between 1 st and 2 nd empires
Similarities between 1st and 2nd empires
  • Use of local leaders for ease of establishing rule and maintaining order
  • Corruption at home and abroad; fears of the corrupting influence of empire
  • Economic and Commercial Benefits (diminish with time)
  • Orientalist/Racist thought
similarities between 1 st and 2 nd empires continued
Similarities between 1st and 2nd empires (continued)
  • Need for military conquest and long-term military presence
  • Use of Indian Sepoys
  • Creation of racial, class-based, religious, and gendered hierarchies (only this is much greater in the 2nd empire)
  • Fears about racial miscegenation
the seven years war 1756 1763
The Seven Years’ War, 1756-1763
  • First truly global war
  • War as means of gaining land
  • Britain and France clashed in India & North America-1754
  • Fighting in Europe—summer 1756
  • Growth of British Army string of victories in 1759 and on
  • War finally ends in 1763
the treaty of paris 1763
The Treaty of Paris, 1763
  • Britain’s Empire truly established through this treaty
  • France pretty much humiliated by this war; lost any real claim in India and lost Quebec
  • In the treaty process, Britain secured
    • West Indies (Grenada, Domenica, St. Vincent, Tobago),
    • Senegal
    • Bengal
    • All of North America east of Mississippi
the west indies
The West Indies
  • Among the 1st colonial possessions; think “Caribbean”
  • Private companies treaties
  • Very profitable; “plantocracy” Tobacco replaced by sugar (mid 1600s)
  • Sugar: indentured servants from British Isles replaced by African slaves
the triangular trade slavery
The Triangular Trade (Slavery)
  • By 1660s, more slaves in West Indies than white settlers!
  • Expanded at rapid rate
  • Royal Africa Company carried out most of the slave trade
  • Guns, rum, trinkets to W. Africa
    • Slaves to W. Indies and N. America
    • Sugar to Britain
  • 1772: slavery illegal in England
  • 1807: British abolish slave trade
  • 1833: British end slavery in their empire
    • Evangelicals
    • Women
north america upper lower canada
North America: Upper & Lower Canada
  • Canada was not yet united
    • Upper Canada: Ontario
    • Lower Canada: Quebec
  • British eventually shape united Canada as they add more territory to it
  • Used as military base during war with U.S.
  • Some in U.S. sought to take control of Canada during war of 1812; invasion attempt failed spectacularly
north america the 13 colonies
North America: the 13 colonies
  • Financially successful: fur trade, tobacco, cotton
  • Strong, active settler population bent on expansion
  • Tense relations with Native Americans; increasing number of slaves
  • Some self-government: Royal Governor, appointed advisory council, elected assembly
north america the 13 colonies20
North America: the 13 colonies
  • Tensions after 1763; British had to maintain 10, 000 soldiers in colonies
  • Taxes imposed directly from Parliament in London
    • 1764 Sugar Act
    • 1765 Stamp Act
  • Colonial Resistance
  • British: sovereignty of Parliament
the american revolution or civil war 1775 1783
The American Revolution or Civil War? (1775-1783)
  • Colonists asserting rights as Englishmen
  • Rebelled against infringement of self-governance
  • The inherit “Englishness” of the Declaration of Independence (7/4/1776)
  • Maintenance of relationship after war
other actors in war
“Other” actors in war
  • Loyalists
    • Numbers overestimated by Brits
    • 1/3-1/4 of population
    • Most go to Canada after war
    • Retribution
  • Native Americans
    • Retribution after Brits leave
    • Not all sided with Brits
  • Slaves (Lord Dunmore’s Proclamation)
    • Some sent to Canada (most died there)
    • Retribution
  • Question to ponder: does Ireland fit in with the empire?
  • Penal Laws, Test Act, and emigration
  • Protestant Ascendancy
    • Church of Ireland (Anglican)
    • Presbyterians (Scotch-Irish)
    • Irish or English??
  • Land problem: ownership, absentee landlords, Ulster Right
ireland part ii
Ireland: part II
  • Lord Lieutenant and Irish Parliament
  • 1494: Poynings’ Law
  • 1719: Declaratory Act
  • 1782: Poynings’ Law repealed
  • 1782-1800: Legislative Independence for Ireland
irish resistance sectarian tensions
Irish Resistance & Sectarian Tensions
  • Agrarian Violence: long tradition
    • Usually result of landlords abusing their power
    • As population expands, more pressure on land (increased in late 18th C)
    • Peep O’Day Boys (Prot.) & Defenders (Catholic)
the united irishmen 1791 1798
The United Irishmen, 1791-1798
  • Wolfe Tone, Anglican, founder
  • Bring all Irishmen together; self-rule
  • Goals: reform Parliament, total religious equality
  • 1794: forced underground; contact with Defenders
  • 1795: Orange Order formed—protect the Protestant Ascendancy
the united irishmen 1791 179827
The United Irishmen, 1791-1798
  • Ideals of French Revolution popular with UI
  • Presbyterians got very involved
  • Planned uprising (with French aid) for 1798
  • Uprising failed miserably
  • Act of Union, with Great Britain, 1/1/1801
  • East India Company formed in 1600
  • Colonization truly begins after Battle of Plassey in 1757
  • Moghul Empire crumbling
  • British use local leaders to secure trade and “gifts”
  • British-controlled territory grows incrementally
  • EIC never hesitated to use force
black hole of calcutta the battle of plassey
“Black Hole” of Calcutta & the Battle of Plassey
  • By end of 7 Years’ War: the French presence will be gone
    • 1750s: fight over Bengal (Calcutta)
  • Some Indian leaders resistant to British expansion; willing to fight
  • Siraj-ud-Duala vs. Robert Clive
    • Siraj trying to protect Calcutta
    • Takes city easily; 40 prisoners
    • Prison cell=“Black Hole” of Calcutta
battle of plassey 1757
Battle of Plassey, 1757
  • Clive furious when prisoners were dead
  • “Proof” of Indian barbarism and cruelty
  • Wins great victory in Plassey
    • Depended on Indians who wanted Siraj out
    • Mir Jafar made Nawab; seen as puppet of Clive (he was)
    • Cash payments were enormous
in the wake of victory
In the Wake of Victory
  • EIC gains official in Treaty of Paris
  • Bengal “belonged” to Brits
    • 1760: Nawab Mir Kasim fought for north Bengal & Bihar (with Nawab of Awadh)
    • 10/23/1760: Battle of Buxar
  • EIC continues to expand its territory bit by bit
    • 1765 secured “diwani” for Bengal, Bihar, Orissa
  • 1769: famine killed 10 million in Bengal!
interference in indian culture customs and religion
Interference in Indian culture, customs and religion
  • 1784: India Act (board of control)
  • By 1830s: British gov’t mostly in control
  • Initially British gov’t promised not to interfere in Indian religion or culture
  • Increased role of British gov’t led them to have increased sense of right to interfere in Indian life
  • Abolition of Thuggee, Sati and female infanticide (Indian=barbaric)
    • Thuggee: murder and robbery
    • Sati (suttee): widow burning